Some random thoughts about Persona 5.
*Light spoilers for a few things in the first bit of the game (all occurring before July, game time), namely: comments about a specific character’s likeability and how another character treats him; a character’s outfit, and detail-free comments about the bits of the protagonist’s past that you learn at the beginning of the game. WHY am I being so specific? Because Atlus is being draconian. Ok, I can’t say as I blame them, given how much I hate spoilers. But people can always do what I do, and just avoid the subject entirely.
1) Morgana totally saves Ryuji from a whole lot of hate. Seriously, that guy would drive me batshitfuckingcrazy with irritation if Morgana wasn’t there to defuse the situation. I can’t tell him he’s an idiot to his face, but Morgana can. And does. Frequently. Every time I want to start yelling at the screen, Morgana calls him out for me. Comments like,”How many times do I have to tell you to keep quiet?!”, and many others like it, always seem to come at the perfect moment. Like a relief valve. The game also dialed down my hate for him by making me feel a little sorry for the guy… because Morgana’s always on his case, even when he technically didn’t do anything to deserve it. Aside from, you know, breathing. I keep telling myself that he has good intentions, and then he keeps opening his mouth and going on and on about getting famous. GAH.
2) Ann’s battle suit drives me nuts, because of course it’s skintight. Skintight catsuits are absolutely the most comfortable thing to fight in, right? I have other outfits that I could put on her, but they’re just clothes. No mask. Why should she have to be the only one not in a cool outfit? You’d think that the fact that Ann herself complains about it would help, but… it doesn’t. If she’s not comfortable in it, even in the Metaverse, then why the hell would her rebel self wear it? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I’d be in something more Evie Frye-ish. Or maybe something like movie-Scarlet Witch. Except with less cleavage.
3) I was never really in danger of quitting the game, but there was something that drove me pretty close to the edge a couple of times: the absolute awfulness that the protagonist is subjected to. The sheer, unmitigated unjustness of it all. I mean, his life is completely totaled, supposedly. And then his parents send him away to live with a stranger? A stranger who also treats him like crap? On top of all that, everyone from the principal to the teachers to the students acts like he strangled babies or something. I mean, yeah, ok, so he was steamrolled by a guy who obviously has some clout, but come on. It was just too much. I spent the first ten hours wanting to punch nearly everyone in the game in the face. Eventually, I got used to it. And isn’t that just sad.
Speaking of spoilers…
No spoilers here, just complaining about spoilers. There’s no doubt that it totally sucks when somebody ruins something for you. *cough*FightClub*cough* Even when you try to avoid spoilers like the plague, sometimes stuff slips through. Maybe you start reading an article, thinking that because it doesn’t have a spoiler warning and seems pretty general, you’ll be safe… and then WHAM! Spoilered. You can’t un-know what you know. Not yet, anyway.
By now, everyone should know that it’s rude to throw spoilers out there without warning people. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t. Or doesn’t care. Or wants to be the first to tell you __________. Or just enjoys spoiling things for other people. I completely turned off chat in SWTOR last week, because people were apparently spoiling The Last Jedi like mad. Luckily, when I glanced up, I didn’t actually see a spoiler, just a ton of people screaming about spoilers. Right. Message received. Chat off. I’m not all that thrilled about the movie, but that doesn’t mean I want it spoiled.
But SWTOR is a bit of a touchy subject, spoiler-wise, because one of the most dumbfounding spoilers I’ve ever encountered… gah! It wasn’t an article, or a forum troll, or a jerk in chat that spoiled one of the earlier chapters for me. No, it was SWTOR itself, which, inexplicably, once posted spoilers for its own story in the patch notes.
Now I can’t even read patch notes? Seriously?
eBooks are odd things. Once upon a time, I was one of those people who swore up and down that eReaders would never, ever replaced actual printed-on-paper books. At least, not for me. Then I got a Kindle for Christmas, and that was all she wrote.
Actual physical books just aren’t as convenient. I miss them in a nostalgic way, but not in a practical way, which is what, ultimately, sealed the deal for me. I read quickly, and I read a lot. Lugging around extra books so that I had spares in case I finished one earlier than expected was kind of a pain in the ass. With a Kindle, I could haul all of my books around in a single, lightweight device… and that was before the app. Now I just need my phone, and I’m never without something to read.
