After reading Marco’s post (or is it Marcos?) about life being an RPG, I was reminded of a journal entry that I wrote last year about the same topic. It was March 4th, 2011, right after I arrived in Belgium for the first time. I thought I’d share the entry here as I found it quite an interesting analogy myself 😉
Life is somewhat like an RPG. To progress in the game, there’s always an event to be triggered. Without the event, you can be loitering around in the game forever. During this time of loitering, you can, however, do side quests to gain wealth or experience, talk to other characters to get information, rest, and so forth. The point is, until you go and personally trigger the next main event, you’re basically free to roam.
The first RPG I ever played was 仙劍奇俠傳, known as The Legend of Sword and Fairy or Chinese Paladin in English. This is from the original Windows 95 classic version. Since then many sequels have been released but I haven’t gotten the chance to play them nor plan to. The original forever remains the legend of Chinese RPGs in my heart.
So then life is sometimes like that. You got a task to do, but you don’t have to do it right now. You can bum around until you eventually absolutely have to get to the task, and then life goes on. I guess one thing about RPGs is that there is rarely a REAL time limit, and you never really absolutely have to finish a task by a specific “time”. You can neglect the main storyline for days (in real life or in the virtual timeline) or even not touch the game for weeks and just come back to the savepoint to continue your story. Life isn’t quite the same. Stuff needs to get done, or else it’s pretty much game over for you.
Not only does Chrono Trigger (I played it on the DS) have an intriguing storyline, it also has thorough character development and one of the best video game soundtracks ever. In fact, my earliest encounter with this great game was through listening to covers of songs from the game, falling in love with them over and over. Chrono Trigger is definitely one of those timeless, unforgotten classics that will live on in video game history.
I don’t remember exactly how this sudden epiphany came about, but it certainly just popped into my head this morning. I suppose it was when one of my supervisors asked me to look for another student to aid me in the registration process, so mentally, I have a note on my game screen saying “Next step: find person”. Of course, I didn’t have to do it right away, but in order to continue on, I’ll have to get to it. I did delay it for a bit, actually, but eventually I did find the person, and the registration is currently in process.
Another Chinese RPG that I enjoyed is the 幻想三國志, or Fantasia Sango series. I’ve played three out of the four games that were released, not having had time to finish the fourth.
And the thing is, completing a task is never as easy as it seemed in an RPG. Registration sounds easy enough, but it involves setting up an account and password which has to go through the supervisor once again. What do you mean I have to go find resources? What do you mean I have to do real networking? What do you mean I need to DO REAL STUFF?
I played The World Ends With You a couple of years ago and while it took awhile to understand and learn how to play the game, it turned out to be one of the most dynamic RPGs I’ve ever played. From clothing to food to battling to “mingling”, it really IS sort of like real life!
The final conclusion is that life IS an RPG in which you play the role of yourself. If you fail a task, you don’t get to go back to the savepoint and you don’t get a second chance to repeat the same thing. Rather, you move on with the next event. There is also only one possible storyline. Well, theoretically the decisions you make would affect the outcome of the storyline, but you’ll never know what would have happened if you decided differently. There is no pause, no HP revival, no resting whenever you want, no finding random treasures in the shelves. And the game lasts your entire life. What a game, huh.