(this isn’t just the repeated deaths from Bloodborne talking)
I’m a big fan of games, both as an amusing way to pass one’s time and as a form of art to be appreciated and engaged with in an intelligent manner. But while I love them, and know a fair bit about them, I can’t run away from the fact that when it comes to most games, I’m simply not very good.
Platformers, for instance, are often the death of me, as my apparently godawful hand-eye coordination means I’m constantly plummeting into bottomless chasms like a one-man recreation of a hoard of lemmings diving over cliffs for no reason. I’m hopeless at first-person shooters because I dislike the narrow camera angle, which is why shooters designed in the third-person, like Mass Effect, are so much fun for me.
I’m too much of a perfectionist when I play racing games, often not being content with collecting second-place finishes to unlock a new car or area, instead pushing for first-place on every track which boils the game down to a precision driving sim, as opposed to a fun arcade game. I’m also too stupid for most puzzle or adventure games, relying on walkthroughs for even some of the more obvious puzzles in early Zelda games (OOT’s Water Temple allowing), and totally losing my shit when I come up against something like Myst, which is a mystery wrapped in an enigma bottled in a set of clunky controls.
I usually better at RPGs, as success in the game is based on a grasp and application of mechanics, rather than the execution of button presses, but these are often so expansive that I don’t have time to finish them with all the other things I have to do, and games I have to play; I’ve not beaten a Pokémon game since the first Black, and my Golden Sun playthrough is currently on its fourth hiatus as I power through my writing work.
But I honestly don’t care. A big draw of games is that they’re an art form more dependent on audience interaction and skill than any other, but the growth of the Internet and Let’s Play culture means this skill is only required to beat the game for yourself, not experience the full extent of the worlds and stories these games have to offer. I’ve never picked three of the Mass Effect endings, but have an intimate knowledge of all of them because I want to know the details of the game. This is why I may even like talking about games more than actually playing them; to discuss a world and its characters with someone who cares as much as I do is often more fun than clunking through that world with my slow, pudgy fingers.
If I wanted to be a real wanker I’d say that I’m not a gamer, but an appreciator of games, one who doesn’t really play them, but analyses and contextualises them like Classical poems set against particular historical backdrops. But I don’t feel like being a wanker today, so I’ll say I’m a gamer who really likes lore.