Role Playing Games & Life Wins

Prior to one otherwise ordinary night last week I can think of only a couple of times when I had won the unwinnable; two transcendent moments in which I happened upon glorious, unrepeatable success and basked in the undeserved glory.

The first instance involved winning my Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a child, which you can read about here. The second took place at my wedding reception, but is more FREAKING AMAZING than romantic to tell the truth. As my new wife and I were pondering how the waitstaff had somehow managed to miss us when distributing the main course, my mate Will (of Civilization fame) decided to fire a champagne cork over the room full of guests and in the direction of the bridal table some 20 metres away. Luckily he caught my eye as it took flight, allowing half a second to nonchalantly extend my hand and pluck the cork out of the air as a gifted seeker would a snitch.

That kind of thing never happens in real life!!

Except that it did, and now my wife and I go out to dinner every year on that same date to celebrate.

Then, at approximately 9:30pm on Sunday the 4th of October, my third Life Win took place. “The only thing I really want is a legendary shotgun” I told my Destiny teammate after admiring his load-out of impressive legendary and exotic gear, and BAM!

A random loot drop perhaps two minutes later delivers me this beauty:

The Next Big Thing, a very appropriately named weapon.

Given that my game time was only around 25 hours at that stage (not a lot by Destiny standards) and I had hitherto accrued just a handful of legendary items, the odds of picking up the exact type of weapon I most desired immediately after expressing the thought out loud were almost negligible. That particular item could have been one of half a dozen types of armour or any of the myriad weapon systems available in the game. But it wasn’t, and I was glad.

It is unexpected situations like these that can influence the direction of our lives in relatively big (winning the SNES, which has undoubtedly resulted in the publication of this blog 20 years later) or little (catching the champagne cork) ways, and as demonstrated by the unexpected appearance of that shotgun the same applies when we enter the world of role playing video games. RPGs these days are so vast and complex that there is always the potential for your most carefully planned strategies to evolve organically under the influences of coded providence or situational need, and thereby develop into something other than what you originally envisaged. In this case my preference for close range combat happened to align with Destiny’s random item generation, but this isn’t always the case. Having considered the matter in great depth over the last few minutes, I’m firmly of the opinion that being open to giving your cherished character room to grow in new ways adds, rather than subtracts, to the process.

Some less meaningful Destiny randomness: sometimes you stumble upon someone that shares your name and city. Sometimes it happens while patrolling Mars. It’s a small universe…

Perhaps you have experienced something similar in RPGs or real life and can remember the moment with crystal clarity. If so, feel free to comment and we can bask together in the magnificent and unearned afterglow.


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