Video: File System Aging – 1. Defragmentation

Hey, come watch Rab Florence’s new weekly video series for us.

Rab Florence digs deep for beautiful PC gaming memories before they’re lost forever in this affectionate series about games, time and life.

Remember to subscribe to the RPS YouTube channel for more of whatever it is we do.

This post was funded by the RPS Supporter program.


  1. leeder krenon says:

    man. powerful.

  2. Bracknellexile says:

    I…um… I appear to have some dust in my eye. ‘Scuse me a mo….


    Excellent stuff, Rab. I’m sure the wean will appreciate it in years to come.

    • thedosbox says:

      There’s a lot of dust flying around today.

      This is beautiful.

  3. RobF says:

    Beautiful stuff, man. Just… yeah.

    • lordcooper says:

      I have spent years thinking you were Robert Florence. Is my life is a lie?

      • RobF says:

        It makes a change from everyone thinking I’m Terry Cavanagh when I meet them in person.

        I’m such a disappointment to everyone.

  4. dangermouse76 says:

    Just gonna go stand in the rain for a bit….cause……

    Ccant wait to see the rest of your journey into these spaces we find and put ourselves in.

  5. Trinnet says:

    Fantastic video – looking forward to the rest of this series.

  6. bitscreed says:

    “We all deserve a million million million places to hide.”

    That line hit me really hard since my first, and still most fondly-remembered of such places was Mike Singleton’s Lords of Midnight. Despite all its virtual dangers Midnight was one of the safest places I knew when I was 11 years old (for reasons I won’t go into here) and this video reminded me of that.

    Great vid Rab. I look forward to watching more.

  7. Detournemented says:

    My parents have never understood why I enjoy video games.

    The older I get I wonder if my time has been misspent.

    Than I remember all the worlds I have I seen.

    I embrace my life in digital.

  8. SlimShanks says:

    I enjoyed watching this. But… personally I would prefer more talking and less disjointed, dissonant video. I realize that was intentional, but it didn’t do anything for me. I really liked what you talked about, and I liked that you showed us some emotion. Stories of all mediums and kinds, but in this case videogames, can be profoundly impactful. Thank you for taking that seriously.

  9. Synesthesia says:

    Dude, this is amazing. Your daughter is so fucking lucky.

    I have so many wonderful memories. I remember when my friend stole my FFVII’s disc 2 (borrowed without me knowing, actually) and he killed the underwater weapon that was destroying me. After that, i started going for ruby.
    I remember everything. Where I was sitting, the exact lighting, what tv, the sound of my brother’s piano teacher behind the next wall. I remember getting very close. Casting knights of the round table -ugh- again. And then… ruby flashed a few times and died. I yelled victory, and my brother stormed out of his piano lesson, to come celebrate with me, to see the slain beast.

    Then velius, the hinging point of FFT. MK4. RE2. Oh… resident evil 2. Now I want to do something like this. A travel diary. This is very inspiring.
    Thanks man.

  10. Kefren says:

    Really nicely played. I had expected something really about defragmentation (“Watching numbers crunch and evolve was almost as mesmerising as the Windows 98 disk defragmenter”) but didn’t come away disappointed.

    • Fenix says:

      Haha that makes 2 of us! I have spent so much time staring at Windows defragmenting my drives… and then clicking around enjoying my `fast` defragmented hard disks.

  11. ThatFuzzyTiger says:

    Genuinely beautiful video, thank you.

  12. Hensler says:

    Wow. Good stuff.

    I played Shogo, but what this really got me to remember G-NOME, which came out a bit earlier. And that got me to thinking about my friend who introduced me to G-Nome and passed away when we were in 2nd year of high school. We knew G-Nome like you knew Shogo. I haven’t thought about either of them in years, but this triggered something – very happy memories. Thanks, Rab.

  13. BooleanBob says:

    Oh man.

  14. Spacewalk says:

    I imagine it looks like that all the time in your part of the world.

  15. mumblez says:

    Fuck me that was bit powerful. Almost sounds rude to say im lookin forward to the next part of the series.

