Friday 5 January 2018

#404 Burning leather

My hips hurt. I'd been walking for well over an hour, plus the ninety minutes I'd walked earlier and was about ready for my evening meal. Except it was pasta. Again.

In an effort to start using the kitchen more, I'd purchased a bag of the stuff at the beginning of the week to have with vegetables. The only problem was that the supermarket hadn't had anything smaller than 500g. It'd be another day before I got through it.

The walking thing was new too. 2018 was going to be the year I slept like a baby. The best way to do that? Knacker myself out by walking for three hours. Well, three and a half. I had a tendency to overestimate my sense of direction.

Back in my twenties, I'd spent a couple of months playing World of Warcraft. As anyone who's played the game will know, that means two months of actual game play, not the period of time during which I played it. Fifteen hundred hours. I didn't play it anymore but my ears had pricked up at some recent news.

Six expansions and thirteen years after the game's launch, a seventh expansion had been announced but there was also an even more intriguing development. Classic servers. Over its immense lifespan, the game had been adapted and modified so much that it had lost some of its character. Progress had become too fast and too easy. The solution? Relaunching an unmodified version of the game. They were going to take players right back to 2004.

One of the key ways in which the classic game had been different was that mounts (horses and dragons) had been much harder to acquire, which meant many hours were spent walking from place to place. As boring as it may sound, it made the game much more immersive, which was one of the reasons they were bringing it back. I couldn't agree more.

Before I'd started running, I had very little knowledge of the streets of South London. Even now, I was discovering new areas regularly. To really get a feel for a place, it was necessary to abandon public transport. Sure, I got lost now and then but that was all part of the journey.

This afternoon, I came across a building that had been built as though it was some kind of spike springing up out of the ground. Like The Shard but at an angle. I walked around to where its roof met the ground and to my delight, discovered that the whole top surfacae was covered in grass. You could run up it and then peer down several stories to the road below.

By the time I'd hiked to Clapham and back, I'd definitely achieved the knackered part but there was something satisfying about it too. The small challenge and monotony added an immersive quality to the activity, just like in the game. Maybe in years to come, we'd make simulations of what life was like many decades ago and people would flock to try them. Just for the experience of having to travel around everywhere on foot.

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