Sideline gaming; An Introduction of Sorts

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I am hesitant to say I am a gamer. I’d love to be able to just say I am but the perfectionist inside me likes to point out that I am in fact not a “true gamer.” My start to video games, like many born of the 80’s, was Mario and Duck Hunt for the NES.

I could never get the hang of Mario so I usually stuck to Duck Hunt. I’d quickly get annoyed with the laughing dog and my seemingly inability to progress in the game and would quickly quit. I spent more time sitting around watching my big brother and others play the games instead. One of his favorite at the time being Zelda. I didn't play the SNES we owned, instead opting for my favored role of watching.

When the PlayStation came out my parents bought it for me, not my brother.  Spyro, JetMoto, and Cool Boarders were my only games. I would rent some every once in awhile from the video store but nothing popped out at me enough to buy it.

A rather fun start to gaming. Don't ya think?
I tried playing Myst but after hours of roaming the first island I gave up and never looked back. It wasn't until I started dating my now husband that I found out I’d solved all but the last part of each puzzle on the island. He thinks I should retry the game now that I know that. We'll see. A week before spring break in my junior year of high school a friend loaned me Final Fantasy VIII which became my obsession. I was and still am in love with the story of it.

Being the novice gamer that I was I didn't know about things like strategy guides and using the internet to look up walkthroughs. I somehow made it to the fight with Adel junctioned to Rinoa but without most of the GF’s and almost no magic. I cannot beat it. No one can, but I keep the save file around for nostalgia.

Not long after, the PlayStation 2 came out and I bought it with some house-sitting money. With it I got Final Fantasy X. I couldn't stand what I saw of FFIX so I skipped it. Before long, FFX-2 came out and I got that as well.

I tried my hand at a few other games, shooters, fighting, and racing games but I feel I’m no good at them. Sadly to this day I still haven’t finished any of my Final Fantasy games, but I have seen them all played through.  Haven’t even finished Spyro, as much as I love that little dragon. That is the extent of my console gaming pre marriage.

Ahh, nostalgia.
When my parents got our first home computer there was a DOS game called BlockMan. This one I was alright at, probably because it was a puzzle game. It was my game of choice until Encyclopedia Encarta came out and bundled in the program was Mindmaze.  I loved learning new factoids and while my points weren't real high in the game I would lose track of time following the links that would tell me all about what the questions were asking.

When the Original Sims came out, my parents got it for me for a birthday present. They even went on to get me most of the expansions for it. I loved that game and would spend hours, sometimes staying up all night, glued to the computer. My mom said once when she came to check on me that she feared she’d look in one day and I would be waving to her from inside the computer, as a sim myself. Over the years I have graduated with the Sims games, though I haven’t bothered to get all the expansions for the Sims2 and Sims3. I tried looking for other PC games, but at the time I didn't know anyone that I trusted to point me in the right direction, so I didn't try anything other than the demo of Tomb Raider 2 that we had. Again it was a shooter and didn't do well with it. Not even when I tried playing it on my sister’s PS. 

As for tabletop gaming, I've little to really talk about. While I loved the idea of Dungeons and Dragons I didn't know anyone who played. Some of my friends tried teaching me Magic: the Gathering once and while it left me unimpressed, I have since found out that they were horrible at teaching it. Mostly I just sat on the sidelines, reading my books while everyone played.

I’d like to say all this changed when I married a geeky gamer. He has tried his best over the years to get me more involved with it but when faced with failing at something I give up way too easily. Our home is full of many different options for gaming, console, PC, table top, and cards. What I do currently play right now? The Sims and World of Warcraft. And not even that much with the Sims anymore. Having real life children and jobs has kind of made the game seem off putting. So I build dream houses and plop sims in them then never play them.  I love WoW but my silly fear of failing keeps me from the pvp and raiding that I would love to do. A few months ago my husband convinced me to join some friends for a Pathfinder campaign and I am now bumbling my way through that. Admittedly, I do love it even though I almost killed someone in our party in our first game.

This brings me to why I wrote this all out.  Our Pathfinder DM and friend runs this site and has been asking me for awhile to write something. So here I am installing games onto my PC that I would have never considered playing so that I can help out. Perhaps because of this I will go from being on the sidelines to being a "real gamer."