It's Getting Harder For Me to Play Games About Teenagers

I had this realization earlier this year when I was playing Persona 5 which was, it's getting harder for me to play games about teenagers. This thought occurred to me as I was making the final decision about which teenage girl I would be setting my teenage protagonist up with. It felt too intimate a decision for me, an adult to be making on an emotional basis. I felt too old to be, that, involved in teenage romance.

 Credit: Atlus

Credit: Atlus

This wasn't always an issue though. When I was a teenager, while I was playing Persona 4 at 15, I developed a petty crush on Naoto Shirogane, a fictional character in my same damn age group. It wasn't creepy really at all for me to be fully invovled with the decision making progress for my protagonist. I could roleplay the situation to my small heart's content.  But, as a grown ass adult making decisions for a 17-year-old kid I felt like the creepiest person alive.

 

I kept thinking about how goddamn young they were and how absurd it was for me to be involved in such a way in a teenage romance. When I play role playing games I usually try to at least put myself partially in the mindset of the character but, in this case, that felt like an awful thing to do.  I needed more distance. Eventually, I just had to separate myself from the protagonist and play the game more as an ensemble plot than being in the role of my own character. While that worked, I also felt like my experience was changed for the worse from my time with Persona 3 & 4.

A couple days ago, I began to play Danganronpa V3 and so far, I've been making very slow progress. It's another game, with a completely separate premise, starring a cast of flat out weird high school kids in a really high stress situation (to put it mildly.) It's also an extraordinarily vulgar game. I've never played a game I've felt deserved an M rating more than Danganronpa V3. From an animatronic bear with chest hair talking about his boner to two high schoolers have a heated drag fest based entirely on their cup size, I already feel like I'm in a place an adult shouldn't be, listening to things an adult shouldn't want to hear.

And indeed I don't. As a result, I've found myself playing in increasingly shorter intervals in order to not spend too much time in that mental space. It feels a lot like when a teacher is in a room full of teenagers and they intentionally try to involve them in a compromising conversation. It makes me want to run for the hills. As I get older I think this will start happening to me more often. I don't want to be in this situation again and as I get older, it's been getting harder and harder to ignore the extreme oddness of the situation. But, unfortunately, that means, I'll probably have to stop playing some of my favorite series.
 

Sigh.