One of my main hang-ups back in the day was that I didn’t think I was any good at playing games. I enjoyed playing games casually, but I could never play them in front of people. My hands would get clammy and I would completely flail around, I hated it. And then I started playing more and more, and I would always have the difficulty on ‘easy’ and I felt weirdly ashamed. Could I call myself a gamer? I asked myself…
The answer is yes. Of course, past Siobhan. Why not? Enjoyment is surely the main element to get out of games. But I find that so many people put pressure on others to be good, especially online. The discourse that crops up in online gaming is just so alienating and downright dumb and is why I am still so against playing online multiplayers. You get so much abuse if you aren’t as good as the other players. And where is the fun in that, eh?
I remember playing Mass Effect 2 for the first time, bearing in mind that I hadn’t really played an RPG/shooter before, so I had no idea how it worked. I had no idea how the level-up/upgrade situation worked, so I just blasted through the game having the time of my life, got to the end and surprise, surprise I had done nothing in the realm of upgrades so pretty much all my favourite teammates perished. It was so upsetting. But hey, I had an amazing time. And if anything, the fact that I had such a traumatic ending, it only added to the drama, and I had a pretty different experience to those who kitted out the Normandy!
But at the time I beat myself up about it and felt so stupid. I remember getting looks of pity from my friends. But then I started playing The Legend of Zelda. I was introduced to it by my boyfriend. Even then I had a hard time playing it, and I would want to give up at the slightest hurdle because I felt stupid, which led to me not completing so many games that I have gone back to and loved. But I quickly got over that because of the love I developed for the game.
I even remember someone warning me that Crash Bandicoot was ‘a really hard game’ when I got excited about getting it with the PS4. At first, I felt so patronised and offended and then I got determined to play it, just to prove a point. And guess what, I got better, I persisted and now I am decidedly average when it comes to games, and you know what I don’t care what anyone thinks about me because I am having the time of my life!
So, I propose a revolution of the terrible/mediocre gamers who have no idea what they are doing and just have fun without the judgement of others. Fall off as many Mario brick walls as possible accidentally hit a teammate, get hit by as many Deku nuts as humanly possible! Just have FUN!