Optimistic Life: Changing Spaces

Well, shit. I’m moving. And moving, as I’m sure pretty much all of you know, sucks. Packing up everything you own is tedious and stressful, and this is probably the most entrenched in a space I have been since moving away from my parents’ house, and on top of that many of the previous tenants left their belongings behind. No fault of their own, really; we’ve been handing off the house from one group to the next for the last five or seven years, always one holdover from years before, and things got left behind.

So here I am left untangling a small life I’ve led for the past few years. The house, somewhere over the past year or so, went from an ideal living situation to a claustrophobic, dangerous feeling place. Disagreements with our awful landlords and maintenance issues that on one particularly scary occasion almost actually caused me physical harm added up to me not feeling very at home here. At least not any more.

Dusty N64
You can see the history layered on my N64

Despite all of this, though, I still feel bittersweet about leaving. I lived a life here. A lot has happened over the last two years. I’m a different person than I was then. When I moved here, I was getting over heartbreak. I was still at a job I hated. Now I have a great job, and I’m moving out to live with my girlfriend. We had our first date in this house. We’ve had many moments together here that will only live on in our memory, long after I’ve left this place.

I’ve also played some of my favorite games of all time in this room. DOOM, Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3, Persona 5, Breath of the Wild, The Witcher 3, The Last Guardian. It’s staggering how many experiences I’ve had in this space (and how many hours I must have put into those games. Yeesh). And now I’ve got to pack all the games, all the consoles, my PC, my keyboard, my TV, and move it all to a space that still feels foreign. The first thing I move is always the games. If I have at least one way to play video games, then I feel at home. They feel familiar to me.

I’m putting my main games on hold right now. Persona 5 and Zelda both need to wait until I’m feeling more settled. Honestly, I’m incredibly excited to just sit and play games in our new apartment. I’ll be able to sit on a couch and play games for the first time in two years, instead of this creaky old office chair. The living room is open, with lots of windows, so I won’t feel like I’m sitting in a cave when I want to have a lazy Sunday morning.

Blue Sky Through Window
Our new living room is open and freeing

So instead of playing my “main” games, I have a couple of side games I’ve been playing. I just picked up Darksiders II again for the first time in months. I fell off when other, newer games came out, but it’s the perfect game to play when my focus feels scattered. It doesn’t require much investment to play; it looks good, it feels good, and it’s nice and easy to follow the plot. I’ve been craving a good action game, anyways.

Speaking of which, the announcement of the Vanquish PC port has me really stoked. That’s exactly the kind of game I think I’ve been craving: over the top, stylish action. Breath of the Wild is quiet and contemplative; Persona 5 is bombastic and stylish, but it lacks the direct action feel that something like Darksiders has. Something I’ve realized recently is that I really love fast-paced, frenetic action, and that is something that I don’t see a lot of. DOOM really scratched that itch, and I look forward to playing through Vanquish when it’s released on PC on the 25th.

Perhaps I feel drawn to character action pieces because my life feels so hectic right now. In those games it often feels as though you’re utterly unstoppable,  a maelstrom of blades and death (literally, in the case of Darksiders 2). In moments where my mind can’t stop racing, it often helps to play a game that is hectic. Oddly enough, it puts my mind at ease. I’ve heard metal heads say similar things about metal; despite character action games initially looking like nothing but noise, out of the nuances of the movement and combat a rhythm emerges, and you begin to tune into that rhythm, giving the game an almost zen-like quality through all the carnage.

Door to New Beginnings
I call this the Door to New Beginnings

I look forward to when I’m settled in the new space. I have yet to start the move in earnest; the next few weeks will be spent packing, and cleaning, and ferrying stuff back and forth between places. Once I’m settled in I think I’ll be able to focus my attention on the games that I’ve put on my backburner. But, until then it will continue to feel as though my attention is torn between two spaces, between past and present, my dark basement room and my open, pleasant new apartment where I’ll come home to the woman I love and a cat who will actually have windows to look out of. This move will be the first time I’m going to be in a space that feels like a home that I (we) built. It’s a huge step up in my life, and I can’t wait. I’ll continue to update y’all on how it’s going. Until then, thanks for reading, and Stay Optimistic.

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