[Media Meandry] Had To Play

I had to see it.[1]” There was something compulsive that caused me to think about playing Pokémon LeafGreen throughout my other tasks yesterday. That same compulsion runs through many elements of my life. It drove me to spend some time preparing my team and how I’ll use them throughout the game. This might be the signal of an addictive personality, but honestly, I’d rather focus on the positive aspects here, so let’s dig into obsessiveness.

What obsesses me to play and continue playing?

My best answer is that hard choices are easier in videogames. In games like FF7, you only need to decide your teammates based on narrative/personal favorites or gameplay mechanics, whereas, in Pokémon games, you have various elemental considerations. If I feel like one teammate is underperforming, I can grind its levels up, research its move-sets for possible uses for it, or swap it out. That led me to spend about one hour today going through every Pokémon I have to decide how I want to build them out.

These choices are significantly easier than any choice we make in life.

Especially if I’m not playing competitively, I can play as leisurely as I want. When you’re either physically or mentally hurting, something like that is a convenient escape. You can take your mind off yourself and focus on something else. Here, I could think about how I wanted to build out my team. As I go, I can refine my ideas. As I go through the game and this series of essays related to LeafGreen, which I may adopt as a format of writing essays while playing games, later on, I figure I’ll start to include some basic character stats.

Why do I want to use my obsessive time in this avenue rather than writing?

For one, there are typically no long-term consequences of most of these elements. If I make a mistake, this game is forgiving enough to let you try again. [I’m also playing via emulator.] We don’t often get those same forgivenesses in life. We have to live and die by our choices, which can lead to indecisiveness, but that’s where some of the flavors of life kicks in. If we decide that we’re going in one direction, why look back at another direction? If it intersects, we can jump to that other direction if it seems like a better route, otherwise, keep on going in the direction you picked as long as it remains viable.

There was something else I was thinking about while playing.

I have the game open in one part of my screen while half-watching videos on another part of the screen. Partway through a Kokoro Wish lecture video I was watching, there was a question about whether the subject’s artist was an environmental or character artist. That got me thinking about what I am, in terms of my own writing. I appreciate the details of narrative art more than environmental or character details, unless how they relate to the narrative.

My interest in playing through this game is building up my team’s narrative.

I’ve borrowed names from my first novel and “The Story,” along with some noteworthy Nuzlocke names, because I’ve found that even seeing their names will take me out of my present and help me think of new ideas. In that way, I live my life in a sort of amalgamation between present-tense and future-tense. I’m always looking ahead to what I want to do, but I should reign it back enough to avoid letting the anxiety of working toward my future control me.

When I play games, these past-, present-, and future-tense thoughts coalesce calmly.

While playing Pokémon, FF7, or ENDLESS WAR, there are clear objectives that I can follow. In Pokémon, I can spend a meditative 30-minute set, like I did yesterday, getting my active team all up to Level 28 …even though my overpowered Gyarados will help me blast through many upcoming battles. In FF7, I can just run around in circles to grind my levels. In ENDLESS WAR, I have a good gameplay loop, which actively involves enough of my senses to distract me from anything else, and is repetitive enough to where I can practice clearing up other parts of my mind while I’m playing.

I’ve found that when I have powerful obsessions like this, they’re motivational rewards.

Before I spent all that time yesterday playing, I was in enough physical pain to demotivate me from doing much of anything. It was overwhelming. I had to delay all of my plans. I didn’t even feel like writing anything. But it was a mindset where I couldn’t go back to bed, so I just took the day off. I wasn’t productive except in trying to do what I could. That was, until LeafGreen popped into mind. Its saccharine colors lingered while I cooked food.

When obsessive things like that happen, it’s always positive or negative.

Positive obsessions, like playing a videogame, can be used as powerful motivators to do certain tasks. I gave myself a negotiation where I would allow myself the time to play if I completed certain tasks. After I completed those tasks, I played! Now, I don’t know if negative obsessions like wanting to break inebriation are the result of dealing with stress for too long or not letting your obsessions decrease by letting yourself indulge in videogames, but I do think an un-reigned obsession can block out any attempts at being reasoned with, no matter what motivational tool is involved.

I would rather play videogames than deal with insobriety.

What might be more ideal is allowing more decompression time like this more often throughout my life, so I don’t feel obsessed enough to spend hours playing videogames, even if I use the time during my playtime to think of ideas to write about after like this essay. I don’t have a good answer as to how to fix this.

By airing it out, I can consider future good enough answers.

Quotes: [1] This is one of my favorite Casey Neistat videos because it encapsulates obsession, wanderlust, and the spirit of adventure I want to have, and might do, but only after I’m done writing.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: My notes: “I had to see it.” [Kokoro Wish] [Hard choices are easier in videogames.] [There typically aren’t any long-term consequences.]
Related: Other Media Meandry and I suppose Sober Living essays.
01 – “Easy Mode Living
02 – “Real Life Grinding
03 – “Had To Play
Screenshots: Continuing the series theme. Below are my notes on what I’m doing with my team.
Written On: 2020 April 29 [10:12am – first sentence. 12:24pm to 1:15pm]
Last Edited: 2020 April 29 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.