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.
.... Scrabble, anyone?