In My Loneliest Hours, 'Persona 5' Reminded Me of Friendship

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'It's a game that, at a time of anger, misery, and betrayal, when all I could consider was the past, started me on a track of bringing the future into greater focus.'

Though I grew up in a house devoted to screens, in which family time consisted solely of sitting silently in front of the television—and where I often retreated to my room and to video games—I never gave gaming credit as a formative experience until I became disabled. Once I was shorn of energy, however, a way to pass long hours of discomfort became increasingly valuable.

It wasn’t a meaningful substitute. Rather, an accessible way to remember the shades of my own life before being active became unsafe.’s dungeon-crawling, I wanted the routine, real-world things I was missing out on. In the game I studied, cleaned my room, remembered to water my plants, cooked, drank caffeine, even went fishing —things I once took for granted but now couldn’t do, even if I wanted to.

As the protagonist met more people, I began to relate to their stories with remarkable intensity. Ryuji, whose athletic aspirations are stolen by injury. Makoto, bullied into being a perfect student, only to ultimately crumble under insurmountable pressure. Yusuke’s artistic pursuits, derailed by those around him. Yoshida, who just wants people to listen to him. Futaba, housebound by ill health and a misplaced sense of guilt.


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