Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact

At first, I assumed Genshin impact was an anime themed Breath of the Wild clone with gacha elements. And. I was largely right??... But how did Mihoyo manage to turn something that sounds on it’s surface so derivative and exploitative into something that genuinely transports me into a place I like to inhabit, think about, and has me coming back even after long periods of breaks? The love/hate relationship I have with this game is... Embarrassing.

At the beginning of my playtime, it filled the exploratory itch left behind from other left behind videogame worlds. It also helped that as I played, there was a steady rollout of interesting context all around me... As well as a lot of little things to discover that kept my dopamine starved brain lighting up in the way it likes to. While my time in Genshin has definitely settled into a more passive visitation whenever there’s new updates, it’s become a “comfort food” in a way that I hadn’t predicted.

But like any comfort food, it’s not always what I need, just tasty, comfortable, and easy. I’ve had a backlog of games that I want to get around to for a long time, not to mention A Life that, at some point, I must partake in (I guess), and Genshin has a way of eating time like I’ve never seen. I’m wondering if this isn’t a new phenomenon brought on by Genshin’s playstyle, but the natural continuation of the MMO, “games as a service concept”, with a focus on getting you hooked and keep on coming back. This gives me pause to think about whether this is fun of my own free will or “I am being actively exploited because of how my brain works”... And I don’t have the full answer! Because my instinct is to say “Genshin Impact is delightful, I haven’t even spent a cent, and I’ve progressed through the time just as well as mild spenders or even whales, and the lore is surprisingly gripping.”... But have I really not spent a cent or has what I’ve been spending been time?

Genshin Impact doesn’t have an ‘hours played’ counter and I’m thinking it’s probably by design. Because if I saw the ungodly amount of time I spent running errands for fantasy people back and forth, I’d probably feel bad. Maybe reconsider some of that time spent.

I’m not sure if this thought is even just about Genshin Impact anymore?? This is how I feel about most products, services, ads, ect... It’s in every companies best interest to maintain that ‘Top of Mind’  mentality which is, at it’s core, manipulative... And, iunno, I guess that’s just capitalism, baby, but I’m honestly exhausted trying to discern my own true thoughts from thoughts carefully inserted into my brain by companies, and Genshin is just the latest thing that’s made me think about this...

... ... ... Okay, let me take a step back from a moment. What was supposed to be a chill review of Genshin Impact is now Completely Unhinged. Let me start over...

     Genshin Impact is good :)
little dog in an airplane