What’s been happening this week, you ask? Good question. Outside, it’s been about four-hundred degrees, and I’ve used this as an excuse to explore things that don’t involve me leaving the house.
I’ve been exploring things like the back catalogue of studio albums by The Police. As I write this, I’m enjoying the soothing sounds of Ministry. If I had to make a choice, despite the competent craftmanship of Copeland-Sting-Summers, I’m pretty sure I prefer Ministry. The Police certainly have their classics, but about halfway into the three-hours plus listening journey, it all starts to feel a little bland.
I guess that’s what comes from doing the same thing for long periods of time, and I’m sure a similar journey with Ministry would yield similar results.
I guess this week I’ve been grinding.
Not in the sexy way, sadly. Nope – grinding in the gaming sense, but with music and TV.
…and also games.
Gran Turismo 5 (2010), specifically. I can’t afford to do a midlife crisis properly, so I’ve settled with simulating one instead.
I’m not a big car-culture guy, but tell you what, props given where props are due, this game excels at gamifying all the mundane aspects of car ownership. Basically, you start out with a cheap, low-powered vehicle to drive around a track. If you win a race, you get money or maybe another car. From there you drive around more tracks to make more money to get more cars to race around more tracks to get more money to get more cars to race around more tracks to get more money. And so on.
Oh. Sometimes you might get a cup too – apparently this a good thing.
Between these extended gaming sessions I’ve been watching TV, grinding away at Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K).
MST3K has been on and off various forms of television for about 30 years now and, over that time, has gained uber-cult status from the fans that really seem to connect with the show and its characters.
Loners, mostly. So yeah, I get it.
The general premise is that it’s about a guy (over the years there’s been a few) trapped in space who is forced to watch bad movies. The hook is that he (with his robot friends) riffs on the films with jokes and such, to help him stave off the madness that comes from his isolation.
For the viewer, it simulates sitting in a cinema with a bunch of nerds talking loudly while high on their own farts. The irony, however, is that unlike the show’s protagonist, nobody’s making you the viewer watch these bad movies.
So that’s a thing and so is grinding.
Grinding is generally a dull repetitive process sometimes necessary to make progress in attaining something you want (see for reference: any job IRL).
In gaming, grinding as a mechanic seems to exist for the sole purpose of extending the gameplay experience. To some, longer gameplay equates to value for money, but on the flipside, you might also pay actual money to bypass this process (Huh?!).
Is grinding in games a case of art reflecting life, or just an insidious ploy by game publishers to exploit our capitalist minds? Perhaps this is reason enough that I ought* not apply the word to my recreational activities.
Yeah, I don’t know either. Didn’t really think this one through.
On a more productive note, I’ve continued the “one doodle a day” deal that I made with myself and have nearly filled the first of my books. It’s a tiny thing, but I’m taking this as some kind of progress. I’m also happy to report that this does not feel like a grind. Follow me on Instagram to see all these and more.
And lastly, a shout-out to Nikki Flux, who can not only take partial claim for inspiring me to get drawing again (you can follow her on Instagram), but also got me out of the house to see Iliza Shlesinger live. Solid comedy from a pro, and a good night was had by all.
Till next time.
*So proud that I got to use ought in a sentence. Three years of writing tuition fees paying for itself right there!