    If Limmy turns up and gets profound im gonna start greetin

  16. BluePencil says:

    Isn’t this where the youth say “the feels” and post a crying emoticon? Well, I’m an old bugger and won’t be doing any of that.

    Really enjoyed that video. Not the sort of thing you associate with game journalism at all and that’s a spectacularly good thing.

    I felt like I didn’t quite follow Rab on his journey, I went off at the turning, thinking about spending time with parents. It could be argued that what was going on in the bedroom may not compare to what was going on in dad’s head in the greenhouse. I was the same, though, I’ll be clear: spent all my time in the other room playing on my Spectrum. My dad usually nothing more than an irritation. It’s funny to think that I ended up getting Scrabble on my Spectrum and so dad ended up spending hundreds of hours alone in the same room away from my mum playing that.

    I still spend far more time on a computer (games or otherwise) than with real people. I love it but I know I do it because I have ISHOOS and that I’ve made a conscious decision to have a far more limited life but one that feels infinitely more comfortable. Is it a good thing? I think it’s good enough. But not the best.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      That’s a very nice bit of writing too, and compliments – or contrasts – the video.

      It’s tempting to think that computer games have introduced this new (‘worrying’) propensity for solitude, or living in a fantasy world, but I think – if one is that way inclined – one would have found the same shelter in literature or as Rab suggests, greenhouses and plants etc.

  17. InfamousPotato says:

    That was quite beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  18. daimonahte says:


    That was brilliant.

  19. Easy says:

    Live Long and Prosper (sorry, but am little bit sad and in a way I thought that was also relevant to our formative experiences)

    Thank you Rab.

  20. whilesleepinghesaid says:

    Just wow. I never played SHOGO as much as you did but for some reason this game has always stood out in my mind among the fragments of memories I have in all my years of gaming. For some reason it has always held a special place in my memories and for this reason your video has special meaning for me. Thank you.

  21. frenz0rz says:

    Christ, Rab. Wow.

    I feel like I ought to type something more than that, but it wouldn’t really do it justice, y’know?

    Ok, well, gaming… gaming is something we’ve never encountered before. You explore new worlds, you experience and you smile and you feel. But at the same time you try to find a way to reconcile those feelings with spending a vast amount of time alone, in a room, in front of a screen. Is it wasted time because your loved ones think it is? Is that time you could have spent with them? Did that time you spent gaming have more value than that of those friends and family who spent theirs elsewhere? Or is this hobby, no, this life of ours truly a waste of our precious, finite time on Earth?

    Fuck, I mean, you try so hard to pull apart the memories and find some meaning in them. I have brilliant, blissful memories of my mid-teens spent wandering around Ashenvale and Feralas, utterly losing myself in that experience. That nostalgia will never leave me, and is a great source of comfort. The music especially. There are countless others; a Sunday afternoon discovering Unreal Tournament, clear blue winter skies outside, the smell of roast beef drifting up from the kitchen and my mother and younger siblings returning home from church; hours before and after school poured into Age of Empires 2, claiming every second of free time I could . But my parents didn’t understand, and my friends were all off doing other things. Getting into fights, having girlfriends, taking drugs; for better or for worse, living life. Without realising at the time, I’d traded a lot of that. Do I regret it? I don’t really know. It’s history now.

    There is a quote from David Eagleman: “There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” By gaming, in a room, on our own, do we consign that third, final fate to a much earlier point in time than we otherwise would? Are we, and our experiences, truly lost to time? And does it matter?

    It’s 4am, I’m drunk, and I’m rambling. Rab, if you take one thing from my post – please never stop. I’ve been following this merry band since my first issue of PCG in 2003, and you’re my favourite contributor to RPS by a galactic mile. Thanks.

    • Capgrassyndrome says:

      Rab. Do you regret, ever, that you and your Dad had different places to hide? Or that there’s a need to hide? Is it dissociation, is it avoidant personality disorder or some or damn fool thing? I live in a golden home, me and the wife love each other so much, but hours sometimes go by when we’re in different rooms. Couldn’t you argue that’s just stupid? How much will I regret that when she’s gone? And here’s the other problem. In your dad’s greenhouse, he nurtured memories, grew them, watched thoughts and a sense of reality and life blossom from them. Our greenhouses are far to busy to allow that. Too loud. Are we forgetting the business of what I want to call, a bit pretentiously, existential rumination because we’re too busy lighting up that reward circuit with kills and levels?

