Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
I’m not that great at video games. I’ve hardly finished most of the games that I’ve started due to frustration at my own lack of skill, and taking a Post Grad degree while working part time leaves me with little spare time where I’m not exhausted or wound up tighter than a pocket watch. When I do make the time to sit down and enjoy a game I like to be pulled into it straight away. I’m not impatient by any means but, as I said, I’m not that great at them, and after you’ve got lost three times on a seemingly obvious path, it’s hard not to turn the console off and wander off to start building a fort out of the sofa and your bed linen.
A perfect example of my infuriating gaming ineptitude can be seen in my attempt at playing the first Assassin’s Creed. After working my way through the basic scene setting and tutorials I set off in search of the first location, only to accidentally knock someone down with my over-sized clumsy horse (yes, I maintain that it was the horse’s fault). In a panicked attempt to escape the angry people who were now chasing me for my horse’s honest mistake, I galloped off in a random direction, not paying any attention to where I was going. Once the heat was off, I started to head back to my original destination only to find that I was impossibly lost.
After wandering around like a sight-seeing tourist for fifteen minutes I gave up and did the one thing I hate doing most in the world: I asked my friend for help. He gave me that patronising look that made me feel like a dribbling fool, gently took the controller from my hands and set out to get me back on to the right path. A few minutes later, he started to look a little flustered. Wow I thought. I must have been really lost for it to take this long to get me back. Another few minutes passed and he threw the controller onto the bed and declared that he was “incredibly impressed” that I could get so “fantastically lost”. That was several years ago, and since then the disk has not left the box; and yet it still sits on my shelf at the top of my meagre stack of games. Assassin’s Creed is not the only culprit.
Here we have my dilemma. Do I keep these games and allow them to sneer at me from their lofty resting place, or do I give up and trade them in for something a little more ‘easy’? I’m not normally the kind of person to back down from a challenge, but once I’ve gotten stuck on a game I find it difficult to go back to it and storm on through. Games such as Portal drive me insane, and anything that has a large map or labyrinth levels get little more than a few hours of game play before they’re banished to “The Shelf”. I know very well that once the game is shelved, it’s not coming down for a while, if ever, and that it’s just going to gather dust. Yet I can’t bring myself to let it go.
When I find myself running low on funds I often trade in my DVDs and DS games for cash, and yet these exiled 360 games remain on my shelf. Now, I’ll admit that I won’t get much for them on their own and a trade probably isn’t worth it, but when I add together all the games that have driven me to boiling point I’d probably get a fair amount. There is something inside of me that just can’t let them go. Not yet anyway. A part of me needs them to sit on my shelf and mock me just a little longer. While they remind me that I’m not the best gamer, they also give me an unfinished project. I always have something that I can go back to and finish later. Like a half-built model, they gaze at me from the shelf. Most of them now have multiple sequels that require me to at least have some understanding of the original. I’ve nearly finished Portal 2 and, as of yet, there hasn’t been a temper tantrum that’s made a tornado look tame, but I will always have that niggling feeling that I gave up on its predecessor. I’m sure there are plenty of in-jokes that have whizzed over my head due to my lack of Portal experience.
A part of me feels very selfish. Somewhere out there, someone is bound to want to try this game that I am clinging on to, and it’s not fair on the disk. It only wants to be loved and the best I can offer it is a mild dislike and intrigue. These games deserve better than me, and yet I cling to them. I hope to one day pluck up the courage to take one action or the other. I like to think that I’ll attempt to get at least halfway through all the games but, in all honestly, they will probably sit on my shelf for a long time to come.
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