(Editor’s note: Karen Rivera, our Managing Editor, does a hell of a lot for Pixelitis. She rocks beyond measure but when she said she wanted to put her “anxieties” with gaming down, I let her have at it. So please, be gentle and remember Wheaton’s Law.)
So all girly Judy Blume jokes aside, I don’t pray to the creator of one of the best videogame series in the world… Well maybe that’s a lie. I have bowed to him before, heh. But that’s because I really do love videogames. Like really.
I really, truly, wholeheartedly love videogames. They have been an integral part of my growing up thanks to my first hand-me-down Sega Genesis with the first Sonic, Sunset Riders and then the PlayStation with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, that blasted purple dragon that got me kicked out of my parents room at 8 p.m. every night. As I got older, it started getting serious with Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts, Super Smash Brothers, Kirby 64 and countless other titles.
But like most things in my life, I have a tendency not to finish things. It’s a bit of a (okay huge) problem. I’m a reporter. When I get home, I just don’t want to look at another screen again. I get properly ill, vomit and all. Even if the picture suggests otherwise.
Fast forward to now. There is a huge pile of games just sitting on my bookshelf. I can easily count about 13 titles, Uncharted, Uncharted 2, Bayonetta, Nier and LittleBigPlanet 2 among them. I bought those just over two weeks ago as part of a big incentive to play more videogames. I’ve got a PS3 and the only real “play” it gets is when I turn it on to watch Doctor Who.
After getting badgered to play more games online as well as my own personal soul crippling head battles involving the PS3, I decided to give Uncharted a try. My friends love the series and it’s 10 hours of solid game play, at least. I can get through this game on my own, right? Yeah!
Now, there are a fair amount of emotions I run through when playing videogames and not all of them are positive. Like all of us, I get mad–I get frustrated, I get angry at the game. There’s another one too.
I get embarrassed. It’s a huge thing that I have a hard time getting over. I get embarrassed that I’m not good at playing videogames. Like I might be too much of a girl to play videogames. Bring me back to Cooking Mama, I can rock that. I’m okay in my average Rock Band playing.
I’m in my own damn house–by myself–on occasion next to my best friend (who does not offer too much judgment) and I’m embarrassed to play UNCHARTED.
A perfect example regarding the inimitable Nathan Drake: A few weeks ago I almost walked out of my living room, in abject frustration and embarrassment. I kept falling off the damn bridge when it starts to fall apart. It’s somewhere around Chapter 3, when you’re with Sully just prior to discovering the German U-boat in the middle of the waterfall.
I must have fallen off like 20 times; I couldn’t get past it, it scared me. But it wasn’t scary because Nathan kept dying. It was more about the feeling of “I’m too much of a dumbass to understand how to get past it.” Now, I know a lot of people hit that wall. I can’t run around it–I kind of just stare at it and then forget it exists. At that point, I just shut off the console and said, “Well, that was a failure.” After which, I moved on to that equally baffling doctor traveling in an old buzzing police box.
All in all, it couldn’t have been longer than an hour of gameplay.
It’s a deep-set cycle of weirdness that floats around in my head in all its self-defeating glory. DDR was the last game I was seriously into, one of the reasons being that I could just flail around and dance (something I’m naturally good at anyway, but this time with rhythm!). It took me two years to get into Heavy mode because I just couldn’t get over the embarrassment of “Oh man, what if I suck? What if people are like ‘this girl is crap, she’s not even wearing UFOs baggy pants/she’s not a real DDR player.’” I finally jumped that hurdle (the bars on the machine, actually) and oh man, was it glorious. I rocked out and danced my little teenage booty off.
Now, here’s the big ‘but.’ Not a shelf ‘butt,’ but the conjunction ‘but.’ It’s a two-part ‘but.’ One: I’m still embarrassed to play videogames because I’m a girl. I fought my parents for almost two years to get a N64 and a PSP because I was too old and too girly to play videogames. I know there is a plethora of awesome female gamers (looking at some Twitter friends out there for this one), so I know it’s an unfounded position. Not to mention slightly sexist. For the most part, I’ve proved my parents wrong.
Two: I’ve gotten complacent in my gaming. I play fighting games because I can pick them up at any time. They do require some dedication, but if you remember the controls–it’s a blast to kick the crap out of some people. RPGs and other games? Not so good. As I get older, it’s harder to make time out to play videogames, even when you bring them in your pocket (thanks 3DS). Hobbies that you love require time. I need to stop being such a ninny and get back on that bridge damn it!
So it’s time to dust off that old hardware in my brain–get back into Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy and rock them like a hurricane.