I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel a fair amount lately. Most recently it was to Boston for PAX East; pretty soon it will be to the UK for my honeymoon. I don’t mind flying, really. I’d rather travel by plane than take a long trip in a car.
Used to be that I’d sit in the backseat with my GameBoy Color and basically have free reign to game until we arrived at our destination. Not so as an adult; if I’m not driving for a road trip, I’m resting up until I have to take a turn driving for the road trip. If I’m going to travel and get any significant play time, flight is the way to go.
Not sure if I can pinpoint it but something about being locked into a giant metal can with no place else to go, the wind screaming past the windows and the sickly feeling of breathing other people’s air for hours... makes having some distractions welcome.
I mentioned a few days ago how I’d rather go all into a game rather than play a bit here and there; being on a plane gives me a platform to do that. The first Danganronpa was largely played on the way back from New Jersey; Darkest Dungeon, same deal, different state. On the way to Boston, I played through probably the first five or six worlds of Super Mario 3D Land and had a blast. Coming back to LA I started playing past the eighth world and that was a way more difficult experience.
There’s definitely a strange solitary aspect to being surrounded by dozens of other people and locking yourself into a virtual world. It’s isolating but not necessarily negative; it’s the same as pulling out a thick novel. In my experience it’s less likely that the person next to you will ask “what are you playing?” but will almost certainly ask “what are you reading?”; I’m sure the headphones have something to do with it.
I’ll always remember playing Hotline Miami 2 on a late-night flight. I was wearing my “good” headphones which had decent outside noise reduction qualities but were a little tight on my (maybe large?) ears. The soundtrack for that game is incredible if you’re into synthwave and I had it blasting pretty loud; there was a moment where I took a break to recharge my Vita or use the bathroom or something and took the headphones off. I almost had aural whiplash from how quiet the rest of the plane was versus the mayhem that I had been experiencing up until then.
I feel lucky with the amount of focus I’m able to tap into when I travel. I’m able to do some pretty solid writing when I don’t have anywhere else to turn to but my journal and traveling is also when I tend to read those books that are “on my list” but for some reason I never actually read. It’s the same with games.
It might have something to do with getting past slow openings; I’m more tolerant of a game with a slow start (Danganronpa, Persona 3) when I know I can’t go anywhere else. Instead of thinking “oh my god, the beginning of this game is so damn boring”, I’m grateful that I can lock in and get through the slow stuff now.
As far as the honeymoon goes, I’m torn. It’s a ten hour flight at least, so I’ll definitely have the time to get invested in something. Final Fantasy Tactics might just be the thing, or maybe I’ll finally finish Undertale. I’m fortunate enough to have some options.