For some of us, high school is a time full of intense, powerful friendships — and that’s the high school experience the Persona series portrays. But even for those of us who had it good, socially speaking, as teenagers, high school eventually becomes a memory, and those intense friendships don’t often last.
Writing for Kotaku, Amanda Yeo shares what it was like for her to rediscover that part of her high school experience in Persona 5, and how it felt to do it differently than she did in real life — to confide and open up in these imaginary friends, where she withdrew in real life under similar circumstances.
Objectively, I know my friends don’t care about me. They can’t care about me. They are writing and code, an animated fiction with a predetermined path. They are just as attached to me as they are the over 1.5 million others who have the game.
And it isn’t even me that they are friends with. It’s a version of me created to fit into the narrative of a video game.
Yet I felt valued. Trusted. Loved, even. They had seen me at my most vulnerable, knew me with all my faults, and still they rallied around me. I wasn’t afraid of being cut out or saying the wrong thing. I knew my friends inside and out, and no clumsy tongue or inconsiderate moment, nor time or distance could harm our relationships.
High school was where I learned self-consciousness, followed by self-doubt, followed by self-loathing. Some days I’d cry before school. Some days I’d cry in the school toilets. Some days the only thing that made me get out of bed was the knowledge that questions would be asked if I didn’t, and I was unable to explain myself.
In the full article, Yeo shares the ways her experience with Persona 5 helped her — even helping her be a better friend by showing her that there’s value to being vulnerable with the people who care about you. So head on over to Kotaku to check out the rest.