Friday, December 18, 2015

I Think I'm Turning Japanese

I've had something of a JRPG revival going on the past month or so. I've been logging on some serious hours on Final Fantasy XIV. On my 3DS, Xenoblade Chronicles and Shin Megami Tensei IV are in heavy rotation, while on the PS Vita, I'm playing quite a bit of Persona 3. And as we speak, I'm downloading Final Fantasy X HD for it. If I commit to playing it, it will be the third time I've gone completely through the game. To date, it is the only video game I've ever had the patience and motivation to beat a second time, a distinction I intend to impress upon Metal Gear Solid V, as well, when I buy it for the PC and play through it (I own and have beaten the Xbox One version, already).

Why the sudden love for Japanese videogames? I think it has something to do with the "weird" factor. It is refreshing to have a completely different change of pace. If we're being honest here, I'm sure on some deep psychological level there's something comforting and distracting about it, too. I find it difficult to indulge in things I used to do when I was still together with my wife. Even things she wasn't directly involved in, like tabletop RPGs or World of Warcraft. I'm not trying to say I was traumatized or something and now those things bring back painful memories; that's not really fair to her or to me, nor is it completely accurate (I have no problems with watching certain TV shows we used to watch together, for example). I guess I'm trying to say that, right now, there is something especially rewarding to me about going outside of my comfort zone and discovering (or re-discovering) something different and new to me.

Going back to games for a moment, even the particular way I used to enjoy games has changed subtly but noticeably. I'm much less enthused about learning new boardgames these days; I'd rather get good at the ones I have and learn them cold. Same thing with role-playing games; my love of reading/learning new games has disappeared, replaced with an unusually strong devotion to just three titles: Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, and World of Darkness (now currently known as the Chronicles of Darkness). 

I am a big fan of change. I like watching my own brain go through new processes and approach life from different angles. It's one of my defining characteristics, I think. And, being me, I can't help but marvel a little at how my life situation is changing the way I approach, play, and appreciate gaming.

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