Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Crusader Kings II, Replay 15 hours

What does it mean to like a game? Most of my time spent playing Crusader Kings II had been completely miserable.Dodging assassination attempts, scrambling for every scrap of power, manipulating elections. It's so stressful. I said it before and I'll say it again, there's no other game where I've dreaded to start back up again (which might explain why it's taken me so long to post this update).

And yet, gong purely by the metrics, Crusader Kings II has to be one of my favorite games. Only Civilization V has more playtime and when it comes to amount of money spent on DLC, there's not even a competition.

It baffles me how I can devote so much time, energy, and money to something that makes me so frequently unhappy. And yet I'm drawn to it, inexorably. I find the details of the politics fascinating, and I have a morbid curiosity about what I'll find if I keep playing. How high can I rise? Will I eventually fall? How will it happen?

I don't want to see, but I can't look away. I've already determined that if I don't get to 1453 by hour 20, then I'm going to stick it out. I'm at year 1225 already, which means that I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's likely another 15-20 hours, at least before I'm done, but this is probably the closest I'm ever going to get to the end.

I can feel myself starting to get obsessed. If I just keep going, it will, eventually all be over and I can breath a sigh of relief that I was able to shepherd a single family through twenty-plus generations. And I think it's the anticipation of that relief that drives me.

I mean, I'm interested in what's going on. And if I were reading an account of the game, second-hand, I'd find its twists and turns fascinating. But being in the thick of it, I can't help but take it personally. Whenever one of my relatives tries to usurp my throne, I feel betrayed. It's like, don't these people realize that it was my human intellect which elevated their ancestors to the nobility in the first place, and that thanks to my ingenuity and foresight, the kingdom of France has nowhere to go but up . . . provided they don't keep stabbing me in the back every chance they get. It's infuriating.

So, I don't know, I can never stay away from Crusader Kings II for long, but I'm beginning to suspect it's not good for me.

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