Hello, my name is Ravious, and I am a persistence addict. I try and play other games. The one’s sitting solely on my hard drive. The ones with no boundaries. They are great games that I ignore. But, to me, they are meaningless trifles when I can etch my accomplishments into a monolithic server farm one dead rat at a time.
The latest to fall was King’s Bounty: Armored Princess. It was a truly excellent game for the hour or so I played. It was also pretty much free. I know that I will enjoy it more if I play it more, but its pleasure is passing. Any lonely accomplishment I will gain will be between, myself, and my Steam wall. The game already lets me cheat by giving me a dragon anyway.
How could I work on growing my dragon, recruiting all manner of troops, and learning the princessly arts of Sun Tzu when I could be bettering my personae in the other worlds? So too has a Commander Shepherd been abandoned to some sewer planet (or something, I’m not quite sure) and four zombiepocalypse survivors are still searching, alone, for a bottle of Coke so some lunatic Cajun will blow up a truck. Yet, for all my rejections to their lack of persistence they remain on my hard drive. (I won’t even describe the sorry state of the amount of unplayed games in my uninstalled Steam library.)
I keep them because it is the thought of playing them that makes me happy even if actual play will not produce any dopamine. On the other hand, signing on to surf an Auction Hall and then run over to the next bunker to make a week-long cooldown crit item means something. My actions persist beyond the time at my computer. The ripples, no matter how small, reverberate throughout a formative thing. The insulated play of a non-persistent game only affects me, and then only in passing.
The makers of such ephemeral fancies try and fake pertinacity by creating achievements. Badges of fake honor. Mere trifles that try to indicate my actions were meaningful to a greater good. Yet, nowadays it seems I can get these achievements for pressing the Start Button on any two-bit console port. The sheer mass of games and available achievements belittles the whole point of making something meaningful. Even an amazing challenge netting one of the hardest achievements to get in the game you are playing will get swept away in a storm of players beating the first five levels of Portal. What game were you playing anyway? I’ve never heard of that achievement.
In my persistent games the sheer act of playing sends out a Descartian decree. I play, and I exist. My actions persist in the community, among my friends, and for myself long past the time I have logged off. And, somehow this makes my hobby seem worthwhile. Playing a single-player game feels selfish by comparison.
echoes for eternity