(This is a guest post sent from Eternally Mortal:)
I have recently been at a point in my life where making decisions to satisfy my own desires, however small, just seemed beyond my abilities. I would sit in the dark and wait for the next catastrophe to happen and never really take any time to find smiles.
Because finding smiles is so very important, I started just playing simple games to pass time. There were a few app games that caught my interest for a time, but they all become a grind in a very narrow track with rewards that are less satisfying than making a funny face in the mirror. That was fine, for a time. I was just killing time anyway, but after I got to the point where I could play these games and even smile at the silly rewards, I decided it was time to really put some effort into a game that might take me somewhere.
Enter Stellaris. Stellaris is a Galaxy Conquest game. It has planet management, empire management, resource management, exploration, space combat, ground combat, diplomacy, and politics. It is a game that can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 60 minutes to start playing the game. You control a species that has just mastered faster-than-light travel and leaves you all alone in a galaxy. You can determine the size of this galaxy and the amount of foreign powers. The simple goal of the game is to inhabit a certain percentage of the total habitable worlds in the galaxy or destroy/control all other civilazations.
I had played Stellaris before because it distinctly reminded me of Master of Orion, a similar game from the 90s. This game was significantly more complex and it could easily take hundreds of hours to complete either goal. This was the game I chose because it is such an open galaxy. You can choose to be peaceful or militant; accepting or restrictive; decadent or spartan; and many other dichotomies. To define where I am after my hiatus from taking personal action, I felt this was the perfect game to help me establish the walls of my personal position in this life.
For the first species I created, I took a hand at every aspect of species creation and developed a scientific peaceful species. I also used the "Ironman" aspect of the game because I figured it wouldn't be much of a burden. I honestly feel like each new game you play (by that, I mean each new 'start' of each game that you begin) must happen as it happens. I have certainly re-loaded from a previous save on many, many games, but I decided this new game would be a time where I "accept all consequences".
I guess I felt at the time that I was having a hard time accepting consequences. I became very frustrated early in the timeline of this new species as I found that I was squished between 4 other civilizations and had to move very fast in order to not be overwhelmed early. I actually succeeded and advancing to the point that I was keeping up with, if not surpassing, my neighbors. But, something happened that I do not even remember and I abandoned the game. It still exists, and I can go back at any time, but I started a new game...
The second species I created was militant. I had decided that peace was too restrictive and I'll just fight whoever I came across to the death. I started well with good resources and habitable planets around me, but I was faced with an immediate neighbor that was close to my power level. I actually got those neighbors to like me a lot when I declared war on them. I was able to defeat them fairly easily and the game is sort of flawed in that one of my demands for peace was for them to become a vassal of mine. Which I eventually selected to incorporate them into my empire. But I was stymied by another issue: there is a planet cap. You can only have so many active planets at one time and I was still competing with the other species that were nowhere near me, but were slowly creeping closer.
I created a third species, though I spent no time on creating them. I just chose the pre-generated humans and decided on a small galaxy with only 1 other civilization. I'm not too far in this galaxy, but I might be done for now. I feel like I'm done with Stellaris now because it has shown me what I needed.
I still have a hard time being antagonistic to those around me. I'm happy this is still there, because it is a part that I have been worried about losing during this recent self-discovery journey I'm on. The main idea I got from my experience is that I want to create. I wanted a blank universe with no one but me so that I can make something without outside influence (other than what is already floating around in my head that originated elsewhere) and without any judgement of its parts. I'm still not sure where to take this, but it is the direction that I'm now pointing. I have several paths this might take me down, but maybe I need to play another game to define it further...
Whew! That was a lot of good stuff there, Eternal.
What do you think about his journey through Stellaris and the depths of his mind? I'm sure he'd love some feedback!
See ya next time, Internet Drifters!
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