I often have trouble coming up with things to say in this post. This may sound like a flat-out lie, given how often I’ve done it, or it may sound like me being falsely modest. And if this were my high school self writing this, both of those would be true. I made a conscious decision throughout college to speak less and listen more, and it is one of my daily struggles. One of the results of trying to practice this behavior, at least in my sample set of one, is you start considering your words with more care, and start placing less value on the importance of every thought that comes in your head.
I’m not sure this is a bad thing. I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that its hard to have anything truly meaningful to say before your late 20s, as I survey the careers of minds I admire. Choosing your words with care, and making sure that what you want to say is worth saying before you say it, sounds like good life advice to me. Its a hard lesson to internalize, though, and as I said I’m struggling.
One place I think it is worthwhile to expand on my thoughts is when I am surprised out of my prejudices, and this ties back into our regular Tuesday feature of Philip Plays Video Games. I’m going to come out and say it: I have often been prejudiced against furries. Its a culture I don’t really understand, and I tend to not associate with it. I will even admit to having made fun of them on occasion, a capital crime for one who was himself bullied and belittled at school. As I am slowly forcing myself out of this mindset, my prejudice almost kept me away from playing Dust: An Elysian Tale. Not playing this game because of prejudice would have been a huge mistake.
I played a good chunk of the game this past weekend, because it was recommended a while back by a games journalist I trust. Dust is an action fantasy RPG with anthropomorphized animals that wold look right at home at a furry convention, and the game apologizes for none of the above. It refuses to take its gameplay seriously, which is remarkable given how great the combat system feels. Dust balances some of its whimsy by taking its main story thread very seriously, and often making you question your actions as a player and your character’s place in the world. This is one of those rare but fascinating cases where the cartoony fourth-wall-breaking treatment of the mechanics just serves to drive home the story’s points about violence and xenophobia. I am excited to play through the rest, and if you get a chance to play it, you should.