John Cena Is the Only Thing That Is Left Here

In the game, he is more superhuman than he is in real life: muscles swollen out from underneath low-rising socks—a man who can expose skin because he is not worried about exposure to the brambles left behind by the wind—someone who can bleed and not think anything of it because there has been nothing left to rust. There is no blood.

The Memory of Place

I cannot speak of it much. Like its tunnels, Moria is too serpentine, too dense, too dark. I have nothing good to say about that place.

Some Cities I Remember Building

Steel, granite, and glass reached for the heavens along a long curved peninsula, true downtown lying on a raised plateau overlooking a tropical bay, causing the blue and green and brown buildings to extend higher. Suburban sprawl, fields of factories, spiraled out from the dense center, bedroom communities and farming towns.


Unlike the unfamiliar neighborhoods I had to traverse in my Driver’s Ed car, the Noopy landmarks were straightforward and easy to map: Tom Nook’s place. Able Sisters. The town hall. The dump. The museum. Neighbors’ houses, the river, the bridges, the cliff, the sea.

A Horse Draws Near

Sometimes you have to earn the horse, like a weapon or a boat or an airship. You acquire it by completing a fetch quest for a cranky farmer, or jacking a horse out from under some random villager. You are not punished for this because you are saving the world.