Two sides of a different coin: the Spectra of writing

This write-up is not remotely related to anime. But then, as I’ve already paid for my hosting dues, I think I should be given a bit more free rein in the topics I’d like to broach. Although I will never say that I lost my love for anime, I have to admit that my mind has been weighed upon by things rather removed from anime. These two write-ups are relatively polished drafts of mine that address certain thoughts that have pressed upon me over the course of the past month. I’ve had a lot more drafts, but these two seem to be the better ones.

I wrote the two articles on the same topic but tried to be light-hearted in one, and grave in the other. I’m not sure whether this made the intended effect, but publishing it somewhere (anywhere!) would at least give me some closure regarding it. I’m sometimes consumed in the things I’ve overly passionate about, and if I didn’t put an end on it I would probably give ten more renditions on the same topic (not that I haven’t already written ten different renditions).

I hope you guys enjoy this artistic experiment. If not, then forgive me. I do know I’m repeating myself. 😛

The Light-hearted

Each and every one of us is prone to irrational drives and desires. Most of us stifle these to a certain extent (and that’s why most of humanity is considerably sane), but there are some drives that simply eke out or escape the sieve of rationality. I don’t think it suggests insanity; rather, I think it suggests our humanity and our proximity to disaster. These are known by most people as idiosyncrasies or quirks, and I am no exception.

My own obsessions are with vintage video games. Being paroxysmally repetitive is not one of my personality quirks, so I’ll avoid going into the details. It should suffice that I started my collection roughly three years ago, and it has alternated between pervasive and latent in my psyche.

This passion with collection was interrupted about six months ago when by both luck and misfortune I was besotted with a charming lady. It was actually stultfied for about a year prior this incident, because I was ashamed with the costs that I incurred, but my desire wasn’t slowed or tempered. The mind was willing, but the pockets were weak.

It was entirely the first time where I focused on upgrading my fashion sense and my geeky wardrobe to become somewhat more decent-looking as I wanted to impress this girl I was infatuated with. My wallet suffered, of course, but until this day I have had no regrets with those purchases: I really do think clothes have more utility than video games from thirty years ago, and the fashion sense that I developed is something I’m still quite proud of. At least I now know that to go out with baggy shirts and pants coupled with Islander sandals isn’t the way to go.

(And all that time, I was wearing thick-rimmed glasses with hair as thick and tough as barbed wire. Imagine all the stifled laughs from people I passed by.)

Because my conquest didn’t pan out the way I wished it would, I was left with both a heart broken for the first time and even more intense pangs for vintage gaming systems. This was probably my mind’s way of coaxing my heart, telling it to be freely profligate and removing its shackles on it temporarily.

As a result, my heart (or rather, the part of my mind that tends to irrationality) rampaged like a rhinoceros and engaged in a civil war with my autocratic rational side. It couldn’t win, so it resulted to guerrilla tactics, and I suffered as a result.

I reawakened my hunger for an obscure, rare, and most importantly, expensive specimen of gaming history: I wanted a Romtec Colorvision. This was a system produced in 1984 or 1985 and it was innovative because of its interchangeable cartridges in a tabletop, something that only the Microvision and my even rarer Palmtex Super Micro have done before it.

Before I gush further into the history of obscure video games and let the Inner Geek Monster break free, to summarize, I simply wanted that system a lot once again. I still had some savings available, but it was going to be decimated after I was done purchasing the system. I decided that the two antipodes in my mind had to have a truce, and I did it by purchasing an alternative game that was similar, but was much cheaper. Make that games.

The first game was already enough to produce a volatile peace between the two sides of my head, but my belligerent emotional side seemed to have outsmarted my autocratic and pacific rational side: there was an additional game involved in the peace agreement, after all.

It's cool because it looks like a spaceship!

In reality, however, I simply left a cheap offer to a certain game that attracted me in all the wrong ways. It was a combination LCD game and cassette player, but that wasn’t what invited me to purchase it. It was the presence of purple in its color scheme, as well as having a unique brand name. It was made by Spectra, and that simply sounded cool to my irrational side. My oft-dominant hemisphere would probably dismiss it as childish to be drawn in by a mere name of an item; the irrational side had spread a virus of profligacy to my mind, however, and that was the reason that the purchase was made. In all honesty, however, the rational part of my mind thinks that ‘spectra’ is a cool word and idea, as well.

(Besides, who expected that seller to accept an offer that cut more than half of his earnings? It wasn’t really a victory of the irrational side: it was the victory of the seller, who gutted almost five dollars from me. Damn you, best offers! I should have done my worst!)

