I remember a time when I could become fixated on a video game for weeks, months even. Hour upon the hour counting down as my childhood imagination became satisfied by what I saw on the screen and accomplished with a controller. I may only be twenty two years old, but I miss that feeling of wonder fondly. What happened to it?
As if I’m already suffering from some sort of midlife crisis (more like quarter-life), I long to become captivated with games like I used to be. Most recently I’ve been hoping to rekindle that feeling of glee by playing titles like Ni No Kuni and Kingdom Hearts HD. And it’s working alright. I have lots of fun, I smile, I laugh at the cute stuff, but every now and then when in combat I call the cute, little monster that I’m fighting a “fucking asshole” or a prick”. As if I was hoping to end their lives, not incapacitate them. I’m a terrible person, I think!
Now, I’m not resistant to charming games or happiness–if I was I’d probably not be blogging about this but seeing a professional. What I merely mean is that it’s hard for me to become enchanted and transfixed into these games like I had been when I was younger.
A lot of the times I need to be in the right mindset to play these type of games. If I’m not, I’ve noticed that I begin to gravitate toward games that my twenty two year old self is more familiar with. Games with shooting, violence of some sort, or angry things. That’s pretty depressing if you ask me. When I was younger, I got lost in Double Fine’s Psychonauts (at one point I even wanted to be called Raz). I’d spend hours in the original Kingdom Hearts killing Heartless. I’d replay Bob Omb Summit in Mario 64 with the flying hat and show the secret teleporting flower patches to friends. I didn’t need to return gunfire in a game about angry people with angry problems and their angry tools of peace. I’d just hop around for awhile, revisiting levels that I had already completed just because. Is it overexposure to similar-minded type of games and not enough “happy” stuff?
It’s really a shame that I’m not a Nintendo fan. They produce some of the finest games in the happy and charming “genre”. Maybe I just need to put aside the shooters, the horror games, the hyper-violent titles that I play on a regular basis and create self-restrictions on what games I should occupy myself with. Maybe just for a week or two. It’s not like I’m playing GTAV right now, anyway. A big problem behind this though, is my willingness to drop money on games that I’m not sure I’ll love. I want to love games like this, but the financial risk is a bit too high for me to take the plunge. It’s a cycle of evil! This goes with Nintendo as well. I’ve played Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Pikmin, Animal Crossing, but I’ve not been compelled to add them to my list of games that I must play.
In the future, occupying myself with all these sort of games will reset the balance (I hope). It must mean something that despite being more comfortable and interested in a lot of these grittier games that I still wish I was as a fan of feelgood happy stuff. Persona does a good job of making me go “yay, friends and happiness!” but that probably doesn’t count because it’s supplemented with tragedy and death–the sustenance that fuels my current gaming interests (to my own chagrin it seems).
Anyway, now is the time that I ask you, my infinitely deep pool of people that are interested in what I have to say, what do you think? Have any of your felt similar? Can I learn to love again? Someone help me get my groove back.