My little brother, Erick, had a white Xbox 360 that he never let me play. Funny, right, that power dynamic? Not often does the younger brother keep fun and games and exciting possessions from the older sibling. Still, that seemed to be the case between Erick and I. His room was always full of thrilling, interesting goods. And mine? Books, a few stray photos, and a box of speech medals. Nothing nearly as exciting as a stereo, cigarettes, and a snowboard.
But when I purchased a game for the system--Namco's Eternal Sonata--I was granted permission to play the game as long as Erick was not in need of his space or didn't want to play games of his own. They were rare moments, but they existed. And, eventually, I made it through the game, some 40 odd hours later.
And though I'm not sure how it happened, I believe that's when I fell in love with the Xbox 360. Which, I suppose, is to be expected. That's how love works, after all: creeps up on you like a thief, steals bits and pieces of your valuable heart, and, suddenly, you realize you've been losing yourself all along.
For whatever reason, it tends to catch people off-guard that I play video games. There's always this strange sense of shock, of uncertainty. That they must have misheard me, that something doesn't fit. And, sure, it's not something that I am entirely forthcoming about, but it's not entirely surprising, is it, that a lonely adolescent would be so fascinated with the connection, with the otherworldliness of a video game? That a safe space in the emptiness between the physical and fantasy worlds would sound so appealing to a young child and equally so to a working young professional?
Two years after finishing my first game on the Xbox 360, I purchased one of my own, a slim black model with 250GB of memory. If there was something I wanted installed, I'd have the space. And there was plenty to be installed: 62 completed games, over 5,000 hours logged, 21,000 points of Gamerscore. Plenty of video game time over the last six years, I would say. (And that's just on this system!)
So it's been fairly strange, as of late, to be experiencing these feelings of moving-on-ness. A readiness to move on from my 360, to move on from a piece of hardware that I've spent so much time interacting with, so much time enjoying. Do those 300 hours of Skyrim mean nothing? Do you just say goodbye to the days-worth of time you've spent wandering the terrifying world of Dark Souls? Will you ever miss the hair body suit of Bayonetta or the sensation of reaching disc four of Lost Odyssey for the third time?
Do you fall out of love? Does the thief somehow return every precious moment they've snatched away? How do you even know it was love in the first place?
Gathering dust in our living room, opening every so often for a DVD or a quick bout of The Impossible Game, a system that I loved so dearly for so long has lost its appeal, quietly replaced by more utilized Playstation 3 in the confines of my room.
The right thing, it seems, would be to sell away the system, hand it off to someone who would enjoy and appreciate more than I can, more than I will. And though I understand that selling it benefits me too, the selfish, ugly parts of my being cling to its presence like this hardware is the only thing holding me together. It's a lot of strife over a video game, isn't it? A lot of stress for something so seemingly insignificant.
But that's the other thing about love: it conflates, confuses, catastrophizes. And something that sounds so petty on paper can be unbearable in experience.
Perhaps, I am making to large of a deal? Regardless of whether I opt to sell or choose to keep, I'll be happy for the time being. Maybe the temporary contentment will be a necessary step back from the situation, a needed measure to see with unclouded thoughts.
Saying goodbye to something that has brought you so much joy is never an easy task.
And what if you make the wrong choice?