Underneath my yellow skin

What’s wrong with me?

I have written many times before about how most of my life is better since my revival from death (twice!). But, there are a few things that have gotten worse, and I’m not talking about the family dysfunction for once (though there is that). There are a bunch of little things that add up to irritation, but nothing serious.

One, my ability to do math in my head. One time, I was trying to figure out the Canadian kid’s age on the RKG Discord. He was saying that he was 12 in 2015 when Bloodborne came out. I kept trying to do the math and came up with him being 22. I literally could not figure it out and was embarrassed (he’s 19). I wanted to say, “I have had brain damage. That’s why I had difficulty with that simple math.”

I pride myself on my brain and my intelligence. I have always had my smarts, even when I felt I had nothing else. So to have issues with it is difficult for me. But, I can use a calculator or pen and paper to do simple math. It’s not a big deal, really. I just don’t like that when I tried to do it in my head, I literally couldn’t.

Another thing is my memory issues. That’s another thing I’m proud of–how good my memory is. I used to have to do intake for classes when I worked in the Diversity unit for the Department of Community Corrections. We had 500 employees, and I probably saw most of them throughout the year. I remembered everyone but two people, which is an amazing feat.

Now, I have a harder time remember names of people or things. I don’t always remember if I told someone something already. It can take me a few more seconds than it used to to remember a word. None of this really bothers me, honestly. I can just explain it with a smile and a ‘brain damage’ before moving along. That’s assuming that people know what happened to me.

It’s hard to feel too bad about anything when the end result is that I’m alive and in mostly fine fettle. i sleep better since my medical crisis, for sure. My norm was 6 1/2 hours before I ended up in the hospital. Now it’s 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night. I wake up once to go to the bathroom, but then quickly fall asleep again.

A bit of my anxiety has crept back. Maybe 10% or so more than before. Which was down 50% or so from before that. Whereas my depression is almost completely gone.

But! We’re talking about negatives.

The biggest one is that there is a marked decline in my reflexes. I can tell by the games I play. Such as Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! (David Galindo/Vertigo Gaming). There are three of them, and they are cooking sims. They include typing at a very fast rate to make different foods. I platted the original when it first came out. The second, I had 8 or so trophies left. The point is to get perfect shifts in order to get gold. There are different restaurants, and the shifts increase in difficulty for each restaurant. Before, I could do most of them up to the last shift or the second-to-last shift perfectly. I quit because I wanted to play other games, not because I couldn’t do it. Except the last shift for the sushi restaurant, which is needed for the plat. That’s the reason I quit, actually. Part of it. I just could not get the perfect shift.

Now, however, there are shifts that are earlier in the restaurant that I can do perfectly. My brain just doesn’t process it quickly enough to send the signals to my fingers. I don’t think I will ever get the plat in CSD 2, which makes me sad.

Another example is Stray (BlueTwelve Studio) and their goddamn button-mashing sections. I loved the atmosphere and the game overall, but the button-mashing sections of the game drained all my enjoyment of it. I have not finished it and probably won’t because those parts are so frustrating to me and there is no reason for them.

Side Note: This is a rant I’ve had for ages for indie games that are mostly not gameplay-based. Cramming in section of bad gameplay detracts from your games, and there is no reason to put them in. Whether it’s the platforming in Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus Games), the rhythm mini-game in Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall), or the asinine driving with tank controls mini-game in Boyfriend Dungeon (Kitfox Games), none of it is necessary or enjoyable.

At least in the latter two, it’s not necessary to the actual game–that’s not the case with the first. There was a platforming section in Spiritfarer that almost made me quit the game. It was near the end, and it would have been a shame. But I was getting so frustrated. If Ian had been here, I would have made him do it. I’ve done that before, by the way. Made him do sections of games I couldn’t.

I am not as hard on games with gameplay that I can’t do. Such as FPS. I can’t do first-person games because they make me nauseous. I can fiddle with the FOV slider or the files and sometimes make it possible for me to play a game (like Borderlands (Gearbox) original and sequel. That took a half hour of fiddling in the backend to make work). I did the same with Firewatch (Campo Santo), and I was happy I could play it.

I don’t get mad at indie games much because they have so little money and are usually less than a handful of people making the game. But when they put in sections of the game that are not necessary and make them inaccessible, well, then I get a bit irked.

I’m not going to yell at them, obviously, but it means I’ll have less-fuzzy feelings about having played the games. Or at least about those parts of the game. I love Spiritfarer. It’s in my top five games of all time. But, had I not been able to finally get the platforming section, I would have downgraded it to out of the top ten. Well, maybe not because it’s that good, but it definitely would have slid down a few pegs.

I have two lists for games, by the way. FromSoft games are all in the top ten, so they are on their own list.

1. Dark Souls III
2. Elden Ring
3. Dark Souls
4. Dark Souls II
6. Sekiro

I have not played Demon’s Souls, but that would probably be fourth or fifth had I played it.

My non-FromSoft list would be:

1. Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
2. Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus Games)
3. Cozy Grove (Spry Fox)
4. Hades (Supergiant Games)
5. Cook, Serve, Delicious! series, especially 2 (David Galindo)

A special shoutout to Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Edmund McMillen) for the thousands of hours of comfort gaming I’ve gotten out of it. Also, a special shoutout to Torchlight (Runic Games) for being the first ‘hardcore’ game I played–and thoroughly enjoyed.

Wait. How did I get to games again? Oh, right. My shitty reflexes. I’m not happy about it, obviously, but I’ve accepted it as the trade-off for being alive and loving life. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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