It’s Saturday night. I’m with friends at a party, but I should be playing Dragon Quest.
Not that I’d rather be playing Dragon Quest, mind you. I’d much rather be out with my friends, at a silly house party with free booze and dozens of people in zany monster costumes; hence, why I’m doing that instead. But Dragon Quest looms over my head. What should have been a tidy, few-session runthrough of a straightforward, old-school RPG somehow morphed into a piecemeal, month-long slog. It’s the first “historically significant” game I’ve played that feels like a cave painting, a work enjoyable only as a first step toward things to come. Playing it bores me. Thinking about playing it bores me. I’ve progressed far enough that I can’t turn back or begin another game instead, but booting up my emulator always gives me pause. This cheery little adventure single-handedly wrecked whatever tentative schedule I had for this blog, and I’m still not in sight of the endgame. How long would it take me to muster up the patience, put on some appropriate epic background music, and just beat the damn thing? Two weeks? Three weeks? Would I be stuck for eternity in this mildly pleasurable feedback loop (appropriately called the “grind”), a lab rat constantly pressing the same single button for his ten experience points’ worth of dopamine?
Waiting in line for the bathroom, it hits me. Dragon Quest is homework, and I’m the unruly teen out with his friends avoiding it.