Today I did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I sat down, fired up TrackMania (United Forever), picked a server and spent some time just playing.
I can still remember the day when a classmate of mine said “hey, check out this new free game called ‘TrackMania Nations'”. I did, and I was immediately hooked. That was almost three years ago, which might not be too long, but in the world of videogames, it is.
Since then, TrackMania has been with me almost every day. Yet, I’ve never been much of a player. I’ve organized contests, events, written articles, helped newbies, built tracks, spent endless of hours here on TMX, and so on. But I seldom actually sit down and just play. If I play a track, it’s because someone has asked me to, or because it’s part of some event or contest I’m working on.
Just playing a few tracks at random online obviously isn’t a new deal for me, though. Of course I’ve spent my fair share of time in-game racing random tracks, and of course I’ve loved it. After all, isn’t the online part one of TM’s strongest assets?
Today was different, though. It’s been a while since last time, and with an extraordinary eventful summer, it feels like it’s been even longer. I’ve moved to a different country, I’ve been doing a lot of travelling, and I’ve been generally away from TM during the past few months. That made today’s launch of TM extra special. It didn’t feel like coming home, it felt like opening the door to an entirely new home for the first time. Weird but exciting. And I immediately knew I would like the place.
With a new school year starting, a lot of changes made during the summer, and generally more new hobbies, I will, however, slow down the TM activities quite a bit. No more late night blogging, no major events (maybe the occasional minor one, when I can’t help myself).
But still, I’m not leaving TM entirely! Just slowing things down. And who knows, perhaps not being too dependent on TM as a whole will make it easier and far more enjoyable to play that out-of-the-blue online race I did today. It would certainly feel more relaxed, thus making the experience more of a pleasure.