This is something every gamer will recognize. And although I am not a gamer, I still feel it deservers to be said: Muscle memory is amazing. Put in enough repetitions, and your body will remember them for life.
Even though I wrote that I am not a gamer – because I do not spend much time playing games – it was during gameplay (ironically enough) that this thought was born, and therefor this writing.
As part of my battle with (a possible) long term depression – which I just call life; I try to notice and appreciate the smaller things in life, so take this writing for what it is: observational. And as far as things to admire and appreciate goes, muscle memory is certainly on the list.
Muscle memory kicks in
It was probably an act of distraction (from something, obviously), that lead me to opening up Steam and noticing an update to Kerbal Space Program (KSP) being downloaded. And I thought: “Now that is a name I haven’t heard in a long time“. And true enough, last gameplay was March 2021.
So, I started the game. Entered the hangar, found a saved spacecraft which still had a valid design (updates sometimes add or remove modules, rendering a saved spacecraft useless), and brought it to the launchpad. Amazingly, I was still able to get this thing into orbit – on the second try, having forgotten to enable SAS (Stability Assist) at first launch. Whoops.
But on the seconds launch I knew which key to press to enable SAS. I knew which key to set full throttle and how to engage the various stages. And after a successful rendezvous with a space station (which I left there almost two years prior), I also knew how to enable RCS and do the finer manoeuvre to dock.
And it is not only in gameplay. I use muscle memory for passwords and PIN codes, when writing, using the VIM editor or even driving a car. The clutch/gearbox; foot/hand coordination. It is all there, ready to be used when the environment is correct. And I think that last part is key: The environment has to be set up correctly. Once it is, muscle memory takes over. It is simply amazing.
A quick side note: After getting a new keyboard, I found the number of typos going up. The keyboard is just a tad to sluggish, so sometimes I miss a key. And working with a keyboard (for me) is all muscle memory.