“Before I get to The Last Guardian, a digression…
When I was 23, I backpacked around India alone for two months on a shoestring budget. I stayed in Spartan hotels for roving businessmen or huge bunk houses with 24 beds to a room, usually at a price around $5 per night. I walked ten to twelve hours most days in 90-100 degree heat and 95%+ humidity. I took a few short plane flights to get between major cities at first, but eventually I settled for train rides where I would stuff myself in-between migrant workers in 5th class, two of which lasted 17 hours.
On a daily basis, I was miserable. The physical exertion, heat, humidity, and beating sun took its toll. I had trouble maintaining weight and was chronically sunburned despite liberal use of sunscreen. Then there were the locals constantly trying to beg and scam me, especially the taxi drivers who turned every cab rental into a prolonged battle of wits over how much of my dignity I would sacrifice to save 20 rupees (please don’t look up how much that is in real money). More than anything, I was exhausted. The walking and heat and constant travel and paranoia of scammers with no comfortable respites along the way made the two months feel like an eternity. There were good moments too of course. I saw incredible temples and palaces, I met wonderful people, and I witnessed first-hand incalculably amazing parts of the world that I never thought I’d see with my own eyes.
But I still could not have been happier when I returned to America. The horrors of India were still fresh in my mind and the comfort of my couch at home seemed more valuable than all of the temples and mosques erected by the Mughal Dynasty over a thousand-year period (or whatever).
And yet, after maybe a week, that sentiment started to shift, or even invert. The walking and heat and sun and dirty bunk beds and scammers started fading from my mind while the temples and palaces and curios became more prominent. It wasn’t that I was literally forgetting the hardships (though I’ve certainly forgotten a lot of the little things over time), but rather they were no longer visceral. The weather was torturous while I was there, but I can’t feel the 100 degrees or 100% humidity (or both simultaneously) while I write this sentence in my air-conditioned bedroom. I know Indian taxi drivers are the scum of the earth, but even though I am not a rich man, I can’t say I care too much about the times they charged me an extra $1.50 for a cab ride.
Meanwhile, the temples and mosques and all that great stuff seemed even greater in retrospect. Especially near the end of the trip, I’m sure I was too exhausted and mentally fatigued by seeing the same architecture over-and-over again to even care who built what building when and why. Yet the memories of the beautiful curvature of some ancient stature, the festive buzz of Calcutta on Holi Day, and the spectacular beaches of Chennai, glow in my mind. Today, I consider going to India one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I will die with one less regret.
Anyway, that’s sort of what playing The Last Guardian has been like.”
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