Ben’s article on Entertainment Fatigue struck a chord with me as I’m sure it will with many people. Everyone will experience it at some point, if you haven’t yet you’ve got it to look forward too, if not for very long. I’ve regularly found myself in a state of almost aimlessness when it come to Entertainment that has manifested in different ways at different times. Last Year I had several games to play that I had been looking forward to, Horizon: Zero Dawn & Final Fantasy XV to name two, sitting on my shelf but I found myself not wanting to play either of them. I watched the film Kingsglaive before starting Final Fantasy and loved it, it was excellent and after 10 enjoyable hours of the game I found myself refusing to go back and play it even. I enjoyed the game, I liked the Characters I was primed for the world, I was enjoying the combat and mechanics so there was no reason not to continue playing. The same occurred with Horizon: Zero Dawn, I could blame the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda for stopping me playing H:ZD, to do so would be a lie however. I’d already put off playing more of it even though I’d already enjoyed it for about 15 hours or so.
It’s inescapable, that feeling that there’s so much you should be enjoying and yet somehow you just aren’t able to. None of it really grabs you, nothing seems to seep into your thoughts all day, nothing makes you stop and think on any deeper level and you know it isn’t because the shows you are watching or the games you are playing are bad; it’s just that they aren’t hitting the mark in a way you can’t describe because you don’t understand what the mark is or why they are no longer hitting it.
You can take comfort at least, readers and Ben, from knowing you are not alone.
Personally, what I’ve found that has busted that funk entirely on its own is to delve into something new. Not the newest Marvel movie, not the latest Star Wars comic, not the latest novel in that series you have been reading for the last decade, no. Something genuinely new to you. For me it was something that was recommended to me by my Girlfriend and several other Friends whose judgement I trust. So allow me to continue that on by recommending it to you as well. It’s something I think Ben will enjoy watching as a gamer although there is no need to be put off if you yourself are not also one. Here is the elevator pitch.
Reki Kawahara is the creator of this world, the setting is basically our world (Japan) a few years in the future (2022) where a new technology has been invented that takes Virtual Reality to another level. By putting on a NerveGear you can “Full-Dive” into a Virtual World. The way this works is that the NerveGear intercepts the signals your brain sends and so instead of moving your real body the body you have in the virtual world will move instead. The first VRMMO that takes advantage of this technology is Sword Art Online; a Fantasy RPG set in Aincrad, a floating castle with 100 floors to progress through. On release day 10,000 players, who pre-ordered the game, login. It soon becomes clear to them though that something is wrong… they can’t log out. To make matters worse, they are soon told by the games creator that the game was designed this way. The lack of a logout button was not a bug or defect, it was intentional. Now the only way out is to beat the game. If they die in game, they will not respawn and they will not wake up, they will die. In both the real and virtual worlds. Now, instead of enjoying a fun VRMMORPG, 10,000 people are trapped in a game of death and 100 floors of enemies, bosses, traps and all sorts of other challenges stand in their way.
It’s quite the pitch, isn’t it? I have fallen in love with this world, I’ve fallen in love with the ideas it explores from Game Design and the Ethics of a technology like the NerveGear, to the Psychological impact on the people trapped in a true High Stakes Game where dying is a frighteningly real and easy thing to do, as anyone who’s played any sort of MMO or RPG would know. The characters are compelling, the world is intoxicating and despite all the awful things that come from the misuse of this fictional technology I still find myself wanting to try it for myself, to experience that level of immersion.
Give it a try and you too might finally break yourself out of that funk that has overtaken you, The anime is on Netflix and the Novels are available on Amazon. I cannot recommend it highly enough.