  22. amateurviking says:

    Oh man, I’m welling up here. Lovely comments too.

    I was worried that this oft mooted ‘Rab on Gaems’ had been canned after all the unpleasantness of the last year (understandable!).

    Glad it’s here finally!

  23. Philopoemen says:

    I must have been the only one that found the video depressing, rather than powerful.

    no judgement yet, because the series is just starting, but so far not my cup of tea.

  24. ansionnach says:

    Wow, that was great. Thanks. This stuff means a lot to me. So does my time. Don’t want to spend an hour of it on a game, book, play, film that I don’t like. I’ll just put it down and go for a walk or cycle. Maybe alone, maybe with somebody. I might even tell them about it. Hopefully without boring them to tears… but even if they’re not exactly interested, maybe seeing that fiery passion in my eyes gives them some joy. In the same way it does when I tune out of what a friend or loved-one is saying and just concentrate on their face… and enjoy.

    Peace mate. You’re a true poet – one with the balls to draw a conclusion.

  25. ansionnach says:

    Oh. Outcast was great. I really enjoyed my time there. If you get all analytical maybe you couldn’t hold it up as one of the all-time greats but it had so much heart and earnestness. It was something you could love and even appreciate its flaws.

  26. RARARA says:

    Looking forward to the series, Rab.

  27. bonuswavepilot says:

    Cheers Rab.

    The “they’re all important” perspective is one of those things that’s easy to believe intellectually, but harder to keep a grip on emotionally.

    I was never big on the shooters, but the heartbeat of Populous II behind the double-left-right-click of flattening the landscape, the layout of Dungeon Master’s levels and its runic magic system, pixel-precision master of Gravity Force… I’m glad I had these places to hide.

  28. TheSplund says:

    Ah the futility of existence. We are merely memories, some of which we share, but most simply die with us. The trick is to enjoy them when they happen, savor those you can recall, but never think they’ll never be surpassed..

  29. lttrog says:

    like tears in the rain…

  30. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    I think Rab’s writing and film on all of gaming (board / computer / party) will be canon in twenty years or so, when gaming is recognised as a cultural product as important as literature, film, art etc.

    An first class critic and an interesting artist.

  31. Kazz says:

    Rab, that was lovely, thanks for sharing.

  32. Rinimand says:

    My kids just turned 7 and started playing video games with me. OK, now I want a greenhouse.

  33. Jubaal says:


  34. qrter says:

    Lovely, Rab, just lovely. I’ve been a big fan of your work since the Consolevania days, and I’ve loved seeing you grow over the years as a writer and a commentator, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious.

    I lost my dad unexpectedly about three months ago. When Half-Life 2 had just come out (2003 I think?), I’d bring my shitty laptop back home (shitty, as in: I could make and then drink a cup of coffee in the time it took to load HL2) and my dad would come sit next to me, while I would play the game. He’d never play himself, just watch me playing, making little comments, we’d joke back and forth. For hours.

    I’d forgotten about that. Your video reminded me of it. Thank you.

  35. ffordesoon says:

    Holy shit, Rab.

    I was watching this video and wondering why everyone was sobbing over it. It seemed like a lovely little wander through games past, but it wasn’t tugging at my heartstrings.

    Then, “Daddy.”

    That got me. That really fucking got me.

    Terrific piece, man.

  36. qrter says:

    Forgot to ask – I’d like to know what the music used in the clip is.

  37. spacedyemeerkat says:

    What a wonderful film. Thank you.

  38. Chillz says:

    I’m sitting here, on the edge of my chair, being on the verge of tears. What a wonderful short, I can’t even finish this comment properly due to a bit of a feelings overload, can’t wait for the next part. Thank you so very much.

  39. zipdrive says:

    That was very nice, but, I have to say that as a non-Brit, I found it extremely difficult to understand what Rab was saying. Any chance to get subtitles? The automatic close-captions are crap (at understanding Rab).

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Only got around to watching this now but that was lovely.