What is this I’m getting into? What types of questions do I need to ask? What do I need to pay attention to? Should I even ask questions? Does this experience have to be critical?
I’ve come to grips with this game’s world and the fact that what I want to climb upon might not be climbable and what I want to accomplish may take creativity and exploration beyond my expectations. It’s a zombie game so the element of worldliness and the overall ambience is part of the experience. So why do I feel drawn to master the game mechanics and the realms of the constraints of being in this world? Perhaps that’s the truth of being a survivor. Perhaps at the edge of each layer of threats there is the constant urge to rebel through dominion.
I am playing a game about the absence of light in the light now. Only for a short spell. To help out a few people.
I have posted online about this experience with fellow infected-bashers. Zombie-destroyers, and they have come to me as community members with tips and tricks. No spoilers, just advice on what to keep an eye out for. Paying attention is apparently a big skills in this game. I wonder if paying attention in this game could impact my greater life. How do I go out and explore the world? What do I see and fail to see?
It’s been some time. What do I fear about the night? Both within and without the box, behind and in front of the screen? Does it detract? Does building, construction, addition, does it bludgeon and bloody a rather crisp and whole, patched together experience? At the same time, there is the inevitable: the actual gameplay experience. I seek out the screams like I am fishing with my hand for worms.
Feeling my heart race at the sight of being lunged at by hundreds of screaming, bloody monsters . . . nightmares they call them. That’s part of the experience, right? Of course I outran them, of course I didn’t perish, but what if I had? How would that have transformed my experience? And my heart raced and beat and I put my finger up to my neck and could feel what fear feels like, physically.
Today I cast my eyes against the sky and breathed in. It was a beautiful sight, smoke rising in the distance, the gurgling sounds of the infected all around me. But it was more than that. It was more than just the pristine isolated quality. There was so much contrast in that bubble of violence and travel. Task taking. Traversing. A degree of fun. Have fun, they say. Have fun with this. And so I do. And I enjoy it. It, the experience of the play, is getting easier. I have adapted and understood and so it is normal for me. I am trying to remember childhood games, and learning how to adapt into the experience of a childhood game, but alas, I cannot remember such. Hm. It is strange, isn’t it? I think that the adaptation is so fast then, and there. I think that it’s a significant sway of experience, a jump and a dive, where there is nothing but immediacy. There is no expectation so there is no anxiety. I am now mostly beyond anxiety now, in this realm. Though it is still scary when I do not know what is behind me. I think this feeling is normal.
The light is painful for me these days and I’m not entirely sure why. Is it physiological? How do the infected/zombies of the other world come into contact with these disruptions, distractions, failures and faults? I sit and wonder who I will be able to help and why, despite my own inability to help myself.
It has been some time. I have had mild cravings. I have had a subtle inquisition. I have thought about the taste of bitter and heat on my tongue. I have thought about infections. In stillness I think: don’t enter at night. But what is at night? Where does my heart race to?
That we can be filled with micro-aggressions and gestures of the wielded and swung melee heart. Our cores filled with exertions and insights. Brutality. Yet there is so much reservation, so much lack of challenge. So many who sit staring at the grit waiting for the opportunity . . . that might not come. I wonder about those temporarily rendered, drawn, created beings and how they have the moment of appearance matched with a moment of disappearance too. So much negative space. That white space. That gap in the page. What is special then? Why does the player get such autonomy?
The closer I get to these things the more I get terrified that I won’t be able to master them.
It’s been a week. There are other darknesses that rage, rage in their own quiver. In their own flutter. In their own vibration, sense of vibration. Let’s see what the new darkness has in store: will it be as old?
Where have I been all this time? Developing context? Developing comfort? Somehow creating a layer of dead flesh or a layer of dead mind to combat the light that grows and fades? Somehow it seems like it gets easier. Throwing on headphones, Sennheiser, doesn’t impact anything. We’re all together now. In this one, acclimated space. And I will still obliterate the flesh, pound it in, encourage my health as it discourages your disease, your infection, your too late.
What will stop be from committing these acts? Who will stop be? Or am I deserved to continue? Who really answers and supports these questions, these difficulties, these conversations? I think of the light as bringing as many answers as it does questions. I think of the end of day as perhaps providing the greatest revelations imaginable, where that which is haunts actually provides solace, stability, in its horror.
Maybe there is always a side of us that will be afraid, that will never get numb, never get buffered by experience and expectation. Maybe there is always something, deep within the cracks of our awareness, our perception, that can get exploited by fear, by the nature of itself, the nature of unknowing and its being uncontrollable.
My goal is to survive day as I do night. To be dadaist amongst the infected.
And yet there’s something human about all this. Something that cannot accept the “anti.”
I’m interested in smoke patterns. The graphics of smoke as perception of light here.
How many does it take? How many must I drop, must fall away?
Greg Bem is a contributing writer for Queen Mob's, and a regular gamer. Follow him on Twitter and keep an eye out for future log posts.