“We are falling into the world. Everyone is on fire. There’s a ship above us but it’s coming apart just like a flower, alloy and fusion flash, pierced through and through.”
– Grimoire Card: Ghost Fragments, Exo
It all happened so unexpectedly. Months had been spent perusing Steam and other platforms for that feeling (and how to describe it?) of otherness, of being carried away into a place unknown, a place with a logic all its own, but a logic nonetheless, and thus a charm beyond words, an “is-ness” that in its essence carries the seed of “Fantasy” with a capital “F”. I bought a PS4 for a few reasons. Firstly, I found a cheap one on craigslist (picked it up from a halfway house, a fellow alcoholic getting rid of a gaming rig he no longer wanted or needed.) Secondly, it promised games not available to me as a PC user: The Last of Us, Bloodborne… and Destiny. The latter, being a First Person Shooter and a game born of the Halo series (which I had never really played), felt like the longest shot in the bunch. In fact I can still remember hesitating to pull the trigger, 40 bucks seeming like a mighty tall investment for a game I was likely to play for a couple of hours before losing interest.
“Differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal.”
– One definition of the word “queer”, Merriam Webster
I recently took about 10 days off from Destiny after playing it obsessively for over a month. When I came back to the game, landing on each planet felt like the first time all over again. “Where am I?” I thought. “This place is beautiful.” Destiny can do with a single sky what dozens of other games fail to do with their entire elaborate storylines. Last night I was on Venus, stopping to admire the green-orange puddles of unidentified liquid on the planet’s surface. My play sessions usually end in the same way: I am standing in The Tower, a gathering place for Guardians above the urban sprawl of the last city, from which are visible lush forests, a misty mountainscape, and, of course The Watcher, an ever-hanging maternal sphere floating above what remains of Humanity. Often a group of Guardians will be dancing in the middle of the plaza, and I will linger there for a moment, unwilling to trade Destiny‘s reality for Reality Itself.
“I hate that we’re carrying weapons. I understand the necessity. But I hold to my belief: there’s something beautiful out there. It’s up to us to reach it.”
– Grimoire Card: Ghost Fragments, Human
This series of articles will be my attempt to convey the feelings of queerness (both in the original etymological sense but also in the contemporary sense) that I have experienced playing Destiny. It might also be an incoherent mess of excitement related to the Spring Update and a recantation of my previous article’s claim that the storyline is not well written. I now believe that Destiny’s narrative is merely incoherently presented. This has grown increasingly clear as I slowly explore the Grimoire Cards that for some odd reason were not integrated into the game itself, but instead require a browser or app to peruse. In fact some of the best world-building and storytelling in Destiny was hindered by the problematic inner-workings of Bungie’s late-stage creative process leading up to the game’s initial release.
Anyways. I’ll be exploring why I have three female Exo characters, how Fashion works differently in the world of Destiny, why I can’t stop thinking about and returning to it, and why I believe it’s a perfect example of a game that transcends and/or circumvents its genre to deliver something other to the player. Stay tuned by joining us on social media.