In these troubled times, it’s important to take time out for self-care. Self-care comes in many different forms. For me, lately, one of those methods has been to do some serious heavy-duty organization of my digital media.
Last night, I spent almost two hours curating smaller playlists out of my gargantuan “Favorites from the Spotify Discovery” playlists. While I appreciate that Spotify’s algorithm knows me so well, it’s made my “best-of” playlists untenable; until last night I’d simply been putting my favorite tracks into a mega-list for each year, and by year’s end I’d have 150+ songs, and so when I’d start a new list for a new year I’d stop listening to the previous year, and so there’s dozens of songs that I’ve kept that I haven’t had a chance to really absorb. This is nonsensical, I know, but you have no idea how nice it is to know that all the weird space jazz that Spotify feeds me can live in one readily identifiable place.
There’s a lot that I don’t miss about my high school / college / post-college years, but one of the things that I do miss quite terribly is that back then, it was very easy for me to carve out a solid chunk of hours to obsessively listen to music. I don’t have that luxury any more; my commute is too short, I can’t listen to music at work, and my evening hours are hit-or-miss. There were a few moments last night while I was in the midst of this curation session when I’d say to myself, ooh, that’s an album I want to spend some time listening to, I’ll get to it later… and then I’d realize, wait, when exactly is “later”?
Anyway. I know it’s ridiculous, but I sorta have to do this organizational stuff in order to streamline my creative process. My new computer arrived last week, and it’s awesome, and everything works the way it’s supposed to, and now I have to accept the fact that I haven’t done anything creatively as far as music goes in far, far too long. (Hell, I need to remember how some of my software actually works.) And I know that the first few times I sit down to start composing, I’m gonna be rusty and turn out some stupid shit. But rather than beat myself up about it, I need to make sure that I’m showing up to my sessions in a good mood, and that means I need to listen to inspiring stuff. And so while it’s fair to say that this could be seen as a highly contrived excuse for procrastination, it’s also productive and useful.
Similarly, I spent a very satisfying hour last week sorting my PS4 Pro’s game library into folders – Sony Exclusives, PS VR, Indies, Multi-Platform. I sincerely hope that Microsoft lets me create folders for the X, someday; they sorta do this already, in terms of how you can sort your library, but it’d be nice to be able to further customize those categories.
Look, I know this is a super-ridiculous thing but I love it and it makes me very happy.
So last week I took a much-needed (though not terribly satisfying) staycation, and I played a bunch of stuff.
1. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. I’d gotten this on PS4 last year, got stuck, and then forgot about it; but I figured I’d give it another go on the X – I was, if nothing else, curious to see how the X shaped up to the PS4, and the developer happened to mention that if they sold a certain amount of units, they’d be donating a certain amount of their proceeds to certain mental health charities, and that felt like a worthwhile thing to contribute to. So, yeah – this game is fucking amazing, and it looks extraordinary on the X, and I’m really glad I finally finished it.
2. Yakuza 6 / Ni No Kuni 2. You couldn’t pick 2 more different games to start playing at the exact same time, but here we are. Of course, these have been put to the side because of God of War, but I’ll get to that in a sec. I really like both of what I’ve played of these two, so far, though, and I hope to get back to them in a bit.
3. Far Cry 5. So I’ve beaten 2 of the 3 sub-bosses, and I’ve done a fair amount of side stuff, and I’m honestly not sure I need to 100% this. When I’m goofing off and exploring, it’s fine; when I’m paying attention to the story, everything sucks.
4. God of War. Well, look – this is gonna be the main thing I’m playing until I finish it, and even then I don’t know that I’ll want to put it down. It’s an extraordinary experience on nearly every level. This is the clear frontrunner for Game of the Year until Red Dead 2 comes out later this year, and the bar for RDR2 is very, very, very high. I don’t really want to talk about it until I’m done with it; it needs its own post. Just get it and play it and enjoy it and love it. And also hug your children.