Underneath my yellow skin

Breaking out of my comfort zone

life is sweet; life is good.
A typical street in Gozo.

I’m still recovering from my trip to Malta, and I want to talk more about it while weaving it with my travails in video gaming. Here’s my first post about Malta if you want some background into what I’m going to write here.

As longtime readers know, I have a very troubled relationship with sleep, fraught with tension, misery and pain. It’s slowly getting better over the past few years, and it’s reached the point where I can sleep up to six hours at one time.  I know you’re scratching your head and thinking, “What’s so great about that, Minna? I can do that every night!” Exactly, my friend. It’s something any person *should* be able to do, but let’s quickly recount my sleeping history.

Ever since I was a wee child, I’ve evaded sleep. My mom would put me to bed around eight or nine, and I’d stuff the towel under the door crack and read until midnight or later. Fast-forward to college my first year, and I was sleeping 3 1/2 hours a night. I couldn’t fall asleep until three or four in the morning, and I had a 7:45 a.m. class. Then, I’d go home for vacation and sleep 15 1/2 hours the first day while simultaneously catching a cold. In my twenties, 4 hours was my average. I stretched it to 5 in the next twenty years, and then with the help of taiji, I bumped it up to 6 – 6 1/2 hours.

Malta fucked with all that. I don’t think I slept more than three hours in one stretch, and I was so tired the whole time. Going in the ocean helped, but that only lasted as long as we were on the beach. Once we returned to the retreat center, I’d be hot, miserable, and tired again. There were a few moments of clarity as to how spoiled I am. How well-off Americans are in general, really.

It was interesting because I’m very aware of politics in America and how I’m a triple minority (Taiwanese, bi, female), fast becoming a fourth (old). I’m a person non grata, and I’ve resigned myself to my fate. My standard of living, however, is quite high in comparison to life on Malta. I’m not romanticizing when I say that life is much simpler on the island of Gozo. Well, maybe I am romanticizing it a bit, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that life is slower and a bit more easy-going on the islands than here in the US.

The other strange thing is how quiet it is in Gozo. In the States, there is a low-level hum that is as constant as it is ubiquitous. Even if there’s no other sound, the drone of all our electric shit surrounds us. In Gozo, there is none of that. When the people are quiet, all is quiet. It was one thing I really enjoyed about Malta. Honestly, if I had air, I would have found the quietness to be serene and peaceful.

I didn’t bring my laptop to Malta, so I didn’t play a single game for the whole week. Ian wanted to co-op Hammerwatch on his Switch, but we didn’t have time or the energy to do that. Since I’ve been back, I’ve reinstalled Dark Souls Remastered (yes, I know I have a problem, don’t @me), and I’ve started a dex/miracle build. I’m up to Blighttown, and it’s been pretty smooth sailing, especially since I don’t mind co-oping. Or did I do that on my NG++ character? I think it might have been the latter. I reinstalled Dead Cells because it’s officiously released, and I still died on the damn castle boss in less than fifteen seconds after crushing the easy path to the castle. I uninstalled soon thereafter because I just can’t beat this asshole. And, as I’ve mentioned before, it takes an hour just to get to this boss, and there’s not much I can do to learn him when I can’t last more than thirty seconds against him. It’s true I got him down to a quarter health once, but I was way OP, and I still ended up dying in the end.

Apparently, there is one build that is especially suitable to this boss, but that really defeats the purpose of the game. One of the strengths is that there are so many different combos you can try, but inevitably, I fall back on ice grenades and frost blast because freezing enemies helps so much. Until the castle boss. Then, it don’t mean shit. I think it’s an amazing game and everyone should buy it, especially since the studio, Motion Twin, has an egalitarian structure. Everyone gets paid the same, and everyone gets the same bonuses. I just can’t get past this one boss, which sucks out the excitement from the game.

I reinstalled Enter the Gungeon, tried to play it, sucked hard, and uninstalled again. I reinstalled Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, won a run, am doing a victory lap, and then I’ll uninstall again because I don’t want to get re-addicted. I need a new game, and I’m thinking about it in terms of my vacation in Malta. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m a creature of habit to an extreme degree. I didn’t like following someone else’s rules, and I felt almost useless as I was out of my element. I like the idea of travel more than I actually like traveling, and I think you could say the same about the way I game.

I like certain kinds of games, FromSoft games in particular, and as much as I like the idea of expanding my boundaries, I don’t really like what I find outside of them. Just as I can appreciate other countries and their cultures, but don’t want to live there, I can try games outside of my preferences, and perhaps even enjoy one or two, but I don’t want to play them again. I like what I like, and while it may not be a certain genre, it’s definitely not something I can talk myself out of. I like adventure games, action games, and story-rich games. I like some open-world games, but it’s not really something I need in my game.

I’m at a lost for a new game, and I wonder if maybe I’ve just run out of interest in the whole shebang. I don’t think it’s true, but there isn’t much to excite me, either. I’m going to try out Monster Hunter: World because Ian bought it and is here right now. If I like it, then there’s my next two hundred hours of grinding. I just don’t know if I can overcome my distaste for killing the monsters, though.

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