Robert Raymond Alpizar

Getting Back Into Gaming

Sunday May 10, 2020 11:22pm EST

When we moved into our new apartment, we finally had the room to separate work from fun again. I told myself that I would get around to actually playing the 900ish games I had accumulated over the many platforms I own. By far the largest collection is for PC, with my GoG library being the bulk of the total count. All of the current PC games I have are digital. All of the physical software was given to a good friend who is all about collecting everything he can find.

Over the last few years I would glance over the lists of the games I own and be completely paralyzed by choice. With that many games available, where the hell do I start? I found myself repeatedly going back to the old school FPS games. Mindless and simple was where I would end up every time. The range of genres in my library is nice and varied but I just couldn't get myself into mindset to get into something.

After awhile, the only two games I would even have installed at any given time would be Kerbal and Skyrim Special Edition. Sometimes Skyrim would get swapped out for Fallout 4, but really, they are essentially the same cut and paste garbage that Bethesda has devolved to. The complete lack of differentiation between the limited selection I left myself with drained any desire I had to to go deeper.

On top of that, the situation at home wasn't exactly conducive to finding thetime to dedicate myself to something. My stress level was so bad I'd ended up in the hospital and I had to take a last minute vacation away from my life to get myself centered again. I was seriously concerned that I would end up having another cardiac episode from the stress.

When we got back from the trip, we took a good hard look at our living situation and decided a fresh start in a new apartment would be the best first step to fixing things that we could take. We found a great place that met our desires and we moved at the end of January.

With the new apartment came more room to spread out. I was down to just the minimal amount of hardware I needed as again, I had given all of my retro stuff to my buddy. After considering my needs as they now stood, I picked up a pre-built gaming desktop to dedicate to games. My current daily driver desktop was converted to the newest version of my home server and I took the wife's desktop as my daily driver. She had gotten an identical machine to the gaming desktop I picked up and she is using that as her only desktop.

With the segregation of duties between the 3 machines I now had, I was able to keep gaming and daily productivity separate. I installed all of the game portals and emulator setups I needed...and nothing else on that gaming machine. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't fall into the hole that I had the year before with stress and everything else that had contributed to my health scares.

I tired forcing myself to try a bunch of the games I had. I installed a bunch of them randomly, tried them out, but I still couldn't get into anything. The amount of time I had to myself after getting home from work and doing the nightly home stuff just wasn't enough to dedicate to any real kind of gaming sessions without sacrificing sleep. Then...the quarantine happened.

Since the wife and I are both well within the high risk category, we have been home for almost the past two months at this point. At first I tried to keep work and goofing off away from each other, but after a couple weeks everything blended together. I'd find myself switching over to my personal machine in between tasks on my work laptop. Eventually, work began to be neglected to the point where I'd put in only the thinnest of token efforts at actual work and spend the rest of the day fucking around on my own desires.

Obviously, this wasn't going to work. I happened to wake up stupid early one morning about a month ago. I was wide awake, no way would I be able to just lay back down and pass out again, so I went to my desk to watch some YouTube and dick around with solitaire or something. However, I glanced over at my work machine and went there instead. I found myself getting caught up in the tasks I had been neglecting and actually enjoyed working. Somehow, that day I managed to avoid other distractions and I kind of zoned out into work mode and didn't come up for air until about 6 PM. I felt pretty good about having rededicated myself to actually working, but I had this overwhelming need to distance myself from it at that point so I hit the KVM and moved over to my gaming machine...and opened up Skyrim.

It had actually been awhile since I'd played the game beyond jumping in for a half hour or so and doing a couple bullshit quests just to kill some time. I popped open the quest log and realized that I hadn't done any of the main quest line this time around. I had been going through all the faction quests and other random side quests. I hadn't even touched the Dawnguard or Dragonborn DLCs yet. So...I did. I finished all of the DLC, the factions, every non-radiant side quest I could find.

Then, with nothing left to do, I started back up with the main story. Having finished the game a few times before I knew what to expect, but this time I was jacked from all the grinding and leveling and I ripped right through everything. Alduin went down so quick this time that I was actually kind of surprised that I'd done it from meeting the Grey Beards to saving Sovngarde in just a few hours. I closed off the game, stared at the Steam client and it hit me. I'd effectively did 100% of all I cared to do in the game. I finished a game.

At this point it had been forever since I'd finished a game, at least what I consider finishing a game. Pretty much just doing anything story related. Kerbal doesn't really count in this way since it's an open ended sandbox that I will always go back to whenever I get an idea for a new rocket or whatever. Anyway, yeah. I was able to say I crossed off a game. I used to track when I did this but it had been years since I had anything to report.

This feeling of accomplishment gave me the inspiration to try something else. Pouring through a few other games in the list, none of the ones I tried grabbed me until I randomly tried Torchlight. "Cute Diablo" is what someone called it. I had started it years ago when I first got it, but forgot I even owned it. It took me less than 17 hours to finish the main story line. That made two games in just a couple of weeks.

I'm going to keep this momentum going. I haven't yet decided what I want to play next but I'm thinking some kind of Diablo-clone, at least mechanics wise. Divine Divinity, or maybe Revenant will be next. Not sure, definitely in the mood for an action RPG. We'll see where this leads.