I’ve been on a quest to purge my tabs, and this one has been open since last December. Part of my mistake was trying to do another 2019-style list instead of going for brevity like I did with the 2020 list. Ambition exacts its toll on me yet again. But whatever. It’s time to actually finish this, no matter what.
So here’s how this is going to work. I’m gonna list the games I played. I don’t necessarily have something to say about everything I played, so I’m not going to force myself to do so. I will however spend a minute talking about the one game that I blame for this list being as late as it is.
Maybe not at this moment, but it is evident that whenever you have occasion to walk past my porch, you are unhappy. I make this inference based on the note you left taped to my door, coupled with the reasoning that someone of a neutral emotional state would not feel moved to post such a thesis.
Let me be clear: I admire your breathtaking display of passive-aggressiveness, and I want to return the thought in kind. Full disclosure, part of my motivation here is selfish. I’m planning to write another “Every Game I Played This Year” post, and I would hate for the 2021 and 2020 lists to be right next to each other on the blog roll.
But the remainder of my reason for writing this response is because I think you deserve it. So I hope that the energy contained within this blog post, which I don’t expect you to read, finds its way to you.
Congratulations! Your time machine works. It is January 2020. If you’re hoping to stop the COVID-19 pandemic or at least prevent the catastrophe that has been America’s handling of the outbreak, you will need to travel back farther. Much farther. But while you’re here, you can read this timely blog post about the video games I played last year.
If you’re not a righteous time traveler and are instead checking my blog for the first time in a year a while, you might read the headline and think “2019? That was a hundred years ago.” Or you might look to the right and think “That scroll bar is really small.”
For the second point: Don’t worry, friends. I don’t expect you to read all 12,000 words of this in one sitting. That is why I have constructed a Table of Contents for you. Yes, this blog post has a table of contents. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.
For the first: Using the Table of Contents, you can — if you must — skip to my Closing Thoughts, which go into why you’re only now reading this scattered collection of reflections.
There are short entries. There are longer entries. There are entries long enough that they could have been their own blog post. I hope you enjoy reading however much you choose to read.
When we left my grandparents’ house on Christmas day, there was only one possible destination. Our family doesn’t readily depart from tradition or routine, and the schedule for Christmas has never involved midday excursions. We don’t go to the movies, we don’t go for walks, we don’t leave on a family vacation. We do write Christmas lists, though, and that year the first entry on mine was a puppy. Still, it didn’t feel real until we pulled onto the farm in Mebane and saw a litter of airedales jumping at the fence.
I’m participating in the Raleigh AIDS Walk and 5K Run again, and I need your help to reach my fundraising goal. I’m looking for small donations from friends and family. If everyone who reads this gives at least $5, we should hit the mark.
“It could well be said that we all live pretty well in one great heap, all of us, differentiated as we otherwise are by the countless and profound variations that have developed over time. All in one heap! Something urgent drives us together, and nothing can prevent us from satisfying its urging. All our laws and institutions, the few I still remember and the countless I have forgotten, go back to the greatest joy that we are capable of, the warmth of togetherness.”
Kafka, Investigations of a Dog
When I’m depressed, it helps me to write things down. While I’m thinking in scattershot, I can take notes, get them on paper, and then rearrange them to make more sense in a better moment. The act of writing brings clarity. It shines light. It provides exposure.
I made my profile back in 2008 about a week after I almost missed a birthday party because the invitations were sent via Facebook event. By that point I was already a creature of the internet, and there were things about the platform that made me bristle.
I was a denizen of video game message boards, so The Social Network was alien to me in a lot of ways. It annihilated topicality. Its forces of moderation were opaque and incorporeal. And its very purpose was to reject anonymity.
But interacting with real names on the internet has never been the same as interacting with real people. Absent anonymity, authenticity doesn’t take over. And despite its stated mission, Facebook has never made me feel closer to anyone.
I got up and did my seven-minute workout to warm up, and then I walked out to the street and started running.
It was a short loop, just through the neighborhood, around the nearby Catholic school. I closed the loop out with a short stint on the Greenway access right by my apartment. I ran, carrying my keys and my phone.
When I hit the parking lot again, I slowed to a walk and got control of my breathing.
Back in my apartment, I did another seven-minute workout, the one I unlocked that focuses on stretching.
The most important thing to know about Destiny 2 is that, if you play it, you play it with other people. Even if you start out on your own, you will meet others and link up with them on an inexorable journey. If you don’t, you’ll stop playing altogether.
For that reason, Destiny 2 is a game you experience through dialogue. Not with characters (you play as a silent protagonist), but with your companions, whomever they may be.
These are some of the conversations you should expect to have.