Is it ever a good practice to keep good things in the fantasy?
Recently I have finally landed myself a job with a decent salary; I received my payroll earlier last week. (Of course, by the time you read it, it was months ago.) It was quite a fortune compared with what I have made in the past. It is now possible for me to buy myself a thing -- almost anything from a new phone to a new set of computers. However, I resisted the urge to buy anything just because I really don't know what to get. I decided against all the fancy purchase plans and saved the money.
I originally planned to get myself a Nintendo Switch once I have got a job that could afford me to buy a console. The sole reason for having the Switch is that I have to experience The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for my own. I have to after reading all the articles and detailed technical analysis about the game. It is literally fascinating. And now it seems to be a really great opportunity for me to get my hands on the controllers.
But I hesitated. I know I have set the bar too high and it wouldn't be much of an experience if I played the game myself for real. The Game, the Perfection of the Game only exists in my head. It might not be real at all.
In fact, I have only read about the technical details of the Game. I avoided reading any articles about the actual game experience or any video of one playing the game. I am always diverting myself from spoilers, yet I hesitate to play the game for myself. I don't even listen to any music from the Game. I just press skip or turn the volume down once I saw the title.
It's a conflicting feeling that's hard to express with words. Superficially, I would reason that I should not spend money like that. I have to "save for the emergency". I have to support my family. There might be other expenses that I haven't covered yet. But deep down, I do know that I can afford a Switch. I'm just afraid to make the purchase.
I have already covered the fact that "I just can't play games like a normal person". I'm too cringe to play RPGs. I have dug up a Mood thread in the past to elaborate:
Projections and precalculation are vital in critical analysis. They might enable you to evaluate the situation from a more objective perspective as they burst bubbles created by the façade. We may learn how to write a report, but we may never learn how to dream again. Daydreaming, though mostly useless, can help one to cope with the reality they had to choose and stay, in addition, give them a sense of hope that something better is still in the trajectory -- reach out and you can jump on a different track, live happily ever after. Even if it was just a fantasy that will never occur as the current driven you away.
So, games. Why not. I will never be a hero in reality. I might just be one in a game. I cannot affect even the tiniest thing that happened around me, but I can singlehandedly save the world in video games. In a world where everyone is special, no one is unique. I will never get my admission from others, so a self-signed certificate can be a good enough substitution. We have lost the ability to daydream. We have video games to dream a bigger picture. But no dream lasts long. It only brings you more depression in the real world. It tells you that the world is a mess and everybody is doing better than you. The Dream itself even says: I AM NOT REAL. DO BETTER IN THE REAL WORLD. WAKE UP!
The game saves. The game ends. Whatever you have done can be archived, can be undone, can be redone. They live on a memory chip that is smaller than your thumb and can be copied or erased. The experience with this game may linger in your mind but those are volatile and will eventually fade. Everything seems worthless. Welcome back to the Reality.Me, 2019-06-22
At that time, I have already established the possibility of the Halo Effect and the burst of the dream. I assume that after I received the Switch, I would be disappointed by the fact that it's just a game. It would be a good game, but it's just that. It's not something enchanting.
I noticed some recurring themes while digging through the Mood threads. One is the ongoing identity crisis. (Gee, It's been 4 years and I still can't figure out how to deal with it.) The other being "not being able to play games". I think the latter one is a subset of the former one.
Games, as media, are rather effective at expressing an experience. They enable us to convey a feeling that could not otherwise be felt through interactions. Games are not mere "instructions to press certain buttons at certain times" as Stanley's Parable has implied:- albeit some of those arcade games do fall into that category. A good game tells a story and teaches us a lesson, sometimes several.
Like other forms of literature, games also have their companions that could not be ignored. Texts are consumed with paratexts; games are consumed with lore. Games that have developed deep lore are innately intimidating since, to beginners, there are too much to learn.
After struggling for yet another 4 weeks, I finally made my mind to make the purchase.
It was enchanting, and I finally made it. It is worthy of a collection of essays that would be lengthy to be listed here. I'll just address the last paragraph -- Too Much to Learn.
A good game knows how to hold the hand of an absolute beginner. They will introduce concepts gently, clear and concise. For a game that revolves around "re-discovery", it fits the theme like a glove. It feels more like re-remembering a lost memory than looking at the world through the eyes of the hero.