My entire life has been consumed with two games over the past few weeks. Children of Morta and, oddly enough, Minecraft. But we're gonna talk about the former right now.
I remember going to my Uncle's house when I was 8 and getting to experience Diablo II for the first time. It was surreal. I'd played an alarming amount of Diablo I at that time, of course mainly utilizing the Sorcerer because I'm unable to not use magic in any game that offers me the option. To those of you that choose warriors and rogues in cooperative games? I salute you. Truly. You allow me to be the mess that I am in those games, and I thank you. I don't know how you get pleasure out of that kind of vanilla experience, but I appreciate you.
Playing Diablo II immediately felt like the exact game I had always wanted. The expansive-yet-not-overwhelming skill tree, the loot that felt both plentiful and meaningful, the dark atmosphere and, of course, one of my first video game crushes, Charsi. Not only did it feel like the game I wanted in that moment, it continued to feel like that. I played Diablo II for the next... 15 or so years? On and off, but still moreso than any other game (topped now only by Rimworld) and without ever boring me.
Children of Morta feels very different, but the feeling it gives me is incredibly similar. I knew the game was special when I watched its trailer what feels like 40 years ago. And I bookmarked it, put it on my watchlist, and kept checking up on it until it finally came out. And here we are!
You start the game out with John, and I have to say as much as I hate warrior builds, I don't actually hate being him at all.
Look at my beautiful flower-power shield boy and the giant pretty leaf rock next to him. Perfect selfie spot.
I mostly like being him due to the thorns ability he has, which, I'd say driving people away with an off-putting aura is a mood, but it's more like a lifestyle. Besides, I'm a sucker for any kind of thorns ability in a game (I once accidentally glitched out a level 1 paladin in Diablo II and had an infinite thorns ability that would kill everything that came within a few feet of me, much like Timmy Turner's mom.)
A lot of what I do with him involves holding my shield up and waiting for everything to die, and honestly? I'm at peace with that.
The lore in the game is one of its strongest, most engaging qualities. The broken up bits of story that you get after dying in a cave almost makes me want to lose. Which is fantastic because that, surprisingly enough, is usually my least favorite part of a video game. Weird, I know.
I just wrote a second blog post in one day (today for me, yesterday for you) and immediately published it after re-reading it and deciding that it was hilarious. And then my blog ate the blog post. Just straight up didn't post it and deleted all traces of it. Which is absolutely a lesson in self-control for me.
UPDATE: I did some googling and it turns out it didn't get eaten. The problem was that it posted from the past, so it posted on January 25th 2017 by accident. Instead of today. When I wrote it. Typical blogger problems. Still, I'm going to be more careful in the future now that I know that my blog is a temporal wormhole that can suck words and thoughts from the now into the then. For instance if I were to accidentally speak into the wormhole that is my blog that they should never do a Black Mirror episode about fucking inside a video game, I might end up changing the course of our future irrevocably.
Today was a solid day. Lunch with Yeliz (whom I have now fully reconnected since publishing "Before Color") and then dinner with Luis. All of the while under the threat of having a deadline at midnight tonight for my next texties short story, which I then found out I had the wrong deadline for this entire goddamn time and is actually due in 4 days. Which is both terrible and great. Terrible because I caused myself hours of unnecessary anxiety today, but great because I forced myself to write thousands upon thousands of words today and can now finish the story extremely early rather than just in time. I should mix up my deadlines more often.
I also just came out of the bathroom and while I was in there I encountered a mosquito so big that it may have actually been a small hummingbird. Regardless, my bathroom is now quarantined and no one is allowed in it ever again unless they're willing to donate their blood to the demon that guards my toothbrush now. The size of the mosquito also vaguely reminded me of some distant memory I have of a movie/tv show where someone goes back in time and kills a mosquito, and it completely changes the course of history as we know it. I don't know what it's from, which leads me to believe that it's from the Simpsons. Because while I fully know that I watched about 6 seasons of that show, the only episode I vividly remember is the one where Homer accidentally joins a company that is an evil spy organization with GREAT benefits. Honestly, the work/life balance would've made me stay.
Also, because I posted my last post a day in the future, I now cannot get this post to appear BEFORE that one. And so I have no choice but to also post this one in the future as well. Which means that even without killing the giant Simpsons mosquito in my bathroom, I've completely fucked up this timeline beyond repair. And I must now always exist a day before all of you. Which is fine, because it means I have the power to warn you about bad memes before they drop. Speaking of? You don't want to encounter Soap Cat. Trust me.
Today I woke up in a chilly Hell's Kitchen apartment, drank hazelnut coffee while wrapped in a faux-fur blanket, then wrote the skeleton of a personal essay that I've been meaning to write for years. I woke up too late to see the orange of the sunrise. When I looked out the window the blur of pink and purple in the sky had been gone for hours. The apartment is mine. The window is mine. The coffee is mine. The writing is mine. The life is mine.
Except it doesn't feel like it. It all feels false. And I don't know if that's normal, and I don't know if not knowing if it feels normal is normal. Is a feeling like you stepped into the wrong version of yourself cliche? And if that's the case, should I corner myself into feeling content? Should I chastise myself for not being thankful for something I fought for that I no longer want?
Today I sat inside all day and tried to write four different blog posts. I started them. I stopped them. I wrote in different colors. I wrote in pink hoping that I would fall in love with my words. I wrote in orange hoping that I would learn to be funny in the brightness. That I would feel happy.
