What is your quest? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In our continuing look at Edward Castronova’s Life Is A Game, it is time to talk about quests. Quests are something common to a gamer. When I boot up Final Fantasy XIV in the afternoon, I see a series of quests that I can undertake. Some are simple. Some could just involve talking to someone and reporting back. Some could involve exploring a dungeon. Some could involve defeating a powerful enemy.
Gamers know the rule about quests. We can have the ultimate goal of the game overall, but it’s easy to get caught up in sidequests. These are quests that you take that are not essential to the story, but have their own benefits. Often times, the sidequests can be more enjoyable than the ultimate quest.
Sometimes also, the sidequests you can do in light of the situation can get hysterical. I was playing FF XIV and had a scene once where a baby in a skirmish got tossed in a body of water. Normally, the player jumps in immediately and rescues the child, but I had a pop-up for a requested dungeon raid come up then so the child managed to survive for half an hour while I raided a dungeon. Tough kid. In Final Fantasy VII, the meteor heading towards the planet will wait while you’re busy doing chocobo races. Also, sure, Zelda is in trouble, but hey, Link wants to go fishing!
Quests give us meaning and purpose. We want to have something that we are aiming for. C.S. Lewis once said that a ship on the water needs to know three things. First off, how to stay afloat. Second, how to avoid hitting other ships. Third, why it is out there in the first place.
Quests give us a purpose to be out there in the first place. Some quests we have involve small goals. You might have a quest to do laundry today or to go to the grocery store and pick up some items. You might not think of these as quests, but they are. You have a goal that you need to accomplish and you set out to do what it takes to accomplish that goal.
Some quests are much more long-term. As a student at a seminary, I have a goal of getting my Master’s and eventually a Ph.D. I also have a goal right now of meeting a good Christian girl and getting married. On the way, there can be several other minor quests on the goal of these quests.
You won’t go on a date unless you ask the girl out. On my end, I am also currently speaking to a therapist here at the seminary who is helping me with social relationships for the goal so I can learn to be social and interact with people better. It’s super difficult if you are on the spectrum. That’s a quest to get me to this quest.
To get the degree, I must pass the class. To pass the class, I must do the assignments. That means going to the library and reading the books. (And if anyone is feeling generous….)
Ultimately, something that has to be asked is what is my overall ultimate quest. Link’s is normally to rescue Zelda and defeat Ganon, again. (Though technically, based on the timeline, it is a different Link every time. If you don’t understand, it’s okay. No one really understands the Zelda timeline.) In Final Fantasy VII, it’s to stop the meteor and defeat Sephiroth.
For us, part of the idea of the game of life is we have to figure out our ultimate quest. What are we here for? What do we want to accomplish? Everyone wants to accomplish something. What is our goal? Earn the most money? Have the most fun? Be a good person? Some combination? What drives us?
If we want to play the game well, we need to find out. Otherwise, we could be questing for nothing.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)