So, I’m still playing dokkan battle, that free-to-play Dragon Ball Z iPhone game. It is worth noting that when you Google “Unlife Dokkan”, the third result is a song called “Kill Yourself”. That information felt apt.

Already, your complaints have been drowned out by the creaking machinery of writing that are finally warming up again. Look, I’ve been out of the game a while and this is what I’ve got right now. Welcome back from what feels like an eternity of sleep to talk Dragon Ball Z again. Laugh now, but one day I’ll release a book of essays on this shit, and then who’ll be laughing. Not me, because I’ll be in jail for copyright infringement.

It’s been 599 days since I first started playing this damn time suck. 599!! That exact number. I know it because every time I log in, it taunts me with a new reward and more on the horizon if I just stick with it a little bit longer. This arbitrary number has somehow become one of the most reliable measures of time since I got back to New York. I remember it distinctly: I was setting up my desk, preparing for my first crack at writing since returning to the East Coast, when Zack informed me that there was an iOS Dragon Ball Z game that he was playing. I told him to stop fucking describing it and tell me how to get the thing. I haven’t turned it off since. My undying love, maybe even lust, for Dragon Ball Z is a constant fuel that pushes me to never give up. The feeling having that in my pocket, always at my fingertips, was somehow comforting.

Every six months or so, they add a new system that takes the characters to the “next level”. First it was adding a dokkan awakening system, unlocking stronger stats for special characters that could then compete in tougher events. But when even that system became too common, they brought in LR characters, and made the dokkan awakenings more difficult for greater reward. And now, they have started a new “hidden potential” system, allowing you to boost specific skills and stats for your character of choice. I understand this is utter gibberish to most people that read this (like my mom). But my ultimate point is this:

It’s hard to think of a game that has captured the essential spirit of Dragon Ball Z as well as this one.

The idea of constantly training and ascending, finding a higher form, chasing that new definition of perfection in order to dominate your foes, at least until the next strongest enemy appears, is the very essence of Dragon Ball Z. The other games, specifically the fighting games, though flashy, never captured the real spirit of what was going on beyond the fights themselves. The drama was in the tension of ascension. The fighting is just a sick payoff, but the thing that really stays with me, and I think most Dragon Ball Z fans, is that chase for a greater power level, and never backing down in the face of a threat that seems too big, because it’s only too big right now. Hell, I even get my own Hyperbolic Time Chamber moment when I play in the bathroom, a minute of training spanning for what feels like an hour.

Because, in both the game and in Dragon Ball Z and, hell, even life, there’s always more. More challenges. More foes to fell. Always, always more.  And I love this game because it fools me into thinking I can win.

Because you still haven’t seen my final form….