- DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER: Nintendo
- RELEASE DATE: December 14th, 1991
- PLAYING ON: Nintendo Switch (via Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online)
Epiphanies are hard to come by these days.
So is free time, for that matter.
Lately I’ve been perseverating about playing games or writing about them instead of actually playing games or writing about them. Which, to be honest, really annoys me. I don’t know how I got caught in this vicious cycle, but I definitely know I want to get the hell out of it.
It took me a while, but I figured out the root of my issues. Namely, my expectations for what I think my writing should be can’t be met. I know every writer is hard on themselves, and that’ll always be the case. What I mean is that I spend too much time being meticulous and specific that I just eventually peter out and finish nothing. Then I stop playing games because I feel like I need to halt and gather my thoughts and finish my pieces before moving on, which means I’m neither completing my writing nor completing any games on my ever increasing backlog.
As they say in a lot of rehab programs, and I’m not even saying this facetiously, the first step to recovery is in accepting that you have a problem.
I want to play games, then write about them. So the next step is an obvious one – play games, then write about them. It sounds too simple to be true, but it is. I’ve been hung up on these old expectations that often hinge on this archaic mindset that’s been informed by literally decades of reading games magazines, websites and columns. Rather than being myself, I emulate what I’ve seen or experienced assuming that’s what everyone would want to read.
Come to find out, I’m my own harshest critic. If you don’t want to read you own stuff, why the fuck would anyone else?
I stumbled onto writing by pure accident. I enjoyed a class I took in college and was given some praise for my work, but it wasn’t until I tried entering a contest to win a trip to the Electronic Entertainment Expo that I kindled that love. I signed up on now defunct 1up.com, wrote what I’m sure was a pithy piece and found that I really enjoyed recounting my exploits in digital escapism. When the site shut down and my audience and online acquaintances scattered to the wind, I’ve come to realize I’ve tried to recapture that magic since. It’s in this thought that I realized that, although I can’t catch lightening in a bottle twice, I can still do the one thing that I have control of – writing.
Obtain Potion is a blog.
I kind of wince at the word; there’s this kitsch to it that firmly plants it as the moment in time it was conceived. Journal sounds more aurally pleasing, but it kind of pegs what I’m doing firmly. A blog sounds more malleable; an entity that does include writing, but can be whatever I make of it. I’ve dabbled in photography, which I want to do more of. Creative writing, shorter pieces, historical articles and so much more. Maybe I’ll get particularly froggy someday and do some audio or video. More to the point, I want my space to be a repository for things I find interesting and that, hopefully, other people will find interesting too.
I still have a place where I can write according to a rubric, the type of stuff I dreamed of writing for printed magazines but isn’t a feasible thing today. It’s fun and challenging and interesting…but I want to write whatever I want to as well. The joy of having my own blog is that I get to do that. I just needed to pull my head out of my own ass long enough to realize that.
Welcome to the new (old?) Obtain Potion, a peripatetic journal on the subject of video games.