The Desert Run [Journal 6-19-17]

Bastion – The End.

It takes me quite some time to get the point of this post. There are just many factors to address. Though perhaps contrary to the evidence on this blog, I’m not one to hinder progress with dramatics. I like to think of myself as silly yet disciplined, merely mired in circumstances that disallow my naturally cheery demeanor. Or I’m a megalomaniac.

I had to be around 11 when I played Breath Of Fire III. The following year was notoriously utopian for gamers, and I recall BoF3 occurring before that majestic time. Sometime before BoF3, I played Secret of Evermore, which contained an event similar to the one in BoF3. That event, occurring in both games, is the desert run. I’m unaware of repetitions of this theme elsewhere, though BoF4 has something vaguely similar. I believe BoF3 was my best friend’s, lent. SoE was likely a christmas present from my dear grandmother.

I’m absolutely certain that, these days, the desert run would never be allowed in a game: most people would find it intolerably boring and frustrating. In the midst of these two games, themselves based around active and varied adventure, the desert run was jarringly bland and lifeless. You basically just walked in a straight line, for a long time. But for me, it created a peaceful, “meditative” state.

In SoE, the run was pretty simple. Dumped into a new, dangerous, and confusing place, separated from your previously ever-present companion, you have only one way out. A straight run through a long and landmarkless desert, which constantly drained your health, while dodging enemies along the way. Within the desert were tiny oasii, that both prevented the health drain, and healed you. The damn places were very far apart.

Combine all these factors, and that desert was a boring, yet nerve-wracking affair. Still, the persistent danger, unchanging environment, and low amount of factors, focused my thoughts. A calming effect, despite the nerves – and what a relief to find the end. Immediately after this section of the game was a bustling, intricate, and dense street market, that had the constant murmur of a crowd. An excellent contrast to the desert, and the loneliness generated by your companion’s absence. And I find a crowd’s murmur extremely comforting, in any case.

In BoF3, you have to cross a large desert, which I believe gives access to the end-game. This desert is far longer, and far easier to get lost in. The desert must be navigated in a specific manner, or you can become completely lost. I believe you can choose to be taken back to your starting point at any given time. Of extremely important note is that, within the game, you are given contrary instructions on how to pass the desert.

Or at least, I misinterpreted the separate sources. But that doesn’t matter, to the point of this post. What matters is that I thought they gave different directions. I recalled the people, in some near-by town, telling me to go west. I recalled a note, found at the desert’s “base-camp,” telling me to go east. East was the correct direction, though West did grant treasure.

Measuring the relative accuracy of each source, ignorant of the correct direction, one might consider the note more reliable. A bitter misanthrope might associate the directions, given by a person, as guaranteed to be wrong. Perhaps that was what my subconscious was thinking, years later. After First and I had our problems and stopped interacting, I had a dream. The recollection of the dream, over a decade old, is still psychologically arresting, and calming.

Briefly, I was looking into a jungle, which I recognized as an altered version of a section of forest, next to a path my friends and I used to get to a local “rock quarry.” That path was filed with excellent memories of friendship and adventure. But I only mention this section of the dream to be thorough in recording my own history – given future prospects.

I looked away from the jungle, and down onto a road. I crossed the road, looked up to see a wire fence. [There were many wire fences where I lived, as a child, which we jumped all the time.] Infront of this fence was tall grass, swaying in the wind. The grass did not merely move forward through time, but also backward. I saw the movements of the grass, through time, backwards and forwards. I looked up, jumped the fence.

Immediately following, I was looking down. I saw a footprint. I instantly recognized the footprint as First’s. She was headed West. I looked up and saw the most beautiful thing I ever have – even to this day. I saw a moon-lit, white-sand desert, with the sand in vertical waves extending from me to the horizon, all sparsely populated with palm trees. The sky was a mess of black and dark-blue ribbons, filled with dark-yellow five-points stars, and moons, of various sizes. Then I woke.

At the time, I had no inclination of the dream’s meaning, nor desire to interpret it. But unable to forget it, and driven by it’s beauty to comprehend it, I much later perceived the dream’s resemblance to the desert runs – both in appearance of emotional effect. Then I recalled her footprint, which I’d mostly ignored. She was headed West. Given false directions, presumably relating to our interactions, she went the opposite direction of myself. Of course, I could be reading into all that, but I do recall being especially pissed at being given incorrect directions in the game – which causes me to remember an event.

That, still, is merely setup for the point of this post. I feel that, now, in my actual life, I’m starting a desert run. Recently accessing central mental processes, crucial to metacog, I’ve become calm. I suppose it’s a form of ennui. Finally blending all my metacog work toward a consistent and ever-present whole, able to subdue suicidal impulses and general depression, then motivate myself to activity, my surrounds are nevertheless bleak and lifeless.

I simply lack the company I desire above all things, and doubt I’ll ever find it. So, even with the ability to force myself to healthy activity and thought, I’m not especially interested. Still, it’s better than the crippling depression that’s kept me company this last year. And, as I slowly master my mind, I suspect I’ll become increasingly motivated. Still, the void will remain.

I focus on attempting to find love and friendship. I’m finding increased comfort in art, cooking and food, good memories, and activity. I’m not depressed anymore, I believe. But I don’t have what I need, and may never. Instead, I have the desert, with it’s predictable and ever-present dangers – now taking the form of people, whom I invariably upset unless feigning stupidity and insanity.

I’m finding motivation in the dream of writing; in creating a fictional and vast lore displaying the superiority of truth and maturity. Also In, perhaps throughout the course of my life, constructing philosophies that validate my perspectives. Hopefully, either activity will draw the love of my life. Or, I’ll get fed up, and accept that this life is not for me. But, for now, I seem capable of walking the desert, and finding a slow peace in the activity, through metacog.


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~ by Louis Naughtic on June 19, 2017.

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