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Some of us didn’t grow up playing the iconic video games of our time, whether because we couldn’t afford it, we weren’t allowed by our parents, or for any other combination of reasons. It’s okay if you’re just getting into video games now that you’re older.

Growing up my brothers each had a Playstation 2, and I had a Gamecube. Because they were older, I wasn’t allowed to sit with them while they played games like Grand Theft Auto or Tom Clancy (both due to the wishes of my parents and the fact that my brothers didn’t want their little sister bothering them while they played.) And God forbid if I try to play any of their games on my own (my oldest brother once told me that if I stepped on any of his game cords, I’d get stuck in the game forever.) So while they played Madden or any of their FPS games I played Animal Crossing or the Sims in my room.

In my late teens, I was fortunate enough to find a copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum for the PS3 at my library, and my older brother was gracious enough to lend me his console so I could play. It took me a few days to get used to the controls (considering the fact that I hadn’t played on that console brand ever) and then I burned through the game in two weeks so I could return it to the library without getting fined (a lot of libraries still carry console games, worth checking to see if your local library does!)

“Real” Video Games

That was my foray into playing “real” games. I developed a deep love of action-adventure games to go along with my “relaxing” games that I so adored (the Sims, Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, etc). My first try at FPS games came in the form of Bioshock Infinite. I had heard nothing but positive things about the game, and now that I had my own laptop (not a gaming laptop by any means, just good enough where some could run on it) I decided to spend some of my hard-earned money on my first Steam sale!

I started up the game and everything looked so freaking cool I couldn’t wait to see how it was all going to unfold.

And then I realized: I can’t shoot for shit.

Especially not while I’m trying to move from track to track with my cool metal hook attachment. It got to be so frustrating for me that I put the game down entirely. That was around four years ago.

I’ve found that I’m so completely useless without auto-aim that it’s kept me from enjoying what some say are the best games in recent history, like Red Dead Redemption 2, Fallout 4, or The Last of Us (I keep forgetting the myriad of controls for RDR2 but thankfully I can attempt to stealth my way through TLOU the next time I try. I have to restart Fallout 4 because I ran out of both VATS and minigun ammo while failing to realize there was a Deathclaw looming nearby).

Enjoying From a Distance

Now, I know I could probably tackle these games with some practice and some patience (my general lack of the second makes the first less likely to happen overall); but the way I handle these games has taught me an important lesson: it’s okay to not play every big, cool game that comes out. I actually might enjoy myself more watching other people play it than if I tried to tackle it myself (due to my aforementioned lack of patience).

For example: from what I’ve seen, I would have lost my damn mind if I had tried to play a game like Bloodborne. But I had an absolute blast watching others on YouTube try to take it on, often cracking jokes or telling stories along with it, just generally making a frustratingly hard game fun to watch and experience through the person playing it.

So if you, like me, are bad at games, or lack the patience or the practice, it’s okay. There are so many ways for all of us to enjoy these works of art, and so many different ones for us to discover and enjoy. You don’t have to have played Halo or Call of Duty every week for the past ten years to be a “real gamer”. You are a gamer because you play and enjoy games, no matter what kind they are.

Selected quote: “Press any button to start” – video game load screen 

For more essays, you can click here, and for reviews, you can click here. For more geeky goodness overall you can follow me on Instagram @glamgeekguru.

By Hannah

Lover of all things geeky.

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