Saturday, 18 May 2013

On What Truly Remains...

   I remember it was a night like every other. I was at home, waiting for that special other person to be done with her work, enjoying a series of matches on Halo 4 multiplayer, chatting with some friends. The mood was good, the games were going well and the thought that each passing second brought me closer to my beloved (we were fresh into the whole "lovebirds" vibe back in the day, and I am proud and happy to state, we still are) made the occasion all the merrier. I remember it was "Ragnarok" - one of the oldest maps in the game, known in older iterations as "Valhalla" - and I had left my Sniper's Perch for a more direct approach on the action. The tool I had acquired was none other than the revered Rocket Launcher and I was charging uphill, towards the center of the map, confident that the weapon would keep me safe enough. When I was about half-way to the top I heard a sound: The unmistakable humming of a Warthog, roaming about. I caught the trademark vehicle out of the corner of my eye, driver behind the wheel and a sole gunner manning the .50 cal. It was a moment of zen, I might say, one of these special instances in life when time slows to a crawl and everything fall in place at the edge of one's perception. I spun around, let out a sly breath and pulled the trigger. The rocket flew in the distance, reaching for the trajectory of the approaching 'Hog. After a few seconds I witnessed the blossoming of a flower quite common in titles revolving around people shooting at each other: One comprised of vibrant colors, reds, oranges and yellows. An explosion. The rocket had traveled out of the barrel, towards the horizon to meet a target that was still ways off their meeting point. But the shot was true, the split-second calculations correct and the result, in its simplicity and booming beauty, perfect. Now, the math required to pull off something like that is quite complex, but this is not a reference to the grandeur of the accomplishment. It's something quite different...
   It's about those moments, set in stone in one's mind. I believe it's a common occurrence, for people to keep mementos of specific occasions, of times they treasure. But why? What is the reason for keeping said pieces of our past in some form other than that of foggy thoughts? What moves us and what is the actual benefit?
   Throughout a person's life, one comes to experience various feelings, encounters and situations. We move through them, some time oblivious to the outcome, sometimes in total control. We keep and conserve those most dear and let go of the rest. These "keepsakes" come in many forms: A page in a book, describing some epic event in a tale. A movie scene, a tune whilst having a glass of wine, a simple kiss by someone we love. Just moments. They come, pass and then they are gone forever.

   You are probably wondering what the blasting of a Warthog in a Halo 4 match has to do with any of this. Maybe you've gotten wind of what I am trying to say already...
   We do things everyday in order to enrich and improve our lives. Every action stems from the need to achieve something and more often than not, the subliminal reason is the preservation of the moment itself. We are defined by our actions and our course... it marks who we are. It is the same thing with games of course. There are moments in there as well, in the countless sessions and endless hours when everything falls into place, when time slows to a crawl and you feel that you are in total control. And the feeling pays of, creating moments of magnificence, moments worth remembering... Memories. With each one added we have more to show for ourselves, we draw another line in our cave's stone-age drawing. We have more to cling on, to rejoice for.
   It is never about the fun itself. It's not about the magnitude of the achievement. It's about all the Memories. The people that are close when something happens and share that moment with us, the ones we describe them to and have a laugh whilst doing so. For in the end, we are little more than the sum of our experiences and of what we do with them. We are time made flesh, given shape... and enriching that time in any way possible - even by blowing up a Warthog in a generic Halo 4 match in some spectacular fashion - is a worthy endeavor.

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