Some time ago, I found myself in a shell that I had withdrawn into, afraid of something and unwilling to face the consequences.
This summer was not like any other, because my life had found yet another way to wrap its bulk around a massive tree in the desert. I had run myself into the ground doing things I shouldn’t have done, while caring about things I wasn’t supposed to.
So for all my days and nights, I seethed in an anxious rage. This rut was this wide *hands wide apart*, with its edges so far apart that I had no hope of ever leaving it. You know how it is.
BBC’s Top Gear (may it rest in peace) did a Patagonia special a year ago, containing a piece showing the incomprehensible vastness of one of the world’s largest deserts. In fact, it is so vast that you can actually see the curvature of the earth at the horizon, tracing a smudgy blue-brown line where it looked like the paints hadn’t been mixed very well.
So I understood, that you can’t see the craters in your life if you’re grounded, but if you go high up enough your eyes resolve things beyond the ridges. Grounded long enough, you forget there’s a way up and out of the dumps.
And that’s when I met Duet.
Duet wasn’t just another game with a challenge, with levels to beat, or a fight I had to win.
Duet was an experience. Complete with the most amazing music, narration, and thought-provoking twists and turns, it took me on a ride that left me changed in more ways than I had imagined.
With each chapter and each level, a soft voice tinged with reverb speaks to you and tells you the strangest things.
You’re on a journey through eight different stages with each stage containing a unique game mechanic that is, somehow, completely in tune with the game’s theme.
To say that Duet has a storyline would be generous, the stage names corresponding to a strong emotion building a labyrinth that shows the way to a final stage; but it is its own story, your life providing the canvas for the little circles that go round and round the falling blocks.
Completing the levels isn’t winning. It never feels like winning. You’re only moving from one stage to the next, the voice in your ear encouraging, sometimes threatening, pushy, and sometimes introspective.
It consumes you one phrase at a time, like the voice inside your head that tells you that you’re never going to be good enough, that you’ll only ever live a mediocre life.
Inspiration comes to you at every turn, sometimes implied and sometimes not. A stage throws you into a topsy-turvy groove, and your mind wanders away. The circles collide with a block, and you’re back at the start. Always, back at the start until you’re good enough to continue.
When at the very end of the story you begin to feel the emptiness claw at you, you experience something that stays with you for a long time to come.
Duet has set very high standards for things that make a difference in my life, for things that move me and inspire me, and for the people around me.
So, now I do for you what Duet did for me.
I have nothing more left to say about the game or my experience save for this; no matter what you’re dealing with, what kind of rut you’re in, inspiration is always around the corner.