Only When I Game
by The Rook
You know the situation, you have some free time and so you decide to play a game. You turn on the console, choose the game to play (let’s say it’s a racing game), you load up the game, you sit through the loading screens, you start the race, everything so far has been going smoothly and then it happens… you get a case of the itchies.
Why oh why does this happen? You could have scratched your forehead/cheek/nose/neck at any time before the game started, so why is it that you only discover that itch when your hands are otherwise occupied; pressing buttons, holding analogue sticks as you control your vehicle around the track at great speeds, reaching for or holding on to first place. Sure you can scratch that itch but at what cost; how many positions will you sacrifice, will you go veering off the track, will you crash and lose it all?
While we’re on the topic of racing games, why do I feel the need to lean my body over when I’m drifting my in-game car around a corner at high speeds? There was nothing in the manual or the tutorial to indicate leaning as a viable cornering technique. What’s worse is when a friend is playing a racing game and you lean with them, as if you can help shift the weight in the vehicle. It’s crazy but it happens. If Kinect has a racing game, I fear I may need a real seatbelt to make sure I don’t end up on the floor.
Maybe you’re not a leaner (you really are you just don’t know it – and we laugh at you), maybe you’re a controller driver, tilting the controller as you corner. If you think it’s bad with land based vehicles, how about when you’re flying. Tilting the controller up and down to help you gain or lose height, not to mention the leaning to avoid buildings, missiles, other planes. It’s great for a game to be so immersive but you really do look like a tit to anyone else watching you; you play, we’ll just point and laugh.
It’s strange how playing games can affect us but it’s great that we can get so wrapped up and invested in the experience. While we play it can also be quite easy to lose track of time; I don’t know how many times I’ve went to switch the kettle on and went back to my game while it boils only to realise and hour (maybe more) later that I was going to have a cup of tea. Maybe I did make that cup of tea and I come to notice the cold full mug beside me that I forgot to drink. Thankfully I never try and squeeze in a game, level, mission before work; I like having a job to earn money to buy those games I enjoy so much.
Another thing that I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing during a gaming session, the toilet break… or lack of. If I was watching a DVD and I needed to use the bathroom, I would pause the movie/TV programme and go do whatever I needed to do (you don‘t need more detail than that). Why then when I’m playing games do I feel I can hold it until I finish the race, reach the next checkpoint, or complete the level? Congrats on the bladder control, but surely it can’t be good for you.
How about when you have finish gaming for the night, you’ve finished one block of puzzles, races, challenges or missions and unlocked the next set or next area, maybe you’ve leveled your character up or learned new abilities, possibly obtained new gadgets. You save your game and that’s you done for the time being but… maybe you’ll just ‘have a look’ at that next section; to know what awaits you the next time you’re ready to play. Next thing you know, another hour has passed and you’ll just finish this section.
Some games are great with their just ‘one more go’ effect; games that you really can have a quick go on, games like, Trials HD, Street Fighter IV, Scribblenauts, sometimes though, it’s many one more goes or one long engrossing story based mission/chapter/level.
All of the situations above are just things that happen during play, but there’s one instance that can be really annoying: you’ve played your best, you’ve beaten that really tough boss, you’ve completed a level, you’ve reached your destination and you are rewarded with a glorious cutscene. A cutscene that cannot be paused or replayed (unless you want to go through the hard work again), and it’s at that moment that someone phones, knocks on the door, calls for your attention from another room or (and this is the worst one) they are in the same room as you and have chosen that particular moment to talk to you… aaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
These are a few examples of things I experience while I’m gaming, there are bound to be others, I’m sure you have examples of your own too if not some or all of the above. Why not share, we’re all gamers, we’ll understand and we won’t laugh… much.
Last five articles by The Rook