Things I Cannot Change

Finding friends in Persona 5.

It’s difficult to describe.

Nostalgia, but for something that never existed. Resentment for things outside my control. Longing, but for possibilities that belong to a remote past.

The feeling of watching something unfold that you needed but can no longer access because it so depends on the time in which it was required. In the case of Persona 5, watching a group of outcasts come together to overcome the perils of their formative years.

It didn’t strike me straight away. For hours, Persona 5 felt no different from the JRPG norm. Then I met Makoto. Irritating, a stickler for the rules, and immediately disliked. I, too, did as I was told; was the subject of rumours because no one believed I could be so one-dimensional – driven towards academic success by seniors with no regard for the social restrictions it placed on me. Why would I want to be followed around by my analogue?

But Makoto doesn’t continue to acquiesce.

Weary of playing for the establishment, of the misappropriated authority of her elders; tired of the guilt-trips and admonitions, she literally rips the mask of conformity from her eyes.

In the Phantom Thieves, she finds a group with whom she can identify. Who accepts her for who she is rather than who she might become. To her seniors, she’s a pawn; to her friends: a leader.

Things I could never do – people I could never find. Even when I needed them the most. No mask to tear away, no magical adversary to unite me with others, only a distant past I can no longer influence.

Persona 5 is a game about battling authority and the monsters it creates; about finding individuality within the collective. How was I to know it was also a game about the things I cannot change?

By Geoffrey Bunting

Geoffrey Bunting is a disabled freelance journalist, author, and book designer. He writes on a range of subjects including entertainment, gaming, accessibility, and history. Besides Into The Spine, he is featured in Wired, Inverse, History Today, The Face, Rock Paper Shotgun, and others. He dreams of someone paying him to watch Korean dramas and or Pitch Perfect all day - he also often dreams about losing his car and he doesn't know why. You can find him @geoffreyreads on Twitter.

Leave a Reply