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A Phantasy Star Online Universe Escape

I just finished maybe a couple of hours playing Phantasy Star Online 2 on my PC. Sega released the game in Japan back in 2012 and it has just now been released in North America, first on Xbox One and then on PC a few weeks ago. I started playing on Xbox One during the closed beta and now mostly play on my PC to enjoy higher resolution graphics.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with the game. I was amazed how much it drew me in during the beta, maybe because I needed a new distraction from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It was a ready escape that I was all too willing to take. Even after moving to PC, I still use my Xbox One controller because it just feels right to me.

But current events again have given me pause. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the explosive protests that have erupted in the United States are a stark reminder that the world can be an ugly place beyond the actions of an impersonal virus.

As a Black American, I feel deep sadness and rage that my life doesn’t seem to matter in this country. And while playing a game gives the relief of a temporary escape, returning to life often brings guilt and depression. I need to do more, but what? Despite the protests, worldwide no less (thank you International brothers and sisters!), I still fear that little will change.

I will press on. I will level up this character, and level up this world so that maybe my grandchildren’s lives will matter.

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