What happens to media after we’ve meandered through their entirety? They still exist for us to re-meander through, but with the initial thrill of experiencing everything gone, what’s the point? For games like Viridi, the point is having a spot for daily active meditation – the act of watering plants can help remind us to water our own inner plants. For other media, when the videogame, album, or whatever is done, I’m onto the next thing.
In that way, videogame achievements are almost secondary.
Occasionally, when I hear about people that want to buy their way through videogames, to certain extents, that makes me wonder if those videogames are even worth playing? I can think of many novels that I haven’t enjoyed reading, so similarly, if I could have a way to buy my way through the majority of the novel without having to waste the time, but condense all the knowledge down into a single trophy, I could see that being a tempting proposition. For me, though, I would either stop reading the novel or force myself to read at such a fast pace that I skim through the material until I get to the end.
Finishing novels, ranking albums or anime episodes, is like achieving videogame trophies.
The act of data management for all of these and many other media we meander through represent a sort of beating process, where we’ve beaten the main objective. We’ve read the novel. We’ve heard the album. We’ve watched the episode. Through those formal processes, we can award ourselves trophies, but the same thing happens even if you’re not signed up for any website that helps you track your media meandries. If I watched a movie but didn’t catalog it, I still watched it. If I watched it again, and the website didn’t have a way to track that, then didn’t I waste that time watching it again?
Well, that’s why we have to assess why we do things in life.
Although I missed playing Viridi yesterday, I’m still playing because I do enjoy meandering through my four gardens to check in on my digital plants. It seems like the most insignificant game one could play. I’m not killing digital dudes. I’m not wracking up digital currency. I’m not acquiring digital wealth. What’s the point? For me, the prospect of having to tend for living plants is much too stressful, but clicking on plants to see how they’re doing and watering them if needed is a nice sense of mild responsibility that helps anchor my days to something bigger than myself. On days like yesterday where I wasn’t able to water my plants, they’ll survive, but I also wasn’t able to dispense my inner chaos slightly into the innate calm of these plants, just existing digitally within a videogame.
This reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics.
I played the game for enough time for the counter to stop, and yet there is one area in my save file that I have not explored. I did this intentionally because that way there’s be something for me to do, whenever I returned to it next. That intentionality happened some dozen years ago. I still haven’t returned. I don’t even know if my save file will have survived; probably; but where the memory card is located is a good question. A better question is why? When I return to that game to reload that save file, once I reacquaint myself with the controller scheme, will I immediately meander through that remaining part of the game? Once I do, will I have achieved that deeper sense of satisfaction through intentionally giving myself over 12 years of delayed gratification?
In some sense, it could be my mind’s way of wanting to appreciate the game still.
I’ve done basically everything there is to do in EarthBound. I did this with all the SNES RPGs I owned in the 90s because there was nothing else to do but master them, or at least meander through them as thoroughly as possible. It would get to a point in these games where I wouldn’t quite memorize the dialogue of characters, but I’d soaked in enough of their nuances to “get everything” about them, or to have beaten it. The stones I have yet to unturn in EarthBound are probably the most minuscule of pebbles. Unlike that location in FFT, which is one final bolder to unturn, in EarthBound it would seem like the novelty of new experiences has worn off.
Novelty is a toxic expectation, however.
The desire for more and newer experiences should always be treated with some degree of hostility. Sure, I’ve explored EarthBound enough to, for example, draw Saturn Valley from memory and probably do a fairly accurate job, but that’s not the main point of meandering through media. Sure, it’s good to do so in small bouts to expand the mental palette for new locations, new characters, and new ideas, but the whole point of media should be to help you understand your perspective of reality better. I, then, scan through the media that can help me with that and discard the media that doesn’t help me understand reality or at least cope with its many overwhelming intricacies.
I will never beat every videogame or meander through every media.
What I should want, however, is to have beaten all of the videogames and meander through all of the media that I know I want. Beating and meandering, however, doesn’t exactly mean winning trophies. What it means is figuring out how you can apply the experiences of those meandries to your own life. Daily meandries through my digital gardens helps me to unwind my chaotic mind. I should want to meander through more media to help me unwind in other areas, but part of the problem with that is scheduling the time for my own self-care, and then acting on that self-care time. The big thing is removing the sacredness from media.
Meander through it, beat it, doesn’t really matter.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I wanted to write about winning this final trophy and perhaps its meaningless since I got the trophy.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Written On: 2020 August 29 [7:37am to 8:04am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 29 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|