Quarantine Reflection #3: Virtual Traveling

By D.V.

Edited by Dana Eunise Cruz

I was never fond of staying at home all the time. The apartment was quiet, too quiet for my taste, and it was dark. Being the only one in the room for the moment, I dared not spend all of my waking days in it. Even on the weekends, it was rare for me to spend time lounging in my quarters. Listening to my highly critical thoughts and being cooped up was never a leisure I would enjoy.

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Poster by Aimary Rubio

On most days, Id make a couple of visits to the mall, checking out if there were new Sci-Fi books at Fullybooked or a new PS4 game at Datablitz after work. Then, weekends meant binging movies at a friend’s home, taking a stroll in the streets, visiting a beach, or eating lunch at a fine restaurant. Sometimes, it was even two or three plans in a single day. More or less, I would usually come home later than seven o’clock in the night after my initial plans for the day.

I didn’t mind since I enjoyed looking at people bustling about in the night-stained streets and listening to indie music while inside a rustic jeepney. I wholeheartedly relied on these travel routines to keep me sane, and you can guess how anxious I was when the mayor announced the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). But I kept faith that I can hold on ’til the end.

As quarantine began, I already made plans on places I wanted to visit and goals I wanted to achieve when it ends. I felt confident that the quarantine would not last a month, but anxiety and nervousness knocked on my door when I heard that ECQ would extend. I knew I was going to get restless from being cooped up for another month or two. Although I still had my work keeping me preoccupied, the need to travel called out to me. As I said, any form of traveling was an escape from my thoughts and I needed it.

Only God knows of my attempts at biding time until the ECQ gets lifted. Painting, writing, and reading — none of which gave me the satisfaction I needed. I almost surrendered from trying up until I picked up Final Fantasy XV again.

Final Fantasy XV was a PS4 game that I bought months prior to the start of ECQ. It was from a franchise known to have bred the likes of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and X, all of which were successful in their time of release. With high expectations, I tried the game. Ultimately, the gaming system and the graphics did not disappoint. It did not feel as if I was playing a game, but more like I was in the virtual world itself.

I joined hunts and quests that entailed killing high-level bosses and taking requests from other characters. Quests and hunts were a huge part of the thrill of playing FFXV; literally, the quests took a huge part of the game. From delivering goods to fending off monsters, there were countless supplies of requests, and it may take a player a month to finish all of it. Nevertheless, each task gave me opportunities to understand the lore and the people in the game more.

Furthermore, the open-world aspect of the game was unlike any other I had visited. It was nonlinear and massive. Which meant moving from one area to the other took a long time whether by car or by chocobo, a flightless bird used for transportation in the game.

The long journey didn’t hinder the gaming experience though, as it was part of the things I loved about FFXV. Besides, who would want to pass up looking at the hyperrealism in the game? The beach, the mountains, the forests, the swamps, and even the creatures inside — all were perfectly crafted with high attention to detail. Eventually, the virtual world sucked me in, and I found myself never wanting to put down the controller.

I spent the remainder of my quarantine engaging in the game that I didn’t notice it was June already. However, I wasn’t worried since the virtual world of FFXV was truly addicting and amazing. I found another medium for traveling, but who knew it was in the safety of my home and in a PS4 game disc.

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