Sunday, 15 January 2012

Together we move through life hand in hand

Lately I have been playing the final installment in a game series I love so very dearly; Legacy of Kain, released back in the early 90s starting with the game Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain centered around the character of Kain, a nobleman murdered by thieves in the night and brought back as a Vampire to slay his murderers. Of course on paper this sounds like a pretty good deal he soon realizes things are not as they seem and his helpful benefactor has his own ulterior motives for bringing him back as a vampire. Now I wont spoil it for anyone who is going to play the series or is currently in the process of playing them and does not know the ending.

The series then branched off and became Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain centered around Raziel, Kain’s first vampiric lieutenant who is murdered by Kain and brought back as a wraith, a creature that feeds on souls and sets about wanting to put the boot to Kain’s empire as being burned alive is not something he found enjoyable or polite to do to ones friends. Murdering a friend in such a fashion really does ruin a perfectly good dinner and is not something I recommend any of you do.

Now I played the first of the series back when I was around 10 in primary school and played the others as they came out, right the way through to the very last game in the series “Defiance” but when it came out I just couldn’t play it, it felt like I was losing good friends, being turned away from somewhere I had always called home, I knew the dank, destroyed terrain of Nosgoth as well as I know my own village. I wasn’t ready for it to end. I suddenly realized that when things in my life were bad I always had Kain and Raziel there to pick me up, there to comfort and give me a distraction from my own pain. I could slip away in to a world of vampires, monsters and mystery, I felt like I belonged in their world more than my own. They may have reached the end of their journey and were about to find a resolution but I was not at the end of mine, I had found no resolution to my problems. So on release date I put my £40 down on the counter and took it home, scouring the manual and pouring over the artwork I took it all in, this may be the last time I see two dear friends. Before last week I had never even played it, not even once to see the opening cut scene. I finally decided to play it when things became unbearable for me and I needed something familiar, a relic from my childhood, I desired the comfort of familiarity and loaded it up, now Kain and Raziel were finally together in one game, both playable, a sign they had at last reached the end of a journey I began with them ten years ago or more.

It suddenly hit me, I was sad because as they grew and matured so did I, as they move through their misery and anguish I moved through mine. The three of us were going through the worst times of our lives, but whereas they were seeing an ending to such torment mine seeing to be beginning. I couldn’t stand the thought that I was going to have to go the rest of my journey alone without them.

Realizing this I thought about how in the past I have watched friends and family go through a bad time and have latched on to a particular TV series or game series and played it relentlessly for comfort, for a distraction. But maybe its not really an escape as we so often think it is. Why I believe I have latched on to Legacy of Kain and was so bent on not giving it up is because as I watched Raziel and Kain move through their adventure, solving puzzles and fighting demons I felt as I uncovered another piece of their story and beat a boss it was like in my mind a piece of my torment had been lifting, that things in my life were getting better. It felt like by the end of their story a resolution would have been made in my own story. Then when I saw the end was near and my life was getting worse if anything I didn’t want to finish it, I couldn’t accept with the end of their story my own would be no better so I denied, just didn’t play it. Even now playing the game I feel hope in the back of my mind that when I say goodbye to Nosgoth for the last time I hope things for me are better, I hope things just will be a little better.

I am reminded of a plotline in the TV series Twin Peaks, when a main character suffers a breakdown he believes he is a general in the American Civil War and that people have to act it out with him for when he turns it around and the South wins he will return to normal, because he changed this and brought the story to a conclusion then he feels his own life and troubles can get better.
I am interested to hear what others feel about this, if anything :)

1 comment:

  1. I still do this, but I've never really thought about it that deeply before. Reasons like this though are why we were so close to our games. They were a huge part of our lives. One of the reasons I enjoyed solving problems and puzzles in games was that I couldn't solve them in my own life, so it was nice to be able to solve them in a game, to know I was good at something.