Weeknotes: Dread — 10th October 2021

After, 19 years since the previous game, Metroid Dread released this weekend and I'm not kidding when I say that this is a major milestone in my life.

  • My first experience with Metroid was playing Metroid: Zero Mission in the slightly awkward period between Primary and Secondary school, where you're saying goodbye to all of these people who are somewhere between acquaintances and friends, and hello to all of these new ones. For me it was weird, I got a place in a selective school and lost some close friends over it.

    • Coincidentally that is around about when I first started feeling imposter syndrome.
  • I really got into Gameboy Advance games in 2005, and after playing Pokémon a bunch, Metroid had this powerful sense of adventure. There's an entire world, you're alone, and there's no (real) set path to finding your way.

  • Reader, this was a perfect metaphor for a kid going through a difficult set of changes who didn't really have any objective outlets.

  • Gradually, I went through many of the other Metroid games. Out-of-sequence, like the true Metroidvania experience.

  • Metroid Fusion, I replay at least once a year, it's packed with story but unlike the other Metroid games - you don't really have to think.

  • Eventually I arrived at Super Metroid. It stuck with me. The entire game — from its storytelling & design, through to its dissection and optimisation in the speedrunning community — is a bit of a rallying point for technology. I keep talking about it.

  • Imagine my excitement when I started reading about Metroid: Dread, a game set for release imminently on the Nintendo DS.

  • It never came.

  • The original announcement was 2005.

  • October, 2021: It has finally arrived.

  • That's 19 years since the last game, 16 since the announcement, and at least 15 that I've been waiting. Gosh.

  • It's been a long weekend. In Dread I've reached 100% item collection (a first, for a first-playthrough) and have just beaten the game. That's why this post is so late actually.

  • Genuinely reminds me of everything I loved, but with a few refreshing twists which feel actually fresh and not gimmicky.

  • I also have opinions, but enough about me.

  • Kudos, all.

It's been a few weeks since I last wrote one of these. Just over a month, in fact. There's a reason for that! I've finally restored a slightly nicer publishing workflow.

This also means I can now get back to my writing backlog, just in time for a few days off at the end of the week.

  • Last weekend my family surprised me in my new flat, for a visit. We ordered Russian food and drank a bottle of Kindzmarauli. This wasn't possible a year ago. Wow, I needed that.

  • What else have I been up to? Well, making music mostly. I'm not happy or confident enough to publish any of it publicly, but thanks to James, Kara and Lucy for all of your feedback so far. I really, really appreciate it.

  • Rowan I really enjoyed our coffee too! Unfortunately this doesn't come through as a webmention because I haven't over-engineered that bit of the publishing pipeline yet. Congratulations, new home owner!

    • (I enjoyed hanging out with people who don't do webmentions too!)
    • Yeah, enabling webmentions is probably a useful side-project?
  • As more people return to the City of London, and to our office in particular, I'm starting to struggle with it.

    • My standups coincide with the optimal travel-into-work times, aka, when the Waterloo-and-City line isn't rammed. Yes, really, it's rammed again. Queues and all. What the heck October?!
    • Getting a better working-from-home setup just jumped in priority.
    • Focusing while more and more people are (and more and more interesting things are happening) around you — is not easy. Noise-cancelling doesn't cut out visual cues.
    • On the other hand, the FOMO of missing out on in-person human interaction is a powerful force
    • I guess this is why people make and maintain friendships outside of school/work.
  • Oh, while grabbing dinner with a friend, a nearby Bloomberg PM was loudly complaining about something they were dealing with related to a project that I'm working on. Yikes was that awkward to overhear. Reader, be careful if you've gotta complain about work in public: you never know who might hear you.

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© Alex Wilson 2024