I think I’ve established by now that I am a difficult person to please. Not in the general sense, but in terms of what I like and don’t like. I’m horrible to buy presents for (just give me the damn money), and there are maybe three people who nail it every time. When it comes to popular culture, I’m sure I look like a contrarian from the outside. I don’t like much of what other people like. I keep my mouth shut in general because no one wants to hear someone expound on why she hates Star Wars, Senfeld, or Game of Thrones. Or, hell, why I hate movies in general. That’s a half hour rant in and of itself.
I’ve also been pretty open about the fact that I define myself more about what I don’t want/like/need than what I do. One of the biggest positive (or, rather, proactive) decisions I’ve made in my life is to not have children–which is in itself a negative (lack of something). I am NOT married; I do NOT work a 9-to-5 job; I am NOT a church-goer; I do NOT have children. Those are the biggies, obviously.
Then again, there are somethings about myself that are positive descriptions (what I am). I am…ugh. Even there I run into problems because I have qualifiers for many of them. I slap the label bisexual on myself because it’s the closest to what I am, but it’s not a label I truly embrace. I don’t like pansexual or omnisexual, and if I had to choose, I’d just say I was sexual. Not in a ‘no labels’ sort of way, but because like so many things about me, it’s amorphous. Take gender. I don’t think of myself as a woman per se–I mean, I’m not wedded to the term. I don’t think of myself as a man, though, and I don’t identify with nonbinary or gender fluid.
It’s because I’d rather step behind the labels and dissect what they actually represent. I also think about them as a matter of construct and how they don’t necessarily make sense in this day and age. If you think about it, in many situations, there really isn’t any reason to delineate someone by their gender except so we can have a preconceived notion as to how we should view them.
I can hear you asking yourself, “Minna, what does this have to do with video games? In fact, what the hell does it have to do with dating for that matter?” I’m getting there. One of the other things you should know about me by now is that I meander all around a point before actually making it.
More positives about myself: I study taiji. I love taiji weapons. I love cats, especially black. Shadow is my little buddy, and I love him with all my heart. I devour mysteries, and I write them as well. I love writing. I write an estimated 2,00,000 words a year. That’s a lot of words and why my keyboards don’t last very long. Even the external mechanical keyboard I got a month ago or so is already losing some of the lettering. It’s not a big deal because I touch type as long as the keys last, but it was touted to withstand a lot of pressure. I adore it, though. The heavy push as I press the keys, and the clacking sounds (but not actual clicking). It’s just delightful.
I give all this as background to my comparison of dating and video games. In the dating realm, I’ve continued to redefine what I want and don’t want by mostly focusing on the latter. I don’t want to live with someone. I don’t want to get married. I most definitely do not want children (my own or someone else’s). I don’t want to entwine my life with someone else’s. I’m very used to doing my own thing whenever I want, and it would be difficult for me to curtail it.
When I was a teenager, I simply wanted a boyfriend. Did I actually want one or did I think I was supposed to have one? I’m not totally sure. I had a boyfriend who was a really great guy, but I wasn’t able to say I wasn’t comfortable with how much making out we were doing. That’s all our dates became, and I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t feel I could say anything, though, so I just put up with it until I broke up with him when he moved away for college. That was totally on me because he would have understood, but it was the first step to me realizing that I needed to speak up for myself.
In my early twenties, I realized I was attracted to women as well as men. Ironically, it was when I was in a committed relationship with a man. I didn’t do anything about it at that time because I was head-over-heels with the man, and, selfishly, I had just discovered racial issues and gender issues, and I did not want to deal with queer issues as well. I had some internalized homophobia/biphobia as well, and I did not want to deal with it at that time.
I came out in a public way (through a performance piece) and then I entered what I finally call the slut period of my life. It was a lot of fun, and I found out a lot about myself–including that I preferred to date men to women. I don’t know if I would say the same now, but that’s where I was then.
I realized I didn’t want children when I was in my early twenties. That was a revelation, and it filled me with a sense of relief. When I was in my late twenties/early thirties, marriage was the next on the chopping block. This was a fairly easy decision for me, but nowhere near as life-changing as the no children one.
Finally, in my forties, I came to the unsettling realization that maybe I wasn’t looking for a monogamous relationship. I’ve talked about this in the past and do not feel like getting into it again here. I will say that I don’t see myself with one person monogamously for the rest of my life. I don’t really even see myself in a romantic relationship because there are more negatives than positives, especially for someone with my personality flaws (alternating clingy/aloof). I know I have the problem of losing myself in a relationship, and I am too old and tired to deal with that now.
We finally reach how this has to do with me and games. I can tell you what I don’t want in a game. No war games. Mostly not into shooters. RTS is just not my jam. I suck at platforming. I have no interest, nay, less than no interest (and, yes, I know that’s not possible) in multiplayer games. I don’t give a shit about most Triple A games.
What do I like? Dark Souls. Next question? It’s not that stark, obviously, but that is the start and the end for me. I would say my favorite game of all time is Dark Souls III, and I’m currently replaying it. It’s comfort gaming at this point. I love how I know where everything is. I know almost every corner of that game.
Side note: I have spatial issues, and this plays out in gaming by me not doing well when there is no map. For instance, in The Surge 2, I can’t keep the routes straight in my mind for the life of me. It was worse in the first game where all the environments look the same, but it’s continued into the second one. Why? I have a few theories. One is that there are too many shortcuts. Needless ones. My brain doesn’t register which goes where because they are plentiful, and many of them are skippable. Or rather, unnecessary. It’s frustrating, and I’ve wandered around in circles, not knowing where I need to go. I’ve used a wiki liberally while playing the game to see where I need to go, and that’s not how I like to play that game.
Compare that to Dark Souls. All of them. I know where I’m going, and the routes are crystal clear in my mind. Mostly. There are a few areas in the first game that are a bit iffy–looking at you, Crystal Caves–but in general, I can tell you where every enemy in every room is. Funnily enough, it’s how I navigate when I drive as well. “Go until you see the McDonald’s on the left, and then take a right at the next block. Then, you’ll see a Caribou Coffee. Take a left there!”
In this case, it’s enemies who can beat the shit out of me, but that’s part of what makes it memorable. The stakes are high, albeit artificial. I mean, there is no practical consequence, obviously. I’m not going to die in real life. The only consequence is the pain and anguish I suffer as I play. And the deaths. Oh, the numerous deaths. I died so many times, especially in the original game. What that did, though, was force me to go through the same areas over and over again, and that made me know them like the back of my hand.
This is getting long as is usual for me. I will continue in next week’s post. See you then!