Oops, I Did It Again!

Gaming. It’s one of those activities where outsiders assume it’s all the same skills required for all the genres. However, we know better. We know that a FPS uses completely different tactics to an RPG. We know that a keen puzzle gamer would be lost in a street racer. It’s accepted. However, there are also some gaming skills that end up being staples in everything we play; fast reaction speed, thinking two moves ahead, checking for hidden shortcuts. Having played games for so long, I find that sometimes my catalogue of gaming skills gets a little confused. Whatever genre I’ve been favouring starts to bleed its skill set into that of my staples.

It’s all well and good being thorough in a game, but the amount of times I deliberately go the wrong way first (a habit I picked up in RPGs so as not to miss an item) is really inexcusable. I do it in action games, I do it in racing games, I even do it in shooters! The latest example of this has got to be Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (affectionately known as LaCoGoL since it was mentioned on Inside Xbox!). Despite completing the game, and therefore being painfully aware that at no point could I go behind the beginning spawn point in a level I still try… every time… without fail now I’m on a collectible hunt. Strangely, the game engineering hasn’t changed and it still isn’t allowing me to do this! Still, at least I’m determined! I wish that was the only recent example; I was watching Darach play Devil May Cry 4 the other day. Having got stuck at a puzzle he asked if I had any ideas. My first thought, and the one that I voiced, was that there were torches in the room, but only some were lit. The answer was surely to light all the torches? With no way to accomplish this, the puzzle was solved… with zero help from me. Moral of the story? An excellent tactic if you’re playing Zelda, but not so much of a genius thought in a stylish shooter!

Quit the fighting and look for the green key! Oh, hang on…

Obviously, some skills will sneak up and pleasantly surprise you by their usefulness (some people tell me that reading the manual is one of these skills, but I’m yet to experiment with that, it just sounds crazy to me!), but in general it’s got to be time to compartmentalise my gaming experience and play to the genre I’m in. With Kinect just around the corner I can see myself trying to find collectibles in Kinect Sports, I can see myself trying to puzzle my way through Kinectimals. Maybe, just maybe, the physical element will help me immerse myself into the genres so deeply that I will finally be able to put aside a lot of the less useful tactics and use only that which is genre-specific. Either that, or given a couple of months I’ll be fit as a fiddle from physically searching around every level!

Just you wait and see; I'll find every last cat hair!

It’s all well and good that any action game player can play any action game, and any shooter fan can play any shooter, but with controls becoming more and more instinctive on our parts are we losing touch with the goals specific to the game? I love that so many gaming conventions have become things we can expect. It allows easy access to most games for any experienced gamer. But maybe, some of us experienced gamers need to take a step back once in a while, and notice exactly what it is we’re playing!







3 responses to “Oops, I Did It Again!”

  1. Dean avatar

    That’s true, since playing Resident Evil i’ve gotten into the habit of religiously sweeping the perimeter of every area in every game, and if someone tells me to go right i always head left first. Limbo made a clever reference to this by putting an achievement left of the spawn point at the stort of the game. When you collect it it says “Wrong Way”. it made me smile:)

  2. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I hate when I deliberately choose the wrong way to go when exploring only to find out I’m going the right way and have to backtrack just to make sure I don’t miss something the other way. Happens so many times.

  3. Ninja avatar

    I don’t think of exploring the environment as a skill, just a habit developed over years of gaming and one all too readily exploited by developers. See Halo and the skulls etc; it is an FPS. Games also tend to be blurring genres more and more these days I think (Mass Effect series anyone?) so it’s helpful to have a generalised skillset anyway.

    You should worry if you don’t notice what game you’re playing though.

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