I was lounging around my apartment this weekend with Boyfriend, waiting for my second DualShock 3 to charge enough for us to resume our quest for Lady Bigboobs, when I casually suggested, “Hey, we should activate family sharing on our Steam accounts so that we can play each other’s games.”
Boyfriend’s head whipped up. He wore the expression a perk-eared puppy gets when it hears the unmistakable sound of someone opening a bag of dog treats. “That is a thing you can do?” A look of hunger sharpened in his eyes. “Can you get…the achievements?”
When I answered that yes, I was fairly certain you could get the achievements, he requested that this procedure be performed post-haste. I had to reference an online guide to recall the process, which is truthfully a little bit arcane, but eventually the accounts were linked and the games shared.
He will probably never play some of these games, but he loves having the option to play them. He is an adorable, incorrigible game hoarder.
While, admittedly, I reap great benefits from his predilections, I sometimes feel something of an existential crisis when I think about the fact that I own more books and and video games than I could ever play or read, and yet I continue to acquire more things to play or read. Even if I had the opportunity to do nothing but read books and play games for the rest of my life, I would, in fact, never manage to read and play everything. (The italics are meant to indicate the serious pathos of my crisis.)
“Well,” I said to Boyfriend, when faced with this Sisyphean mountain of games, “maybe I can restart my blog feature where I randomly play one of my Steam games.”
“Well, yeah. You could do that,” he agreed. “Or you could play one of the games I’ve actually bought you. Like Knights of the Old Republic. Or Planescape.”
I share this anecdote as an introduction to my feelings regarding my brief interactions with Planescape: Torment.
Oh, Planescape, Planescape, Planescape. Everything about you tells me I should love you. You have enough text to fill a novel. You are driven more by story than by combat. You are set in Planescape, one of my favorite Dungeons & Dragons settings. You, in fact, use what is basically a D&D character progression system. You have varied and interesting non-player characters inhabiting your world. You seem like everything I want in an RPG. Why, then, do I play you so infrequently?
Admittedly, some of this may be due to the fact that I can’t find my USB mouse, and so have been playing the game with my laptop’s touchpad, which makes the controls somewhat less functional. Some of this may be stemming from the frustration I felt the first time my single party member (the snarky disembodied head Morte)…
…died, and I couldn’t figure out how the hell to resurrect him, so I ran around trying to rest in different places to see if he would come back to life, but he didn’t, so I asked Boyfriend how to rez him, and Boyfriend was like, “Use your Raise Dead ability,” and I was like, “Uh, I don’t have that,” and then I realized that I was supposed to get that ability at the beginning of the game by talking to my ghost girlfriend…
…but I hadn’t done that because I was too busy fleeing for my life from giant ass-kicking skeletons…
…so then I had to go back to the first dungeon, talk to ghost girlfriend, return to the dungeon in which Morte died, and then figure out where the hell he was. This was an ordeal, but completely due to my inexcusable RPG rookie mistake of not exploring all the rooms.
No, the reason I am reluctant to go back to Planescape: Torment is far more ridiculous: I keep getting lost.
See, everything in Planescape is very…brown. Just so brown. Everything is brown, so everything looks the same. Half of the time, I can’t figure out where to go, and the other half, I can’t figure out how to get there, because the “there” I am looking for looks pretty similar to every other bit of “there” in the game.
I keep getting turned around, I can’t find my journal that some disrespectful jackass stole off my dead body, and I’ve somehow gotten stuck in some sadistic wizard’s teleporting maze of magical traps. As much as I want to experience the story of this game, which is widely reputed to be one of the best RPGs of all time, but it makes me so unbelievably frustrated that I curse at my screen and go back to playing Yo-Kai Watch to chill out. Perhaps Boyfriend, who has played this game before, can be my guiding light through the murky brown. I do really want to know what the hell is up with the Nameless One and why the poor fucker looks like a Neanderthal as designed by Dr. Frankenstein.
Also, who wouldn’t want to play a game in which you can buy a pet Lim-Lim that will follow you around, an alien, adorable creature that serves no discernible purpose?
No one, that’s who.