15 October, 2019

Divisions of My Lines

I've spoken before about the dividing lines that make up my lives. Much of that introspective essay was about how the divisions mean something to me (and honestly it's a much more interesting read than this blog entry). But today I want to make a much smaller point, perhaps too small to matter, but hopefully of some interest:

My life seems to be divvied up into different video games that I've played.

I expect that something similar applies to other people. Surely this is not so strange. There's the Blockbuster era, where every weekend was a different game. I played at my grandmother's house, oblivious to everyone else around me. There's Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, played at my own home, too small to really play well, inviting my father to help me beat an especially difficult battle against Shadow Link. There's Final Fantasy VI, when I finally felt grown up, reading Relativity: the Special and General Theory and pop-science books on physics of all kinds, including flatland and the meditation on the tater tot. There's Chrono Trigger, when I started going more into mathematics, getting stuck on the very first book of the Feynman Lectures on Physics. There's Final Fantasy VII, when I started talking about planets of various sizes, and Final Fantasy VIII when tried to reinvent myself in a new school. There's Command & Conquer: Tiberium Sun, where I acted so hatefully and regretfully. There's FF IX, played in solitude, and Chrono Cross, played in the mountains while I ate hot pockets for two weeks straight. There's a period of no gaming at all where everything blurs together in a haze of unremembered nonsense. There's the purchase of a 3DS, sad and defeated. The purchase of a Wii, trying desperately to regain my sanity. The Wii U, covered in friendship and glad caress. And the Switch, lazy and eager.

I remember buying the PS2 with my own money and thinking it a big deal. Playing it in a home without heating, way too interested in rekindling lost worthlessnesses.

I remember the GameCube, almost always on, ever excited and constantly fulfilled, but only in the worst of ways.

I remember Suikoden, on the large television in the game room, played late at night when no one is looking.

I remember Majora's Mask, with a cloth to catch spare drops from my pen.

I remember Culdcept, played achingly, but with thoughtfulness.

I remember Picross, lovingly enjoyed.

Listening to music from any of the games I've played, so long as they were long enough to represent a period of time in my life, will instantly take me back to those times. Strangely, the reverse tends not to be true. If you ask me about some past event, I often have trouble remembering the details. What state was I in during 9/11? Did I take the PSAT? LSAT? Was I in the hospital that time? Or was that just another dream? But if I was playing a game during that time, then merely play the music and I am instantly transported back.

I wonder how other experience this sort of thing. Or if they experience it via media in the way that I tend to. But in the meantime, I'm going to youtube to play a few songs from interesting times in my past.

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