I didn't. I felt frustrated and I felt, as I always have, that orange is not meant for people like me. I'm meant to live in green and blue. And sometimes I'll lie beside someone so convincingly pink. A rich purple, even a daring red. But when they look at me they won't see my bright blues. They won't see the streams of green, finding life in every corner of the room. They'll look at me and they'll see a color I've never been. A color I'll never get to be. And I'll turn away from them, crying into their pillow without letting them know.
They'll think I'm orange until they don't think about me at all.
While sending around samples of my first collection of personal essays, and working on my second, I realized that I don't have a definitive master post of all the episodes from "Before Color." So that's this now. This is that. Enjoy!
(* - denotes my personal favorites.)
Everything in this recap is 2019 energy but especially the part about taking life advice from a giant fictional bug.
2019 has started off and this blog is returning to its roots of neither quantity nor quality. Only minimal but potent garbage allowed. I've done away with the daily writing prompts and daily tarot posts for now to focus more on my parody blogs, as they're the absolute most fun for me to write. So here's what you missed from this incredibly inconsistent week!
SUNDAY: "Daily Tarot Blog: Page of Cups; Recluse."
"You crouch down in the dark, dripping cave. You’ve run for too long and your legs don’t feel like they’re yours anymore. The beast is here, you can hear it snarling. You think hard about how you’re going to do this…"
"You stare out into the deep blue that surrounds you. Bubbles escape your mouth and you start to calculate where you go from here."
"It’s your first day of work at your new job. When you go inside, you find that you’re the only person in the office. Going further in, you notice that this isn’t an office at all, and you begin to worry that you’ve been set up."
"You are ready to begin. Four people stand before you awaiting the gifts that you must imbue. Each one specific and meant to help with their journey."
"The chains that hold him down begin to glow red hot and then, in an instant, they are gone. He blinks a few times before he sees them slithering across the ground towards the door. His exit. His freedom."
""The ceremony is about to begin. You and three others stand before the master, awaiting the gifts that they will imbue. Each one is specific and meant to help with your journey. Except… yours is… Wait, what? I’m sorry, one more time? How exactly is that supposed to help you? Goddamnit."
"White stripes line the floor, seeming to lead to a giant wooden door. As you walk closer to the door you hear breathing from the other side."
(Wow, no rest for the pentacles, huh? Three days of them in a row.)
At this point in my life, I aim to be caring and nurturing, particularly at work. Working my first job ever I had the crazy notion that I could move up the ladder with no experience, zero education, and absolutely no practical knowledge of the field at all. Looking back, I was naive. And the only reason I was actually able to do it was because I had a mentor that deeply believed in me. Now, having actually climbed a few positions, I find myself aiming to do the same for my employees.
It’s weird because I never thought I’d be a nurturing person. In high school when we had to do that thing where you care for an egg for a week I ended up losing mine and immediately came down with a mysterious illness, then had to stay home for a week or so until everyone forgot the project was happening, and probably also forgot that I’d ever attended the school to begin with. (I was absent a lot.)
I was bad at being a fake-pet owner as well. I could not figure out how to interact with my tamagotchi at all and then when I moved on to Neopets the four of my pets would be forced to share one crummy omelette from the giant omelette blob in that prehistoric world, otherwise they would go hungry. But it’s not my fault I was spending all our money on big rocks and bottled faeries. I had priorities.
I’d like to think that I’m way more nurturing now, even on a digital level. Though I’m slightly worried about the implications of that when the new Animal Crossing comes out, because last time I remember having anxiety every time I loaded up the game because I didn’t want Gladys to leave the village. I would log on just to convince her not to leave because she was my favorite. Had I not forgotten that my Wii existed I’m pretty sure we eventually would’ve seen the entirety of the Misery plot play out in that game, only with a bunch of animals walking around saying “STRETCH!”
I think I’ve done a damn good job of adapting to change lately, so thank you for noticing, mysterious force controlling these magical shiny cards. Especially considering I hate change. If you make me be someone other than Link in Super Smash Bros my brain might actually explode. If I can’t go boomerang, arrow, big blue bomb, big blue bomb, big blue bomb, big blue bomb, BIGGEST blue bomb into a kill then I don’t want to play.
I’ve had to move because of circumstances beyond my control too many times while living in the city. Once a year, essentially. I’m currently on my 6th apartment. And if you’ve read “Before Color” then you already know how I feel about moving. If you haven’t read it then first of all you’re a war criminal second of all the tl;dr is that it’s the worst experience for someone that has a major in depression and a minor in hoarding.
Moving that much means a lot of change. It means a new neighborhood, a new 24/7 bodega, new delivery spots, new train schedules, and new roommates. For some it would mean new friends too. But that hasn’t necessarily been the case for me, as when I’m living somewhere I tend to burrow into my room and board up all windows and doors Birdbox style, except instead of a blindfold I’ve focused my eyes on my Rimworld colony and refuse to look at anything else.
But in the midst of all the moving I’ve survived, I’ve grown, and I’ve adapted. And I’ve found little bits of who I want to be and who I will choose to be in the future in each of those new apartments. And that’s very valuable to me. Because everything is malleable, everyone can change, and the world is sand.
Ryan C. Robert is the writer of multiple comedy blogs, most of which are satirical and self-deprecating. He writes about his life in his personal essay series "Before Color," parodies cooking blogs in "Trish's Dishes" and posts writing prompts every single day.