Why can’t we be happy?
I recently played Mainichi, a game by Mattie Brice. Although I spent quite some time with it, I couldn’t reach a happy ending. Or at least a reasonable ending that would satisfy the condition of “happy ending”. I tried as many combinations as I could, I avoided people that could hurt Mattie as most as I could, but the ending was always the same: no happy ending, no resolution, no conclusion.
And then Mainichi lead me to think that, maybe, her life is like that. And, perhaps, all of our lives are like that, we just don’t realize it. Mattie’s everyday life is full of choices and path she can chose from, but at the end there is no “solution” or “magical conclusion” to the issues or problems we face. You may avoid that harasser one day, but he will be there in the future. How many times will you be able to avoid him?
How many times in your life will you be able to change sidewalks? Or ignore potentially harmful comments other people make about you? They are there everyday, and even if you avoid them today, tomorrow they will be there, merciless.
Mainichi made me think of how unprotected we actually are in the presence of others. Friends, family, acquaintances: we are subject to what they think of us, and of what they say to us. Even when I managed to take Mattie to the safest possible route, she would be confronted with a not-so-reassuring advice from her friend, discouraging her.
It is almost as if society builds us, and that every moment we live by this foreign perspective. It doesn’t matter how much I dress up, or how much I rebel against dressing up, or how careful I am with my manners, people are going to think of me what they want to think, not what I expect them to think. And what happens after that? Another day, fairly similar to the previous one.
Mercilessly, Mainichi doesn’t have an ending. It just starts over, and over again. It is frightening, because you know there is no conclusion waiting for you. There is only the next day, which is, appallingly, another version of today.
Play Mainichi here.
Mattie’s Brice website here.