Over time, I’ve slowly rebuilt my physical library in digital form, but there have been some odd holdouts — books that you just couldn’t get, or had to stalk mercilessly so that you were ready when they popped up. The early books in Raymond Feist’s Riftwar series were missing for a long time, but the later books were available. David Eddings’ Belgariad, Elenium, etc. books have popped in and out seemingly at random, driving people absolutely crazy. I noticed that Stephen King’s Christine also wasn’t available for a while. Granted, it’s not exactly his masterpiece, but it seemed an odd omission.
Raymond Feist’s early Riftwar books are now out on Kindle, but more importantly, the Raymond Feist / Janny Wurts Riftwar Cycle: The Empire Trilogy spin-off series is now fully available. I’ve held on to the paperbacks for years, and finally snagged the first book, Daughter of the Empire, on the Kindle a couple of years ago. Then I waited for the other two to show up. And waited. Why do they do this to me? Sigh. Anyway… The Empire Trilogy probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Fantasy, female protagonist, leans heavily on political maneuvering, but there’s plenty of action. I reread it at least once a year, so if you haven’t, you might give it a try.
How Nick Fury saved my bank account, and possibly my sanity.
I found myself with the urge to splurge this year. After laying out the bucks for PSVR and a few games… not to mention gifts for other people… I spent plenty. But there was a weird urge to just say fuck it and get all kinds of things I want, but don’t really need.
Back in 2012, a whole bunch of people — myself included — were shocked when it was announced that City of Heroes was shutting down. The last update had hit only a couple of months earlier; no one had any inkling that the game was in jeopardy of being killed off. All I could think about were the things I’d always intended to do in the game, but hadn’t gotten around to yet. City of Heroes was the first modern MMORPG that I played. Thing 1 kept seeing it on the shelves at the local Target and begging me to get it. I was leery of the whole MMO thing, at the time. I didn’t want to get sucked into something like that. I also wasn’t certain that my crappy laptop would even run it. Eventually, it went on sale, and I relented. I booted it up and discovered that I was half right: it ran — barely — but it was so slow and clunky that Thing 1 quickly gave it up (or got tired of fighting me for it… whatever). I upgraded the computer shortly thereafter, and that was it for me. I was hooked. And I’ll never give NCsoft another penny, if I can help it.
I haven’t gotten that attached to an MMO since, for obvious reasons. When you’re painfully aware of how suddenly something can come to an end, it’s hard to let yourself go too far. In the long run, that’s probably a good thing. It’s created a weird dynamic for me, though. I’ve dabbled in Lord of the Rings Online, Star Trek Online, Champions Online, The Secret World, and DC Universe Online, and spent quite a bit of time over the years in World of Warcraft, though it’s been a while. SWTOR is the only one that’s come close to engaging me the way CoH did, and I find myself all too aware of its possible mortality. I’ve amassed quite a fortune in credits, and I find myself struggling between carefully hoarding it for when it’s needed vs. blowing it on any and every last cosmetic shiny thing that catches my eye. What good does it do me if I’m swimming in credits if/when the game shuts down for good?
It occurred to me that this same feeling was part of my sudden urge to throw money around over the holidays. What good does it do to be prudent with my finances if the world blows up tomorrow? Who’s going to care about credit card debt if nuclear warheads come screaming over the horizon? Memes aside, nobody gets a prize for dying with the most toys / money / stuff. Not that I’d even be competitive, but the point remains.
In a moment that first made me blink and then made me laugh my ass off, it was Samuel L. Jackson as Nick-fucking-Fury that brought me to my senses. No shit, there I was, thinking about spending more money than I should, when suddenly I heard Fury bellowing, “Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on!” in my head.
Right. Message received. And there you have it — my New Year’s resolution, and a way to cope with this ongoing shit show. Giving up on decency is not an option. Resistance is not futile. Hiding under a desk is useless. Nobody’s swooping in and taking our voices away — unless we let them.