In order to distract myself from pain, cat death, Bee’s impending return to the US, and the world generally falling apart on a daily basis, I have spent most of this month obsessively playing games. Seriously, I’ve racked up like 76 hours on The Binding Of Isaac alone since I bought it, which was, uh… not actually very long ago. Plus Spelunky, which is more like a personal challenge to see how many times I can die in the space of one minute, but I’m sure I’ll get better at it… someday?
I actually kind of really like the aesthetics of Binding of Isaac, which is weird really, because miscarriage and child abuse are pretty much the biggest AH NO STOP LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU triggers I have, and this is a game which revolves entirely around the concept of a terrified child locked in a basement trying to escape his mother, and which has not one but, like, five dead-fetus items you can collect as power-ups. One of which is straight-up called ‘Rainbow Baby’ (which is a cutesy name for a baby conceived after miscarriage or infant loss, for those who haven’t spent as much time eyerolling at pregnancy and miscarriage forums as I have). But, idk. I think I actually find things that are like ‘la la la, pregnancy and birth are beautiful and universal and nothing ever goes wrong!’ more upsetting. That makes me feel like I’m fucked up and broken, whereas this kind of thing is just like occasional ‘wow, they went there’.
But, yeah – I think the thing I like best is the way the player character changes more the longer you play. You start out as a scared, crying child in a basement filled with monsters, but as time goes on and you get better at fighting them… you start turning into a monster too. And I love that. I love how straight-up monstrous Isaac gets as you keep picking up and combining power-ups. I am super impatient to get better at it and get down to further and further levels to make myself even more fucked up.
(I mean, there’s also plenty of stuff in it that’s kind of terrible and/or squicky. And it’s pretty hatey towards fat people, and women, especially poor women, generally, I think; nothing’s said directly, this is a game with very little dialogue, but it’s clear we are supposed to be disgusted by Isaac’s mother, and not in the moral sense.)
… I was going to talk about Spelunky and Rogue Legacy also, but now I’m tired so I guess that’s enough nerdbabble for one day.