Sometimes, in the bid to feel good, we only need to take our minds off new games, and get back to some of the old titles, where if we dig deep enough, we’re sure to find some of the best classics from days gone by.
Gaming means different things to different people. Some might immediately think back to childhood board games they used to enjoy, whilst others might think back to the best Nektan casino games they’ve sampled, or even to the days where PC gaming required an installation disc before you could play. Whichever was your preferred way of enjoying games, there can be therapeutic properties in taking that nostalgic trip once more.
Now, I have come to the realization that I have not been able to enjoy all the games that I mapped out simply because I have a day job and a side job, plus other distractions that life brings, including things like spending the evening with parents, eating out, socializing, shopping, visiting family, and so on and so forth. However, all those distractions have been halted for the moment, and many would think that it is now time for me to enjoy all the new games in my ‘to do’ list. But the truth is; I still can’t play all the games that I would love to.
Up till now, I still believe that I’ve managed the lockdown well. I’ve learned and mastered the art of working from home with discipline; I’ve set up a very nice home office, and have Wi-Fi that could be described as half decent. I live with my partner, and a son that 33 percent of the time I feel like killing – you really don’t want to know what happens in our house, because we now have the unplanned opportunity of staying together for 24 hours of every day for the last few months, and with our father that is terminally ill (he is still alive).
Even though the lockdown has given me a lot of extra time, my long gaming wish list remains a wish list. Now, this is not to say that I’ve not spent time playing games, no. I still map out up to four times a week to enjoy the Apex Legends and also play some other games that I intend to review. However, one thing is common with all the other plans I made immediately the lockdown came into place, including taking care of our rank garden, learning how to cook, finishing the book that I’ve been writing for more than 10 years, and decorating, I’ve abandoned all of them, including the plan to power through Breath Of The Wild or Horizon Zero Dawn. Instead, I’ve gone back to my old favorite games, as if I’m going back to an ex-girlfriend that I can’t get enough of, even when I have an everlasting desire to date other girls.
In the beginning, I tried to beat myself up about the whole thing. But how can you complain that you can’t find the time to enjoy new games when you keep going back to Uncharted 4 or share-playing Dishonored with a friend that has not played it before? My brother has completed up to six full single-player campaigns, while I keep romancing old games that I’ve played uncountable times.
Problem is, you can’t even call these wholesome games. Dishonored is centered on a world that is rampaged by a plague, which killed and destroyed most of the poor people of the society while the rich and influential did nothing about it – something many people would hate to play. When it comes to the Uncharted and Apex, you will experience too much murder scenes, that though they will help you shed some stress, I’ve enjoyed them several times that they no longer interest me. So, while I can authoritatively say that I enjoy huge excitement and motivation from the one hour that I spend on ‘YuccaVee’, my Animal Crossing Island every day, I gain and enjoy nothing from the other games. But, I still can’t afford to leave them, as I go back to them every other day.
They are places that I’m conversant with. I know their backdrops like the palm of my hands, and I know and love all the places, and have explored them gleefully. One thing I can recall, though not in full details is their shortcuts and secrets, plus all the bad and good features. The first time I got to the Dunwall in Dishonored was in 2012. I was undergoing some personal crisis, and used it as a very effective escape route, even though it’s full of sick, malnourished, and impoverished people and a world that is all gloom and dark. It gave me a place to live temporarily, forgetting all the misfortunes of my life and living in other people’s. Even when you may think that I would be taken back to the misery that took me to the game in the first place whenever I play it again, it does not happen. I just remember that I was in a bad place at some time, but that the light eventually shined from one side of the tunnel. The feeling I get is that even the occurring events of the day will soon pass too.
This is comfort gaming, right? It’s almost the same thing with the bread and butter topping for your nanny, or the special bread toast from your mum. They are games that soothe your soul for many reasons. Now, while you are kept busy with a lot of routine and wholesome work in games like Animal Crossing, the truth is that it is not necessary for some of the comfort games to have such a proud claim to comfort. All they need is for people to know them. Whether the game is centered on experiencing Joe make the last decision on the action to take, scavenging through a humongous paradise, or destroying the glory of Los Santos, the only thing a game needs to be a favorite is for it to be well known by the players.
That is the only explanation for the fact that I keep going back to these old games. They are attractive to me because I know them inside out and I don’t think there is any other thing in my life that is so familiar and well-worn like them. I can’t seem to find any comfort and friendship in any other thing except my consoles. But once it is my console, I realize I know much about and can’t predict everything about the characters and worlds involved. That is the only reason why I’ve played some of them for the second, third, and fought times. I don’t have the time and energy to listen to narrators and get accustomed to sudden plot twists when the narrators in the physical world are hugely unreliable at the moment, and every plot that holds humanity together is twisting as fast as it could. My only comfort is to soak myself in the temporary and relative safety that comes from the virtual world, hoping that by the time I pull myself out of the games and get back to reality, the world would have become better.