Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sam Keeps Growing Up; Fire Emblem Hates You

Sam's growth arc has him changing a lot more than Lucy's. Whereas Lucy becomes a stronger person and harder to bully and push around, Sam is becoming a genuinely good man who doesn't just have the potential for good things. We knew he had that potential, but now he's going out and seeking things to make him a better person. Like ironing his own clothes; I hate ironing clothes.

Table of contents is here, fiction is below the fold. This weekend expect limited to no posting, but everything should be back to normal by next week.

I've been playing Fire Emblem Awakening; I recommend it. Playing it on casual doesn't really give you the real taste of what the game is. Playing it on less than hard disguises the game's rank ambivalence towards your happiness. You want your happy ending? Earn the damn happy ending. The joy of making digital people talk to each other and save the world is your reward; your punishment is the suffering you, the player, must go through. It's like the entire game is Purgatory, with the promise that your reward is waiting if you'll just suffer a little bit more.

Well, that's actually nothing like Purgatory. But I'm not a religious scholar, so bad religious analogies will have to do.

* * *

Annette had asked me about Heather. I had told her the truth: Not O.G. material. She seemed aghast I’d be so direct. I thought that’s what women— no, wait. That’s the sort of thinking that gets me into trouble. Women are like men with boobs, and so I tried to think of how I would deal with this if Annette were Andy. Well, Andrew, because I knew an Andrea who looked great in a two-piece. She wore — right.

“She couldn’t figure out where things were, boss. She never wrote down people’s orders and wasn’t blessed with a good memory,” I said. “She tried, A for effort sort of gal—lant employee.”

“A for effort? What is this, kindergarten?”

“No, this is the real world.”

“How many times have you messed up an order?”

“Give me a time frame to work with,” I said. It would be unfair to compare my career to Heather’s one day. Apples to oranges, not apples to apples.

“How many dishes have you broken?”

“Are we including glasses and silverware in the broader category of dishes? I don’t mean to come across as flippant, boss, but that’s important.” It was, really. Annette needed to get out with the little people more to understand the stress we’re under out there. As much as Heather may not have had the Right Stuff (yes, I do think of it in uppercase), she was out there. She came with us into the breach.

“Sam, you come in here, hung over, making a scene — and you can’t even take this conversation seriously.”

“You don’t understand, I’m taking this more seriously than I have a lot of things,” I said. For example, I wasn’t letting my eyes wander or trying to see if I could catch one of the waitresses walking by outside the office. I was completely and utterly in the moment of being chewed out — without any dirty thoughts about turning that into a sexual innuendo.

See, I’d always sort of thought of Annette as a kind of Mrs. Robinson, then Kenny made me watch the movie. All of my Mrs. Robinson fantasies faded away when I realized that she was a nut job. Besides, Annette wasn’t old enough to have a daughter old enough for me to marry. At least, I didn’t think so. I did think this was a bad time to clarify that point.

“Sam, Heather’s estate has threatened to sue us for age discrimination.”

“Tell them that she sucked as a waitress because her memory was failing, not because she — ah, I see the problem.”

I hadn’t been let go since I finished training my replacement via Skype. When Annette told me to drop off my uniform and pick up my pay check, it was like watching them take my building badge all over again. She opened the office door for me to leave, and I walked out the O.G. a changed man. It had never occurred to me how shallow I had become, and I never really recognized that slacker-like complacency that had settled over me like a stale beer smell. When the fresh air hit me outside, I felt like a new man.

I took my hoodie off and gave it to a homeless man. When I went home, I showered, threw out the dirty, beer-stained clothes and dressed in one of my button up shirts to hit the streets. Then, I turned around and went back in. I took off my shirt and was about to ask my mom to iron it, then I thought, screw it. After all, I knew where the damn iron was.

1 comment:

  1. Not as much as some; my first Fire Emblem was Genealogy of the Holy War, which I believe is one of the best ones (and fairly high on the difficulty scale.) It suffers from the same flaws as most Fire Emblems (and most Strategy/Tactical RPGs): The game gets easier, not harder. The power of customization and heroic stat growths turns enemy armies into chunky bits of XP.

    In Tactics Ogre, the fight with Aloser, early in 2C or 2L, is a fight where people are probably going to die. By Chapter 4, even the Templars are push overs, even if you just have generic no-names.

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