Regrettable Gaming: Dragon Age and my Inner-Child

For the past week or so I’ve been struggling with the notion of buying Dragon Age: Origins in preparation for Dragon Age 2. You see, I already played and finished Origins on the PS3, but I’m getting Dragon Age 2 on the 360. This means that I will have no save to transfer from DA:O to DA2.

Unacceptable.

I also realize that this means putting down $50 for the “Ultimate Collection.” $50 for a game I already own?

Also unacceptable.

BioWare knows how to get me.

I spent the better part of an afternoon rationalizing all the pros and cons of buying the game or not. I never played the DLC included in the “Ultimate Collection,” so technically $20 of the price is going to new stuff. I also really want to replay the game, or more accurately, I want to play a western RPG set in a gritty “low” fantasy world — an itch that will be scratched in a few weeks by Dragon Age 2, regardless of my decision.

I know that importing a save won’t have any major impact on the events or characters of Dragon Age 2; the developers have stated that an imported save mostly fills in back story. … But it’s my back story, and I want it to turn out my way, regardless of how trivial it may be.

Also, (and let’s face it, this was the real issue), I had just missed out on a promising and exciting job interview, due to forces beyond my control. I wasn’t blind to the fact that, really, I wanted to buy this game to make myself feel better, because there are pretty much only three ways that I deal with disappointment or depression: drinking, smoking and buying shit I don’t need.

The solution to all of life's dilemmas

As the “Cons” column was filled out by my mind’s desperate pleas to reason, and the “Pros” became characterized by flawed rationalizations and petty desires, nothing really changed. I didn’t re-buy Dragon Age, but boy, I still really wanted to. By the time I worked up the nerve to just go buy it, the time had passed; it was getting late, I had other plans for the night, and I knew there was no point. I decided to sleep on it.

I woke up still wanting it.

I took my morning constitutional, as I do every morning, to the sounds of my favorite comedy podcasts. I listen to comedy podcasts when I exercise because, I find, laughing is a good way to start the day. Also, they distract me from the thought that I’m actually exercising — an otherwise miserable way to start the day. Specifically, WTF with Marc Maron has become a form of therapy for me. I find that Maron and I share a lot of the same neuroses, but because he’s had more experience wrestling them, he’s able to articulate them in ways I can’t.

So imagine my surprise when he and guest Paul F. Tompkins briefly discussed this very same issue: buying things you don’t need as remedy for depression. Boy, was that ever a coincidence to shake my spiritual nihilism (if only slightly).

Am I possessed by a Desire Demon?

Specifically, they discussed the process of learning to be your own parent to your inner child, to tell yourself “no” when you know better.

My inner-child got pushed in the mud, and wanted arbitrary material gain to make up for it. Even though I’m still shelling out my own money, I wanted the Universe to pay the debt it owed me for fucking up that interview. I am owed compensation because things didn’t go my way!

The real-life, adult me was saying, “No! No, you can’t have this game! No, you can’t always have your way! No, the world does not revolve around you!”

My inner-child was responding, “Fuck you! I can do what I want!”

*sigh*

So I just bought Dragon Age again — the $50 “Ultimate Collection” for the 360. But at least now I can characterize the particular kind of self destruction in which I’m engaging. And that, my friends, is a little thing I like to call … growth.

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