Playing to Win (At Life)

I am known among some circles as The Guy Who Is Good At Street Fighter and/or Starcraft 2. (These are invariably the circles that don’t play much of either. When I hang out with my friends that do play either one, I’m usually The Guy Who Isn’t Very Good.)

“It’s so competitive when you play against another person.”

“It’s too hard.”

“You have to practice so much.”

“There are just so many good players out there.”

I hear these things a lot. The person I am talking to–let’s call him Johnny Doughnuts–is making an excuse, even if he doesn’t realize it, for why he isn’t as good at Starcraft 2 as I am. Why he chooses to spend his time doing something else. And really, I don’t care. Some people want to get good at Starcraft 2, others want to get good at skiing or whatever.

But I do find it interesting that Johnny Doughnuts describes Starcraft 2 as an anomaly. As though it is practically the only thing challenging–in life, in video games, whatever.

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Tales of Tales

One day, I mentioned to Brandon that I had done an interview about the Tales series and that I hoped to run it on Insert Credit.

He told me to go ahead — but conversation quickly turned to why I like the Tales series so much, when he’d never been able to get into it. We started to talk about it, but we both quickly realized I should write about it instead.

The in-your-face anime aesthetic of the series is what turned him off. This is comprehensible. It advertises what the series is about; it’s a stake firmly planted, and depending on where you’re at, it just as much says “not for me!” as it says “come on in!” to the people who like it.

I’ll start where I started: I like the series because of what it’s not. This all began for me in 1998, when I’d got fed up with the tedious, self-important Xenogears and, on a lark, followed it up with Tales of Destiny. I found it to be everything Xenogears wasn’t: cheerful, dopey, energetic, unassuming, entertaining, fun.

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