Anti-Virus, Week 5 Plus Video Game Talk

By Brian • 21 April 2020

You know what? Forget even doing the one news dump a day. I’m just not checking the news at all. I’m better off living in ignorance than being disappointed in people. Or, maybe I’ll just get all my news from NPR from now on, as it seems as boring and unsensationalized as possible. Is that true? I don’t know; I haven’t checked.

Another challenging week at home has come and gone. I felt far less unease than last week, and although I thought I was doing well, I apparently am not. I fear I am becoming a less and less efficient employee as I continue to work from home—no focus, slower output. I’m short-tempered again, irritable, and prone to angry outbursts. Yesterday, I got irritated at people honking their horns at each other to say hello at the intersection outside. Amanda said, “See? You need social interaction. You literally just got pissed at people saying hello to one another.” I didn’t even notice that this was going on, and now I am ashamed of my behavior.

Even without the focus on comics as a business, and despite an abandoned social calendar, I still find myself struggling with time and the lack thereof. While I continue to recognize my limits and work within my capacity, I think I was spoiled by a couple of weeks of finding an abundance of time for creative and recreational activities. Now, it’s back to normal, and I’m struggling with those typical limitations, again. How quickly and easily I forget my resolutions. It’s always all-or-nothing for me. If I have one or two days in which I don’t get to draw or play a certain game or do whatever is on my mind, I immediately jump into irrational, woe-is-me, “I never have time to do what I want” behavior. You know, like how a small child might behave. Also, not having time to do what I want is a garbage lie—I’m obviously cranking out this blog right now, and I finished a couple of drawings last week, as well. Speaking of drawings, here are some I did two weeks ago that I forgot to post in the previous blog.

Not only that, Amanda and I shockingly found ourselves with a couple of hours to spare at the end of the day a couple of times this week. We did play video games just a bit, but for the most part, we just sat in the living room and talked. It was nice! It’s not something we get to do very often, these days. I feel bad because when we have these moments together, I worry that we should engage in some fun activity, like a board game or puzzle or watching a movie or something. However, at the end of a busy day, mustering the energy and mental bandwidth to do anything other than sit and talk can be quite a feat. But, sitting and talking is good, too.

So, as you can see, I do get time. I just need to relax and take advantage of it when I get it, rather than blowing up because I didn’t get to play Ultima Online for a half an hour at the end of the day last Tuesday or whatever.

Speaking of Ultima Online, let’s talk about video games and how they’re fitting into this whole isolation thing.

Yep, I’m dipping my toes back into Ultima Online for the first time in a while. It’s an old MMO, going strong since 1997. My brother-in-law and I played it a lot from 1999-2001. In fact, I wrote a blog for its 20th anniversary and briefly shared a handful of our many, many adventures. However, as of 2018, a free-to-play option is available, so I thought I’d give that a shot. There are some tough limitations such as a very limited bank box, lack of ability to own a house or a boat, some resource-gathering restrictions, etc. But, I’m not big on item collection and was never that interested in owning a house, so free-to-play works for me, for now. I had to restart from scratch because I deleted my established characters when I originally left the game, but there has been something oddly comforting about building skills from the ground up. My character hopes to one day be the world’s greatest lumberjacking adventurer, but we’ll see how things pan out. My interest in Ultima Online runs extremely hot or cold, so I might play a disgusting amount for the next several weeks, or lose interest completely tomorrow and not come back for another five years. Hey, it’s a pandemic. Anything can happen!

In all honesty, other video games have not really held my interest since I finished Chasm. I’ve cycled through several, and I’ve had fun, but I haven’t stuck with anything for too long. I was playing Rogue Squadron II and X-Men Legends II on the Gamecube, and both of those started to catch on with me, but then our Gamecube began to show its age with a number of disc-reading errors, which was deeply discouraging. What now? Buy a new one, probably in similar condition? Find a way to rip my games and emulate them? Either way, a pain. Why can’t 18-year old, disc-based technology just work?

Anyway, I think the thing about video games is that, since I only have a fraction of the time I once had to play them, I have to stick to games that really sink their teeth into me. All those games I bought on a whim because they were on sale, or because they mildly interested me? I purged them. Or, if they’re digital, I put them in a folder called “Games I Probably Won’t Play,” because that is unfortunately true. I probably won’t play something I only bought because it was on sale for a dollar one time when I still have unplayed Mario games in my library, for example. I have to stick to the heavy hitters, the games that really capture my sense of imagination, adventure, and/or challenge. It’s a sad part of growing up and having too many hobbies. And yeah, I’ll probably miss something good, but much in the same way I can’t read every comic book or watch every movie, I can’t play every video game, either.

That’s all for now! Thanks for bearing with me through another downer of a post! Maybe I’ll have things sorted out by next week! Until then, hang in there!