Friday, May 28, 2010

An Exercise in Letting Go and Impermanence, courtesy of the Sony Corporation

A few weeks back we had the unthinkable happen in this household - our Playstation 3 died after 30 minutes of playing and refused to let us play any longer even after cleaning it out, reseating a few things and running a fan test. We faced up to the fact that we'd bought it 3 years ago and used the heck out of it. Poor Stewie, as we lovingly called him, had Alzheimer's and he wasn't coming back from it.
We discovered that we could send Stewie in and receive a newer refurbished one for about $100, so we opted to do that. Since most of him worked, just not the fan, his parts could be recycled in to other machines so there was less waste going out in to the world.
We went to great trouble to back Stewie up and copy the files over, and seeing that it showed they were successfully saved, we confidently sent Stewie off in his cardboard coffin, thanking him for 4 long years of service to us.
A week later, we got back a PS3 Slim which doesn't have nearly the charisma of our old PS3, and we dubbed him some ridiculous thing like StewTwo, Or Stewvee2 or... I don't rightly remember. We aren't attached to this one, so its given name (for we name our media appliances in this house) just never stuck.
We did our backup and moved the saved information on to the new device, excitedly expecting to launch back in to God of War III, Heavy Rain, Final Fantasy XIII... all the games we had going right now and that we were planning on getting in the future. Then, excitedly, we signed in....and discovered that 4 years of gaming had been lost.
Every song on Guitar Hero and Rock Band, gone. Every goofy moment in LittleBigPlanet that Bob and I had playing it together - obliterated. The story line we so lovingly uncovered from Shadow of the Colossus? No more.
I will admit that in that moment, realizing my beloved Noby-Noby boy was ripped from my hands, I was upset. My entire progress playing Kuon, a game that scares the sh*t out of me, is gone and I have to start over from scratch. It's a Japanese horror game. It doesn't matter that I know when the spooky things show up, up until a point. JAPANESE HORROR FREAKS ME THE F*** OUT. And I was seriously invested in the story line, so now I gotta drag myself through that again.
I spent the better part of a morning thinking about how we'd put all that time in to the games, and how it was gone now, like that, without a way to get it back. If we wanted to have Dante's Inferno progress back, we'd have to play through it, same as with everything else. (I may actually be the one to play through this time, though.)
Basically these things were impermanent, and I let their loss kick me in the stomach repeatedly until I was sick over them. Like the realization of how much time I'd lost with friends and family sinking hours into my troll mage in World of Warcraft. When it's all gone, there is nothing to show for it.
It's literally no different than life. Instead of a hard drive being wiped, though, it's the human being. Everything you've done or said or thought just blips out of existence.
In the end Bob was the savior of the moment, reminding me that we could always replay Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Little Big Planet. The other games, if we REALLY wanted to, could be played again. We hadn't gotten rid of any of them, they were all still around. Noby Noby boy could be re-downloaded. But in the end it was pixels, electrons, nothing but time spent and lost. We still had the memories of the games.
I eventually calmed down from all of this and accepted that it had happened. After all, it was a waste of energy to be angry over something that had already happened and that couldn't be changed. I like the idea of replaying the old games and experiencing their fun, especially since we can't get a bunch of new ones right now. In the end it's another practical application on "things" and how having and losing them causes distress. I fell right in to it, and am embarassed to say that it happened. But in the future I will definitely have this to look back on and learn from. When I start to feel the same, I'll recognize the hooks this time (hopefully) and catch myself. I'll be able to short-circuit it and understand that all things come and go. Sometimes more so in the digital age when we are less based in the physical world to begin with.

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