Forget About Saving The World, You're Dead, Kid

Wake up at 6, and, within seconds, I’ve already screamed at both my mom and my sister. No breakfast. Get to school two hours before it starts, maybe do homework I couldn’t do last night. Listen to people talk, in this almost detached way. They’re going to college, it’s right here in the state–it’s a dream come true, isn’t it? They don’t have to change a thing. Eh…they’re not my friends, not really. Go to class, maybe take notes–hey, I’ve still got that last exam coming up in a few weeks. Maybe it’s soccer season, maybe I’ve got practice. Go back home, nothing changes. And the next day, I do it all over again.

I’m leaving, soon.

To say I led a trite life back in high school would be an understatement. I had to go.

Here I am, years later, playing Persona 3…at first, I was annoyed by how close its portrayal of tedium and routine hit to home. During the day, you’re just a normal high schooler. Go through the motions, the routine. Go to class. Make friends, listen to them rant about their daily lives and problems. You’re top of your class, going out with the most gorgeous girl available….but there’s so much more, than this, isn’t there? This is a game, I’m supposed to be the bloody hero, aren’t I? And sure enough, during the night, nobody knows it, but I’m saving the goddamn world.

So, yes, I didn’t appreciate its school sim aspect at first. There’s a reason I left this life. I hate it. I dread the thought that one day I might work in a cubicle in an office, leading a completely mundane life. Why do I care about what these pixellated and simplified representations of friendship, the details of their lives? Hell, why is any of this worth saving?

Spoilers following the cut.

What if I told you the world was ending in just a couple of months, and there’s absofuckinglutely nothing you can do about it?

Everything changes. You’re a player, this is a game, but it’s not here to pat you in the back and tell you how awesome you are. This isn’t no Mass Effect, you’re not saving the world against all odds.

So, you’ll wake down those halls once more. Pay attention to class, go to a club after school. Hang out with your girl friend. What else can you do, except to try to appreciate what you have? Suddenly every exchange, every trite conversation and outing with your friends means the world to you. I don’t know how Atlus did this, but it’s astonishing, really. We’re so used to being able to have it all, I mean, we paid 60 bucks for this X game, didn’t we? Shouldn’t our heroics go noticed, rewarded? Shouldn’t the ending be you, saving the world, once again?

Logic would dictate that, given the choice to forget about when the world ends, most people would choose that blissful ignorance. If it’s going to happen no matter what I do, I might as well not even know about it, right? That’s the easy thing to do. And so to me, seeing these…children (your party in P3) look beyond the easy way out, seeing them choosing to keep the knowledge of the incoming catastrophe despite everything….it’s just, a sense of amazement. They’re going down fighting, even if it’s not going to do anything. Head held high, determination in their eyes. They’re keeping humanity’s honor intact until the end.

Me, I’m thinking about my life right now. How much I love my mother, how I live most of my life in foreign lands, with foreign people. Would I, given the same situation, have chosen to die in the same way? I think I would, despite everything. It’s just a shame that it takes something this hopeless slapping me in the face to realize it.

So, I don’t quite know how it’s all going to end–I haven’t beaten P3 yet. I’ve still a month and a half to go, to talk to people, to do things. But suddenly I’m caring infinitely less for its actual game sections, that dungeon crawling and levelling up, and looking forward to the annoying shy girl who seems to think we’re going out simply because I was nice to her.

It’s a life worth living.


  1. Tom

    The last two months of Persona 3 are my favorite part of any video game, ever. You get to make an impossible choice between forgetting everything and dying unexpectedly or remembering and going out fighting an impossible, unkillable malevolent being, and even if you win, no one will remember anything about what happened. It’s a marvelous, marvelous prelude to an ending.

    And the whole time, my favorite song in the game is in the background as you walk around. That’s the big thing. Other games are often afraid of being depressing, but P3 has the most depressing background song, just to remind you, “You’re going to die.”

    *Obligatory fanperson reply*

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