Sep 15, 2022

The soul of a gamer. Such a nebulous, mysterious thing... do gamers even have souls? Is a gamer's soul already corrupted beyond belief? Where can it be found? Well dear citizen, worry not, for I have found the answer.
The soul of a gamer... is in my dad.
"Your dad?!?" exclaims the hypothetical audience of the maybe 3 people that will ever read this
Yes, my dad. For you see, child, my dad is a gamer.

My dad used to play an MMORPG called Everquest II. That was his Activity for when he was off-work. My dad wasn't like the mom who only played the sims, like he wasn't neglectful or anything. But he usually worked late into the evening and then spent his few pitiful hours of leisure playing this MMO for 5 years or so.

I was roped into playing this game with him too, sometime in elementary school. Though my dad was usually working, so I do remember mostly playing it all by myself. It's this weird chunk of memory, the fact that I was an MMO gamer, but mostly treated it as single-player game with occasional cameos from my OP dad. My dad also got my cousin playing, and y'know, he joined guilds and actually took off, but I was happy to be a lonely toad just hopping around. Secret: I am ripe like a fruit.

Everquest II released two weeks before World of Warcraft, so it got completely overshadowed and I have never heard anyone talk about it much, but I remember having a good time with it. The world felt immersive and alive, you could put a backpack in a backpack in a backpack, you decorate your home, you could pick up little shinies and complete collections... I've never played another MMO, I tried a few, but eh.

I recently re-installed Everquest II again to explore the lands of my memory. The installer tried to add a Bing toolbar, which was a frightening first step. Also, the game seems to have atrophied with microtransations over the year. But the lands of the world are still intact, and exploring them again gave me some fleeting memories of youth. The music and sound effects also hit me deep, my gosh. I'll be listening to its OST for a while. Here's a few screencaps from my brief tour into the past:

I only withstood around 30 minutes due to the long loading times and the fact that somehow this ancient game was giving my computer problems. But surprisingly there were a few people talking in the chat! So not completely empty as I had thought it would be.

My dad always played as a female character and lied to all his MMO friends that he was a woman. Was my dad engaging in radical queer gender exploration??? No. My dad instead was merely a tactician, understanding that the other players would treat him better and give him more stuff if they thought he was a woman. My dad was like, mildly homophobic until I came out to him. Then he was basically like, "oh well I guess I was wrong oops" and immediately told me about a guy friend from his youth that was once apparently in love with him, and how he didn't know how to deal with it. He ended up giving that friend like, a phone call to talk about me and to apologize or something. What the hell dad. Honestly my pa has a real talent for suddenly dropping world-shattering truths about himself in casual conversation.

The gamer soul of my dad still flickers on, but it's nowhere near as bright and resplendent as it was in his youth (his 40s) when he played Everquest II. Now he's a mobile gamer. He loves games where you quote "get to conquer and destroy others", so I guess my dad's just out here having a normal one. (unrelated, but he once asked me if I liked to cultivate power over my friends, and was surprised when I said no. upon later reflection I realized I do this in LARPs all the time. upon later later reflection I realized a lot of my evil LARP characters were kind of like my dad).

My dad has told me the name of this game but it interests me so little that the name melts away from my mind instantly every time. He told me about his mobile game friends, and made me feel bad about how my old dad is somehow better than me at making online friends LMAO (lamenting my agony online). I mean, as long as he's having fun I guess. He's spent over a thousand dollars on micro transactions, though I think he's made some of it back through selling his account. Also there's something really chortle-bestowing about the fun fact that my dad once set an alarm to wake up at 2am so he'd get the chance to get a special dragon egg in his pay-to-win mobile game.

I feel like I should have some sort of thesis statement, but I suppose this was just a tangent adventure about my dad and Everquest II.