Sometimes I feel like I don’t exist anymore. My The Sims 3 game has eaten my life. I spend whole days playing it; last night I stayed up most of the night trying to find a particular item that one of my sims needs to accomplish her lifelong goal. I wasn’t even playing the game anymore – which for me is largely about telling stories – I was just having her do the same thing over and over and over again without achieving the desired result.
In the end I think I broke that save game by using too many cheats. It takes too long to load and might never load.
Last night This morning I was torn between sleeping on the couch while waiting for it to load and actually going to bed. I chose the latter, but as soon as Dog woke me up a few hours later I was back to trying to play that game. I finally gave up and deleted it … then started a new game with (mostly) the same characters.
It’s gotten to the point where sometimes I don’t even really want to play, but I find myself turning on the computer and loading the game anyway; before I know it Ziya has disappeared and the sims have taken hir place.
Banji and I often talk about writing, especially writing fiction. She’s suggested I should write the stories I’ve been “playing” ad nauseam – including dialogue, character development, world building, etc. It’s a very tempting idea: I can take the creative energy I’ve been putting into that game and use it to (also) hone my writing skills. I’ve felt energized by thoughts about creating a new blog where I would tell my sims’ stories, updating after each play session.
In addition to giving me practice writing fiction, it would also provide a means of exploring the potent themes that come up in that game. Death is a particularly important one, particularly the inevitability of death via aging. What choices would I make in a world where such a fate can be delayed or even avoided entirely? (by specific supernatural types of sims or through potions any sim can eventually unlock)
So far I’ve noticed that I tend to abandon games when my original sims are nearing elder-hood and it is time to pass the torch to the next generation (born in the game). Is it really because the additional sims (and additional roles each sim must play) make the game too complicated? Or does it evoke my anxiety and grief – about loss, abandonment, missed opportunities, an imperfect childhood, etc.?
I often feel as though I’m standing on the edge of a dark cliff, looking my own death in the face. Whether it takes the form of what my loved ones would call “death” as they grieved at my funeral – or of transitions such as weddings and births and new jobs and new homes, etc. they would celebrate – to my eyes it’s all the same: Dark and nebulous and largely outside my control, requiring me to make sacrifices I don’t even fully understand.
So what’s “giving in”? Missing my music therapy session to write this post? Going along with what everyone says “life” should be? Playing a life simulator while ignoring real-world pleasures and responsibilities? Choosing what everyone else calls “death”?
I have no idea. I just keep holding on to this notion that I want to do something meaningful before I leave.
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