Outside the Comfort Zone: Platformers and Touchscreens

A while back, we made the mistake of letting our three-year old daughter play with my husband’s iPod Touch. We were in the process of buying/selling a house, and … well frankly we needed a bit of a babysitter while we discussed nuts and bolts with the real estate agent.

We created an Angry Bird monster. Our daughter giggles like a maniac as she flings the birds straight down. Sometimes she even gets a piggy or two.

A few weeks later, my husband and I were talking with my Aunt about new technology. Now, this woman is not new to tech. Her husband is an IT professional; she writes and is published on-line. But she has never used an iPod. She mentioned how she wasn’t sure she could get the hang of a game using touch screen technology. The three of us chimed in “Yes, you would.”

At that moment, I saw another example of how having too much knowledge can be harmful. My daughter had as much experience with gaming devices as my Aunt, but didn’t know that the tech was new or that she could not work the touch screen. All she knew was the blue birds split, and the yellow ones go fast. And if you whine when Angry Bird is done, you get no more Angry Bird.

The result? My daughter was fearless in giving it a shot. And within days she was flipping through menus, and loading up different apps. (We didn’t teach her this. It’s actually a bit frightening.)

I wonder if sometimes we, as gamers, hobble ourselves by having too much knowledge.  We compare ourselves to “experts” in the gaming field, and believe that we can’t be good at the game. One bad experience with a genre and it’s all over. “Oh, I don’t play stealth games.” “I’m not good at Halo.” “I can’t get through an RPG.”

I’m guilty of this.  I hate platforming. I suck at it. Prince of Persia, I spent maybe 10 minutes at it. The platforming in God of War made me want to throw my controller through the T.V.  Normally this doesn’t bother me. Too many great games to worry about the ones I won’t like.

Yet, all of this Limbo talk had me intrigued… but my previous knowledge has me hobbled. I know I hate platformers. Limbo is a platformer, therefore I will hate Limbo.  But that was then, this is now.

Have I improved as a gamer?  Will I be able to finish it? Is the fear of failing keeping me from experiencing a great game? This one that seems right up my alley, and it seems like one of those games EVERYONE must play. I mean who cares if I can’t complete it. All I will have lost is $15, but gained all the real life experience of seeing something artistic and new and trying something different.

Well… maybe after we move.

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Comments

  • Tim B.  On July 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    LOL, yeah, I felt the same way about Battlefield Bad Company II. I totally suck at that game, but that’s what I get for going out of my comfort zone. I was decent at Halo 3 and pretty damn good at COD4 and MW2, but figured I might as well check out this BFBC2 game. As requested by my best friend, I went ahead and bought the game, which I normally rent new releases. This is why I love demos, which led to the purchase of Transformers: War for Cybertron. That game is not only fun, but I’m getting fairly decent at it.

    Staying with a certain genre or style of game is my style of gaming, but occasional I do stray away and find a gem, but I also get burned. I just don’t want to miss out on a good game like I almost did with Call of Duty 4. Damn that Halo 3 and it’s tractor beam!

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