An Optimistic Blog Facelift

So I’ve been away from the bloggosphere (the blogiverse? The blogdecahedron?) for a little while. I wasn’t sure what direction to take this blog, how to continue. I’ve had several ideas for new content (including a regular lookback series where I review old games) but somewhere along the line I got a full time “adult” job that took up a lot of my mental space. The blog slipped further and further into the back of my mind, and eventually I put it down temporarily.

Despite all this, my blog still pops into my mind from time to time. Over the course of the last six or so months I’ve grown used to my job, and I find myself better able to focus on the creative parts of my brain that have gone neglected for so long. So I got to thinking about the best direction this blog could take. I don’t have the scholarly approach to these articles that many of my favorite content creators (Noah Caldwell-Gervais and Super Bunnyhop, for example) have, so what can I bring to the table? A friend of mine, Iphigenia Rising, has a personal blog, and I find her dedication and more personal approach inspiring. So I’m going to change tack a bit and inject a little bit more of my personal life into this blog.

After all, my relationship with video games is deeply personal. As a child with deep anxiety it was natural to disappear into the perfect escapism of video games. My first and most defining experience with gaming was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I saw the game being played for the first time by a friend of mine’s older brother. We watched him play for a little while, and right away I went home and told my parents I needed to play that game.

When I first got my hands on it, it felt like magic. There was a sense of atmosphere and gravitas to the game that I hadn’t experienced in anything else. The sounds, the lighting, the music; it truly felt like I was being transported to a new world. I had never played any video games on prior home consoles, so I can only imagine what it was like to play that game having transitioned from 2D to 3D, but to my little mind the game was real. It was a place I could go to escape the noise of my mind. Of course, I knew it wasn’t real, but that didn’t take away from the magic. I played anytime I could, except for the bosses, which I found too stressful; I had my neighbor play those parts while I hid behind the couch.

That experience ingrained in me a deep love of the medium. There’s no other medium that allows you to experience a new, strange world in which your actions have very direct consequences, to varying degrees. And, unlike most other mediums, your experience is unique to you. Each game I play imprints itself on a specific point in my life, entangling itself with the state of mind that I was in like a video game version of High Fidelity.

I’m in the middle of moving in with my girlfriend of a year-and-a-half right now, and as such my life is in transition. Nothing feels permanent, everything is in boxes and bags. In times like this, where my life is in turmoil, I find it harder to take the time to sit down and enjoy a video game. My mind is out of focus, and I can’t escape into the worlds that I love so much. I used to lament that state of mind, but now I embrace it. It’s a chance for me to write, to listen to music and watch TV and read a book. I play enough video games that sometimes it’s nice to take a little break. I’m making my way through Persona 5 and Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and while both are in my top five gaming experiences, both are extremely lengthy and require a certain amount of attention that I just don’t have the bandwidth for right now. At least the way I play them.

Even so, most of the media I absorb is centered around video games. I never thought I would enjoy watching people just play video games, but there’s something incredibly meditative about it. Because games are different for each person, it’s really fascinating watching someone else’s rhythm in a game that I play. And watching people who, unlike me, are truly good at video games is really a sight to behold.

I’ll be giving regular updates on the status of my move and what I’m playing, so stay tuned for more. I’ll certainly continue to write about the other topics on my blog, specifically the lookback posts, because those are a blast. I also have a new series planned that I’m really stoked to get started on. If you have anything you would like to hear from me, let me know! I love interacting with people on here, it really makes my day. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel, You Should Play, where we’re currently playing through Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. Thanks for reading, everybody, and Stay Optimistic.

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