I carry my daughter into the world.
there is a field across the road in front of our home.
there is no unnatural obstruction between our living room and this space.
early fall. the summer forgetful, simmering near the ground.
my wife and I are uncertain. are
are the babies getting enough light? a few months old.
they live their lives inside and
I carry my daughter into the world. my wife carries the other.
the wind picks up. I point to the sun deep inside the sky.
I speak the name of everything. I know she doesn’t know.
I know she can’t see the clouds. the trees. the tall grass.
but maybe she feels warmth
maybe she understands my intent.
the wind flutters, stops. my wife wants us to go back inside
‘I think it’s too cold for the babies…’
I don’t want to. inside is work.
inside is screaming. feeding. bathing.
collapse. an endless loop devouring intent on the carpet
I am draining. distant.
I can’t write. play. think. love. rest. work.
my wife even more ragged, breaking up and down.
I don’t want to go back
inside I don’t remember myself
at all and
nothing prepares you for this nonsense
for this empty upending of the self:
what strange insects live in the damp silence of the soul?
impossible to know until you recreate and manifest.
at first, I keep things going. I have writing ideas. I buy games.
I play those games in twenty minute bursts twice a week.
it isn’t like it was. I can’t do this.
I give up.
who do you become when everything you love is frozen?
when memory is clearer than the present?
when you are removed from yourself?
when through new flesh you are reforged into raw, disgusting entropy?
when home is no longer sanctuary, but void
the parameters of your lived momentum change.
persistent readjustment in seeking the old, quiet love is necessary.
I don’t have time for Steam.
I don’t have space to process Final Fantasy XV.
I cannot hone Guilty Gear or VIDEOBALL or Tetris.
I reduce. simplify in a painful, lumbering daze
‘What’s left? What am I chasing?’
I need intimacy. depth. beauty.
my veins are dry. bones cracked.
I turn back: GBA. iPhone.
The Pinball of the Dead. Dandy Dungeon.
I alternate between them. they fulfill each other.
they are equal in skill and chance.
TPotD reimagines The House of the Dead as a series of virtual pinball tables.
the animation is fluid. the colors are dense.
the GBA helps it breathe. the screen is bright, but not washed out.
it’s the greasy arcade machine in the back of a 7-Eleven at sunset.
Dandy Dungeon is a dungeon crawling RPG love story created by Yoshiro Kimura.
Dandy Dungeon pulls my heart back into my mouth.
I can taste its closeness.
the splash screen: the hero, Yamada, dancing drunk in front of his apartment at night with his friend.
most of the game takes place in Yamada’s apartment.
I watch him sit alone, typing on his computer in front of the window.
I imagine the solitude of that life.
I miss the ability to focus on one act for hours.
I envy Yamada in his big underwear.
the core game takes place inside his game.
the player chooses a dungeon to work through. to clear all floors.
Each dungeon has different treasure. Each floor is cleared by drawing a line from the start to the ‘Goal’ door.
the player is only allowed to carry a few items.
special dungeons are shared via social media.
the music is infectious.
the environments are warm.
the writing is lighthearted and kind.
Dandy Dungeon is the first mobile game I’ve fallen in love with.
it feels what I used to feel
before children. marriage. debt.
summer nights with the window open, listening to distant trains and trees and crickets alone with nothing but my laptop on.
it is compelling in the same way a daydream is
full and loving and incoherent:
the type of father I’d like to be someday.