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Talking Point: How Good Are You At Games?

© Nintendo / Rare

In the old days, when my world was decidedly smaller, I used to think I was quite a handyman when it came to video games. When classmates came to play GoldenEye or Mario Kart 64, I would wipe the floor with a lot of them and naively believed that was due to my reaction speed and my prowess with the pad. In my circle of friends, I was Steve McQueen of the Mushroom Kingdom; a regular digital 007 that would always triumph in the end.

Obviously, I was also an idiot. It didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t a video game scholar, I was just a lot more familiar with these games in particular than my friends. As with any activity, the more you do, the better off you feel, and compared to – oh, I don’t know – my mate who only had a PlayStation or my little sister, I obviously had a significant advantage. I had spent hundreds of hours playing these games, against people who still had to look down to figure out which button was which.

In recent years, the huge increase in the streaming of “normal” gameplay from “normal” people has helped me reassure myself that a lot of people are a little bit bad at games, and it’s good to be. no.

We’ve written before about how modern difficulty settings and optional aids are all positive, and your man Chris Scullion wrote a column last year saying there is no shame in playing on Easy. Today I totally agree, although having to give my copy of GoldenEye to a classmate so that his little brother could beat 00 Agent Facility in under 2:05 and unlock the Invincibility cheat was a powerful humiliation to the end of the 90s; a real awakening that I was, in fact, distinctly average.

Below average, most likely. I had ‘my’ games – games that I had played a ton and was good at (it’s barely worthy of a world record, but not everyone can 100% Banjo-Kazooie of memory in under five hours) – but it would often take me a long time to find my bearings. I’ve always tended to favor single-player games where I can tangle at my own pace. As images of gamers performing incredible feats began to proliferate across the internet over the past two decades, it became clear that I really wasn’t quite that.

However, the huge increase in “normal” gameplay streaming from “normal” people in recent years – as opposed to pre-teen multimillionaires who split their attention between destroying any opposition, engaging in chat, and sipping drinks. drinks placed on products – helped reassure me that a lot of people actually suck a little at games, and it’s good to suck.

I have become more comfortable with my mediocrity over time. I loved playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but I was more than happy if my Kill-To-Death ratio hovered around 1: 1. Just like with sports, I now understand that my enjoyment of, say, kicking a ball or going to a tennis court for a quick match is not related to my being good at those areas.

And it’s still absolutely fine. I’m also not worried if my poor online abilities deteriorate with age – it really doesn’t matter. With games like the ’99 Battle Royales (Tetris 99, Super Mario Bros. 35, Pac-Man 99), I got started early before the competition got too fierce, messed around with the mechanics to get my bearings, I gambled until I got my chicken dinner, and walked away satisfied. I don’t have to be the Master or sit at the top of the table. Lack of abilities aside, I just don’t have time to live, sleep and breathe a single game these days; there is too much. I’m pretty happy to be a jack of all trades when it comes to video games; I will ‘git gud’ if I’m having fun, otherwise what’s the point?

“But wait, how can you write about games for a living and not be super proficient!” “ asks forumLerka372 in a whiny tone. Well, here’s a secret: Not all game authors are good at games. Some of them are super proficient in a specific series and genre, but throw them in the deep end with something they’ve never played before and they’ll be as ineffective as I am in a Monkey Ball. As with any profession or life, there are a lucky few who are good at everything and instantly learn new things, but mastering a game is not a prerequisite for being able to discuss it in an informative and entertaining way.

The vast expansion of media horizons – with more genres, more variety, more options, and more inclusiveness – means everyone inevitably gets worse in games, and maybe this is one of the things. factors for which we have seen a mainstream move away from the difficult brutality of previous generations. Our attention is so divided and there are so many options that the average gamer these days just isn’t as good as the average 8-bit gamer. Ten years ago, we reached the point where punishment has become a marketing argument for a few select series. They are still the outliers though – the majority of games stumble upon themselves to help you so you don’t lose patience. And while Dark Souls may be the poster child for tough and impenetrable games, I managed to beat it. Can not be this hard, isn’t it?

Dark souls© Bandai Namco

Despite all the years of proving that I am not, in fact, a “professional gamer,” there is still an overconfident part of me who believes that I will beat anyone who dares to challenge my superior skills with Donkey Kong in any game. battle mode. Mario Kart 64 stage. Maybe I’m deluding myself, but hundreds of hours of muscle memory must count for something, surely?

How good are you at games? Are you a super-skilled interdisciplinary gaming master, ready to take out all players in any title they choose? Are you super invested in one game and a little green outside your comfort zone? Or are you, like me, an awesome hero who is pretty terrible in everything, but appreciates him all the same? Let us know in the polls below:

Thank you for voting. Please feel free to share your strengths and failures with us in the comments below.

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