Editorial: Nomadic Nothings

From both fear and anger.
I scream a lot when I play this game.

Oh what to write about, dear storied reader? I could write about how satisfying it was to finally shoot that guy in the face after he turned into a werewolf in Bloodborne, but there is nothing I could say about that game that has not already been (or will soon be) written by our own Doctor Mel with more insight, experience, dedication, and finesse. What else have I played this week? A little bit of Professor Layton and the Curious Village, but what would be gained from writing about that? An uninspired regurgitation of what was already drivel.

Because of my generally extroverted social persona and because of the level of energy, confidence, and optimism present in this persona, sometimes I have a hard time expressing my more passive and quiet side. The side that prefers to say absolutely nothing and just take in everybody and everything else. Any intelligence I have I think I can attribute to my ability to listen, just like the periods of my most heightened ignorance stem from when I do nothing but talk.

I love wandering between people and ideas, being constantly surprised by the vast differences and similarities between people and the endless ways they can present themselves.

I am new to the world of Hidetaka Miyazaki, my mind is tingling with thoughts that people have been having for years ever since Demon’s Souls appeared on the scene. But I am happy to become a battered freshman, not attempting to catch up, but letting Bloodborne teach me at its own highly considered pace. I would rather be an honest n00b than a false master. It is a game that Caileigh enjoys watching, which is always a good sign; Dragon Age: Inquisition never caught her interest.

But my life is not spent inside my PS4, as good, bad, moral, immoral, or amoral as that may be. I glanced at the TurboGraphx-16 over the weekend as well, enjoying the solid, fun, and unexceptional Bonk’s Adventure and Splatterhouse as a player and an observer. Similarly to my time in Michigan last year, I was grateful for a chance to look in on an area of gaming that I never experienced at the time.

Avatar: The Last Bonkbender
I don’t.

I think that an important factor of what makes us nostalgic is the sense of wonder we still had when we first experienced what we are nostalgic about. When we are full of wonder, we do not have our arms crossed, our marking pen out, or a thousand other things to do (even if we do). We explore, we test, and – of course – we wonder. As the world squeezes this wonder out of us while it slowly sits its heavy unflinching ass upon our head, we at least gain the ability to think alongside our ability to feel. But so many use the thrill of this logic to no longer explore the logic of emotions, dismissing their unknown complexities as irrational. I have relied too heavily on my heart. I have relied too heavily on my mind. I feel and think that they must constantly inform each other, surprising their counterpart at every turn. My relationship with Caileigh makes this exchange manifest as profitable debate. We are both right. We are both wrong. We both must constantly challenge the other. We can do better. Thank you and I am sorry.

I pull myself away from the TurboGraphx-16 and the PS4 and sneak out elsewhere, slipping on my jacket, pulling my hood over my head, and delving into the wilds. I tiptoe past the GamerGaters and anti-GamerGaters who are holding hands and spinning like in an old romantic comedy, except they have angry expressions on. They are giving themselves the safe illusion of feeling like they are going somewhere. Strangely, they do not thank each other. But I think their dance is valuable, and so I thank them silently. Better to just listen and move on, I think. I will check in again later.

Of course, I am no different. I give myself this romantic illusion of being a solitary, humble wanderer, but really I am still just a teenager, masturbating alone in a room that is a shrine to myself fetishized as a cartoon Japanese woman.

Grape soda, mostly. I don't know, did Gould like grapes?
Thinking about grapes.

I used to carry chopsticks around in my jacket pocket. I genuinely prefer to use them to eat when possible, but I was bullied into believing otherwise. It is only for my ego, I was convinced. At the time, I had no idea I could be misinterpreted. Of course, I do like the attention any of my eccentricities or exploits bring me, but attention has very rarely been a motivation for me to do anything. It is just a pleasant side effect, although I hate it as much as I love it these days.

I sit on the Gould bench outside the CBC building. I begin to feel like it no longer belongs there and that it should instead be situated at the train station in Churchill, Manitoba. But maybe that is an even better reason for Gould to remain downtown outside the corporation that no longer represents what it did when he produced works for it, he means more the less he belongs.

Here, I only like the idea of attention as I walk toward the bench. When I sit, I wish people would stop looking. I want to be alone. I do not want to have my thoughts caught on the fingers of passersby. Solitude, please. Solitude.

Even with Bloodborne and Gould, I have lost my innate wonder for video games and the city. I operate on the memory of wonder. I am stuck seeing the same colours and hearing the same words. Different words are the same words, different voices are the same voice, different streets are the same streets. I dream of the wild ocean and trees of the land my mother bought a decade ago that I am only this summer going to visit.

I walk outside in this city and it is no different than being inside. Concrete under my feet, towering walls on every side that only become more numerous and daunting, and no smell or sound of nature to be found anywhere. I have loved the jungle of the city in the past, but now it is cold soup.

Who cares?


  1. I keep trying to like Bloodborne, but it is too difficult for me.

  2. Better. Maybe even much better. I will have to think about it.

  3. This article led me to listen to Gould’s The Idea Of The North. You’re welcome!

  4. @Wolfe – The comforting chill of the North.

    @Matt – Thank you.

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