Nier Automata – How A Video Game Told Me A Lot About Myself

“And being alive is pretty much a constant stream of embarrassment.”

For the past two weeks, I’ve put about 60 hours into Nier Automata, and I want to sit down and immediately replay it, simply to digest the story once again. However, as great as it was, and as much as I loved it as is, it will probably never have the crazy impact that it did on the initial run.

This doesn’t mean it’s not a good game. It’s easily one of the best games I’ve ever played! But this game did something, and something I can’t talk about without warning.

There will be spoilers past this point! Please do not continue if you have not seen Ending E!

If you were linked to this post directly, I will post a few hi-res screenshots to keep you from seeing the spoilers, and get out unscathed.

You’re still here? Good. Let’s get to business.

Last week, I had the opportunity to finally finish ending E from Nier Automata. This segment features a shmup-like sequence where you fly through the credits and shoot down the names and roles of the staff who worked on the game. It’s not as simple as that, as you are having to still dodge bullets and so forth. The further you get through the credits sequence, the more and more bullets come flying at you, with particular roles taking more and more shots to take down.

It becomes increasingly difficult- to near impossible at the end.

When I played through this section, I was definitely running low on energy- I had been up for 22 or 23 hours at this point. And two, the game brought forward one of my biggest issues. I guess, in this situation, you can call it a flaw. It absolutely was in my case, and this will be the meat of this post.

This particular ‘boss battle’ basically managed to single-handedly make this issue show itself in its bright and bold glory. Or maybe ‘not so bright.’ Not sure at this point.

Those that know me know that I can be real stubborn, but the biggest part that really hit home is that, even in the past two years, I’ve since learned that it’s really hard for me to accept help. 1) I don’t want to burden others- I feel like I may drag them down with me if I did accept the help, and 2) I can’t tell people how much I want to accomplish things by my own merit. This is definitely a failing of mine, that I don’t know when to ask for help, and sometimes, I’m very stubborn in my refusal to ask for help.

It has put me into trouble many times- I have an incredible and supporting family that has had my back entirely through my period of unemployment… but even then, I felt immense amount of guilt any point I crawled back to them to ask for help, albeit in money, or other matters. I felt useless and like I was just hurting people more, and that echoes back into me and made me feel even more lost in what was a seemingly helpless situation.

And somehow, something as completely innocuous as this video game has shown me this flaw in such a powerful and incredibly moving way, that it hits home so incredibly hard.

It didn’t happen until at one point when I just stopped doing the fight to rest my eyes a bit and I was hearing the music playing in the background. That was when I finally started to actually hear the lyrics and get the meaning of the song and what it was telling me- I couldn’t shoulder the burden alone. I wish that someway, somehow | I can save every one of us | But the truth is that I’m only one girl. Then, and only then, did I realize that maybe- maybe I should choke back my pride just a bit, and continue on to finish the game.

The video I clipped together- now that I’m (somewhat) more awake actually kind of hurt to watch. I even found myself tearing up a little bit at it, but there were so many words of encouragement everytime I died before I finally accepted the offer of help. (From a player named Cybele. Thank you!) It honestly made me feel like I could do it, and I felt like I was almost done.

But after I accepted help, I realized how much I had to go still, and that surprised me. That, while I was determined to do it on my own- and not ‘fail’ at it, I ended up finding out that maybe I couldn’t have powered through it like I first thought. And even with the help, and the number of ‘ships’ alongside mine to power through the rest of the credits, it was still difficult, as it sometimes is when you need to make such an acceptance. Maybe letting go of your pride a bit will hurt, but it will pay off in the long-run and ensure that you will complete your task.

I’m not going to spend this post telling how much I loved Nier Automata (I absolutely did, by the way- a masterpiece in its own right)- but more that I don’t think I’ve had a game impact me on a really deep and personal level like this, and as a result, it will hold a really important (and powerful) place in my heart.

Bravo, Yoko Taro. Bravo, indeed. Thank you.

And to close, I’ll leave the message I left for other players:
I’m not a strong shooter. One thing is certain: never give up the struggle.

However, I’ll do my best to try and remember this experience the next time, when something goes wrong for me, that I realize that I really do need that help.

3 thoughts on “Nier Automata – How A Video Game Told Me A Lot About Myself”

  1. I honestly struggled with whether this response should be public or not. My final choice in deciding TO do so is based not on malice, but a need to be honest and forthright in response to your own honesty.

    I’ve never met your blood family directly, but I can tell you this with absolute certainty: You have, through your stubbornness, injured your family (both local and extended)– sometimes even grievously. However, as your adopted brother, it is also my duty to tell you that it’s our duty to bear those wounds when needed, to be there for you when you need us.. just as you’ve been here for us when we’ve needed you.

    Perhaps ironically, I have been struggling with the same question of late in regards to my health situation. I only hope we both will have the wisdom needed to do the right thing for our respective situations.

  2. just saying. but you do realize that the endgame is to help people clear through the very exact trial at the end game. but to do that, the person in question who is helping you, will have to delete all their saved file and data. something that the early nier predecessors also do.

    1. I’ve played all of Drakengard and Nier. I know this is something they do, and I did give up my save to help another. That just wasn’t part of the meaning of my self reflection in this post.

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