September 19, 2011


I named this post after Bit.Trip. But don't worry! It's pretty relevant.

A lot of my posts on here are pretty depressing. That's not because I'm a sad person, but because I need somewhere to throw all of the sad thoughts so that I don't have to hold on to them and dwell on them. I'm actually a pretty happy person, and this will be a pretty happy post. But let me begin with the one thing I've been struggling with.

It's easier to not know what you want to do than to know and have it constantly called into question.

I've been questioning a lot of things recently. I'm not happy in my major, I don't like my job, and I know I want to make video games but I'm not really sure how to get there from here. It's hard to find the motivation to do much of anything when you can't really tell what direction you're headed. So that's been my struggle recently.

That being said, I've been pretty hopeful recently. Somewhere between playing Bit.Trip and spending more time thinking about things, I'm starting to see the adventure in all of this. Like I said, I'm a happy person. I'm always trying to be happy, even when everything is coming down on me. I think it's better to enjoy the journey than to wait for the catharsis. I'm such a curious person, I love discovery.. it's amazing what that can do if it's pointed in the right direction.

Back to Bit.Trip.. a series of 6 games about Commander Videos journey. The story here is so vague. The characters have names, but no words are spoken. I'd imagine most people wouldn't even feel the gravity of the story that is being told. See, the trick here is to combine the names of the levels with the tempo, mood, etc. of the beat used for that level. The first game's levels are Transition, Decent, and Growth. Each level has heavier beats and a slower and steadier tempo than the last. I think I first described Growth's music as "grinding". It feels like the beginning of a trial, sinking slowly into depression but starting to find meaning in it all. The second game features Discovery, Exploration, and Control. Curiosity kicks in, and things start to unfold like a flower in bloom. The final game in the series, Flux, takes Commander Video home from his journey with Epiphany, Perception, and Catharsis. Do you see what's happening here?

Intentionally or not (I'd like to believe it was), Gaijin Games created a series that captures every emotion experienced in the human journey. These games are incredible because the music works to evoke those feelings. You get to see the whole picture, and you reconsider a lot of things in your own life. It's devilishly hard, but the end is beautiful. Flux is absolutely gorgeous, and the name definitely hit home if you've seen some of the things I've written about transience in the past.

Okay, I just analyzed a video game and attempted to parallel it to my own life. Yes, that is weird. Inspiration comes from the strangest places. I've often compared the way I feel while playing Runner (The 4th game in the series) to the way I felt when I was in love, a comparison that often comes off as a joke but is actually completely serious. But that moment when I played Flux, that moment where I saw the end of the journey and the fulfillment of it all, I found the strength to keep moving forward. I hope that never goes away.

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