Finally, however, peace was made and the irrational side returned to the mansuetude of the rational side. The Rational may have been autocratic, but it was also benevolent at the same time. I still haven’t purchased the Romtec Colorvision, and I probably never will unless I win the lottery or come across a windfall. All I can really conclude from this episode is that women are really powerful. I wouldn’t have been split-brained if it weren’t for a girl, after all.

The Grave

I am, for the most part, a composed and logical person. I can think through a lot of problems rationally, but I have my quirks. I think that the most glaring quirk in my personality is my fondness for vintage video games, stemming from an eBay purchase I made about two-and-a-half years ago. It was, coincidentally, my very first eBay purchase: I bought a Casio Loopy.

The Casio Loopy was the final gaming console designed by Casio. Its novelty was that it was targeted only for the ladies, and it became Casio’s last speculation into the video game market. The system bombed horribly that there are only a few extant units left, as not many people bought it. Given a choice between the innovative PlayStation and a dress-up game, most people selected the former. After the debacle Casio decided to stick to manufacturing the things they were good at, which were watches and calculators. To this day, Casio remains a stalwart competitor in both markets.

The purchase induced a renaissance within that I find difficult to elucidate and elaborate on with writing. Simply put, my mind decided to be a connoisseur of vintage video games. Because I was not as financially capable as I desired (still being a student, after all), I made a big purchase once every few months. This continued until midway through my second year of medical school, when I realized (only after all that time) that I simply spent too much money on these items.

The biggest purchase I made with regard to these systems was the Palmtex Super Micro. I guess it was what I really sought after, because my interest in collecting the ancient systems waned after I obtained the item. Aside from the fact that my savings were decimated, I also had to enlist the help of generous people to boost me into being able to purchase the system. Nearly two years removed from that purchase, I still have no regrets.

Just to rest your eyes, I guess.

After my much delayed catharsis, I really had no interest into purchasing more vintage video games. Occasionally I would purchase books and headphones on eBay, but I never purchased video games until about a month ago.

Last month, my interest for these video games irrupted once more. I think that it was heartbreak that did it to me: prior to it, I was happily purchasing both vintage and brand-new shirts on eBay. I honestly have difficulty explaining it: sometimes, my mind is even inscrutable to myself. All I can offer is that it was probably my heart’s defense mechanism to revel in what I previously enjoyed but have forgotten. The problem with this was that I was gravely interested in another system that would not merely decimate my savings: the purchase would actually halve it!

Despite the pangs I felt for the item, however, I knew that purchasing it was absolutely ridiculous. I was absolutely split between my rationality pulling me back, and my desire for compensation through the enactment of such a purchase. I guess for the latter part of me, it was my way of sublimation against my small personal tragedies. I could even qualify that phase as a quasi-obsession, because it pervaded a good amount of my thoughts. I then decided to compromise: I would purchase a vintage video game, but I will not purchase anything nearly as expensive as the Colorvision. I guess I knew deep within that it wasn’t as gripping as my chase for the Super Micro; in retrospect, it was one of my methods of coping with my abject failure.

I purchased an alternative at a tenth of the cost of the Colorvision, and in the truest etymological sense, my savings were decimated.

The reason why I’ve written these articles, however, was due to the second purchase I made a little after I bought the alternative. I got a combination LCD game and cassette player, and the reason I got it was that the seller capitulated to my cheap offer. I was not even interested in the item; however, because I thought its brand name sounded cool I hazarded to offer a cheap bid on it.

I was quite surprised when the seller acceded to my cheap bid, but as a responsible buyer I paid for it anyway. I’m also quite glad, because the two clashing parts of my mind have seemingly made peace with themselves. I actually thought that it was the package that arrived today, only to realize that it was actually the chess book I purchased more than a month ago (which is good, mind you). Although I still don’t know whether the second purchase got me over her, I’m still truly grateful to be rid of that hunger for something irrational and expensive. With this, I truly hope to get over that quasi-obsession – and that lady, as well.

Conclusion

I enjoyed writing the former a lot more than the later, and snickered to myself while doing it. The latter is, admittedly, my more natural way of writing, although I honestly prefer the former. I just wrote the latter to stop writing about the same things over and over: otherwise, my journal would be filled with write-ups on the verisimilar topic. I’m just glad this is over!

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2 Responses to “Two sides of a different coin: the Spectra of writing”

  1. Angelus Says:

    It’s ironic that your recovery process from a broken heart involves watching less anime and playing more games, whereas mine involves watching more and playing less!

    I started watching anime a lot more simply because it filled the hours that were left achingly empty by not having someone to chat to every evening and weekend, and I started playing less because gaming had such strong associations with my former relationship that it became painful even to think about it.

  2. Michael Says:

    Well, she liked anime quite a bit, too.

    And yes, it is painful. I even wrote about twenty pages on the same thing just because I wanted to get it right, and just because she also meant a lot to me. 🙂

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