I’m beginning to feel like my videogame life is more significant than my actual life. I spend my day in my flat, dealing with other people via emails and conference calls. As varied as I try to make things, the days drift past, with little to tell between them.
A few days ago, at the end of the day’s work, I did a mission on Death Stranding, climbing a mountain to deliver some heavy packages. Snow swept in, the wind catching against the pile of crates on my back. It became harder to see, and I could no longer navigate by sight, finding it hard to be sure even how steep the slope was. I pressed on, measuring the distance on the map, hoping I could hold out long enough to reach my destination.
After the drop-off, I connected the parcel’s recipient to the ‘chiral network’. Death Stranding is all about connection. Once I did this, I could see facilities built in the area by other players. Death Stranding isn’t a multiplayer game, not really, but you can feel the encouragement of the other players, and use their facilities. There is a sense of community there, but a strange one.
Death Stranding is not perfect. There are too many distractions from delivering parcels, too many times that you have to fight. I’ve resorted to doing the battle sequences in ‘very easy’ mode as I cannot be bothered. For me, the joy of the game is building infrastructure, whizzing over difficult terrain on zip lines. The joy is connecting people, and travelling new routes through the landscape.
In bed that night, my brain settled down towards sleep. I’d done some work, I’d done some writing, but it felt like the most profound thing I had done was I delivering that parcel to the mountaintop. My life as a porter in an imaginary would feels more satisfying than the real one. This pandemic is going on too long.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list