Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Confessions of a Button-Masher

Truth be told, I have never been much of a gamer - the only games console I have ever owned was a GameBoy Advance during some awkward years of Pokemon playing (I was pretty rubbish - never got my lead critters above a Level 70, and the only game I played was the Leaf Green version).  I'll play games for a social occasion - it's a fun way to spend time with friends, and can result in plenty of laffs all round - but I would never be the sort of person who would pick up a console and play just for the sake of improving my skill.

And it shows. When it comes to video games of any sort, I am the Supreme Queen of the Fail.

For example, the first time I played MarioKart was two years ago, when I was invited over to one of the boys' boarding houses by a gang of my male friends. They had a Wii in their common room, so we all sat down for a damp grey afternoon of fun. As a first time player, they gave me the benefit of the doubt and started out on some easier tracks, just until I could find my feet enough to compete somewhere more interesting.

There was no need.

Within seconds I had revealed my true skill with a console - by turning myself into an out-of-control ball of screeching, weapon-shedding, constantly exploding havoc. I fired my banana skins and mushrooms in all directions, I crashed into every human and computerised player on the track (and most of the scenery, for that matter). I even succeeded in doing an entire race ... the wrong way around.

Needless to say, there was much merriment to be had that afternoon.

And I haven't been invited back for another race yet.

Unfortunately, my complete lack of skill cannot just be put down to my unfamiliarity with the bizarre contraption that is the Wii controller. Another popular pastime of the gaming community is the famous Assassin's Creed - a game that depends mostly on skill, stealth and a good deal of practice in order to allow anyone any sort of success.

You can already guess how that went for me. There's a reason I'm always a pirate over a ninja.

If gameplay characters could talk to the players, I reckon Ezio would have been screaming at me to put the controller down and go and drown myself in the bathroom sink. I simply could not get my head around all the commands, even the most basic ones! Climbing walls and synchronising Leap of Faith mode were beyond me - not that I ever used it, because I could never work out how to run away fast enough to avoid the guards who nearly always hunted me down - despite my best efforts to fend them off by slamming my fingers on any button I could reach and cursing copiously in Latin. I was one very very dead assassin. Though, to this day, I protest that so-called "master assassins" should be able to avoid drowning in knee-high water. What's the use of having a hidden hand-cannon and knives up your sleeves if you can drown just by stepping into a particularly deep puddle? Honestly, Ubisoft!

It's the same story with dozens of other first-person games. I simply do not have the patience, calmness, or hand-eye co-ordination to utilise the console in a way that will enable me to get far into a game without help from a friend, or a few cunningly-timed cheats.
* Kingdom Hearts (I played Chain of Memories, and let me tell you the bosses drove me mad. Xigbar, get your arse off the ceiling and fight like a man! And since when is it fair that your opponent can just flash lightning from halfway across the room and turn you into a human shish-kebab before you can even get a blow on her? And don't even say the word "Luxord", or I might just have another dice-induced fit)
* Final Fantasy (Three words: DAMN YOU SEPHIROTH!)
* Legend of Zelda (the ranks of Navi haters gained a new member after about five minutes...)

The list goes on and on and on (and on, and on, and on), but the principle is basically the same. Despite my inherent nerdiness and increasingly geek-like tendencies - I'm fond of a good text-based role-play, and heck knows I'm vocal on any internet forum that talks Tolkein or Star Trek - I never have been, and probably never will be, a gamer.

They say a bad workman blames his tools. Well, a bad gamer blames the console. And I do.

Seriously, how on earth does anyone expect a highly-strung, inexperienced and very malco-ordinated teenage female, surrounded by impending foes intent on sucking out her intestines through her ears, to know which of those bizarre little buttons to click?

.... Scrabble, anyone?


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  2. Personally, I tend to stick to computer games. Playstation/Wii/Xbox/whatever are just foreign concepts.... but computer games are easy. Most of the commands are all the same in every game, and a lot of the time you can get away with just using the mouse.

    Cheating is a lot easier on the computer aswell, considering you're using the same platform to look the actual cheats up XD

    I do, however, miss the good old SNES days.

  3. *TACKLE HUGS* Yet another reason we are twins separated by a generation (or two.. I have no idea how big a generation is). OMG this post brought me back in time to the days of Street Fighter (i, II I don't remember) and playing by mashing those button as best I could. Occasionally I'd win a 1 on 1 fight, but when it came to the multi-player scenes, I was dead first (with my partner then wrecking havoc in my name... that was kind of cute.)

    Now I was better at the on-line MMOs because they had icons and you set up your buttons how you wanted them. Not to mention my hubby gave me pointers on hwo to play, being as he was sitting beside me, so I got to hang out with the leet crowd without really being leet (plus I had boobs, and there weren't a lot of female players back then). :}

    I haven't really done text roleplay, as side from the couple role play story on Protagonize. But I do love me a good session of RPG. Man I still wish I'd taken notes from my cyber Punk days. Our GM, ALex, ran a mean story that would have made a great Novel! (Cause we're Bad Comapny till the day we diie).

    :} Cathryn

  4. Hehehe, unfortunately I'm just as bad on computer games - my fingers are a bit spastic from all the typing I do, hehe. I tried a couple of online MMOs, but i just couldn't get into them - and things kept killing me all the time. Seriously, I was like a death magnet. Didn't help that even SHEEP had somehow worked out how to kill me in my noobie days xD

  5. That was awesome.

    The Nintendo DS is much easier than those other types. I much prefer up down left right, X Y A and B. Fantastic xD

    You can come over and try my Aragorn's Quest Game. It's not bad, and I'm no gamer either (though, I must say, I've always wanted to play FF and Assassin's Creed.)

    Oh, and the same with me and MarioKart...... no kidding ;P

    There's a SUPER old Nintendo 64 game or something called Dragon Warrior that mainly involves walking around and reading text- even battles consist of hitting "fight, "run", "spell", or "item" and then reading what happens. But it's REALLY fun....... it involves a lot of walking, thinking, and exploring with no need for speed of thumb.

    Epic xD

  6. FF is evil - I cannot get my brain around the controls, literally. Doesn't help the bad guys can all move so much faster than you! Come back here and die like the bird-man-hybrid you are! xD

    Assassin's Creed is cool when you can play it well ... unfortunately I can't xD

    Oh yeah, I've heard of those - I had a brief go with a game like that, called Runescape, which though a browser game, is pretty much the same principle. But I kept getting killed by sheep and rats, so I gave up xD

  7. I'm with you. Scrabble tiles are so much easier!

  8. Ah. Well. As for doing entire courses backwards... *stares at ceiling and whistles innocently*

    I am useless at games. I used to play Runescape when I was about ten. Also, Age of Empires was awesome (if you used cheats). However, DroidWorks was IMPOSSIBLE, I wasn't allowed a game boy or anything, and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text-based computer game had me stumped within about two minutes.



    I also suck at scrabble because I really can't spell. Not great for a writer, huh? The only time I've ever actually played it, though, was with a French guy - if we couldn't think of an English word, we used a French one. Not entirely sure that's in the rules, but then the rules are WRONG.

    (As said Sherlock to John during an argument about a game of Scrabble. *sniggers* "Sherlock, it's not actually possible for the victim to have done it!")

    1. Ah, I remember Runescape! My brother and I used to play together, and as he was quite high level, he used to go out with me and we'd attack people together. So much fun xD