Talking The Talk (With Thanks To eGamer)
As with any opinion-based article, the views expressed by the author do not reflect those of the site– blah blah blah. So we think it’s okay to have this sort of thing around, even if it might seem a little shameless; just go with it okay? We promise, Natalie is onto something here. – Cavie
This week I’d like to start off by saying thank you to eGamer for enabling the two situations I’m about to describe. Before starting on my Getting into Gaming series last year I’d played very few games, and because I’d got into gaming quite late I’d missed out on a lot of the classics… the games that people get nostalgic about. So while I could talk to other gamers, my range of topics was pretty much limited to Portal, Skyrim and Titan Quest (and later Torchlight II). So I can’t pretend I wasn’t proud of myself when these situations occurred.
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The first happened during class one afternoon. The lecturer was droning and it was late in the day (and starting to get dark already) and no-one was even vaguely listening. My deskbuddy was frantically scribbling away in his notebook so I looked across expecting to see copious lecture notes which I could hopefully borrow later and instead saw something like this: >>>>>>>>>^^^^^^^^>>>>>>>>. He must have noticed my expression, because he wrote ‘Minecraft’ just above it and carried on in his strange code. I kept watching for a bit trying to work it out, until he wrote again, ‘Have you played it?’ I shook my head. This was followed by a quick interchange where he explained he was making some kind of factory but he couldn’t get all the parts to work together (or something) and so he was planning how to fix it. He did sketches of blocks in fancy arrangements and showed how he needed to move this or alter that so that buckets of water could be filled up quickly enough… maybe that makes sense to any of you who have played Minecraft, but at this stage I was just nodding and trying to look thoughtful.
At this point I decided that Minecraft could only have been made by a Swede: it’s an entire game about being logical and efficient and building logical and efficient things which work in logical and efficient ways. It’s really just a digital version of Sweden itself. Yes, okay I know there’s more to it than that, but then my analogy would get too complicated. After a little while he seemed satisfied with what he’d created and turned the conversation to me, asking if I played any games. I said yes and named a few favourites and he seemed relatively impressed. The rest of the conversation covered Donkey Kong, Mario, Half-Life, Mass Effect, the Lego Games, KOTOR, Angry Birds, Counter-Strike, Age of Empires, DotA and a few others. By the end of the lecture as we were walking out he said to me: “Seriously, is there anything you haven’t played?” I could’ve done the honourable thing and listed the hundreds of games I’ve never played, but instead I just said: “Well, I like to try new things.”
The second situation occurred in a bar, a jazz lounge to be specific (because that sounds a lot cooler). A friend of mine had bumped into two of the guys who live on his corridor and we’d all got chatting. One of the guys brought up Facebook buying WhatsApp which grew into a conversation about the digital age, and one of the guys pulled out his phone to demonstrate the inanity that is Flappy Bird. By this time my food had arrived and I was only half listening until someone mentioned Assassin’s Creed. To which I replied, “Steam is having a sale and all the old Assassin’s Creed games are selling for under 3 Euros each.” Moment of silence. A few blank stares. Then: “Have you played Assassin’s Creed?” I had to admit that I hadn’t but that I really wanted to because it looked awesome. There was then a session where I was quizzed rapid fire style on what I have played, and this time I decided to be honourable because there were three of them and I couldn’t bluff three people at once. Nonetheless the list was quite impressive and most of the games I hadn’t played I had watched someone else play and knew enough about to talk intelligently about them, which was sufficient to satisfy them that I was actually a gamer. One of the guys then commented: “That’s cool… I’ve never met a girl who plays games… we should organise a LAN sometime.” Thereafter the conversation turned to planning a trip to Lego Land in the summer.
My exposure to games has always been pretty good, given that I live with a gamer. But it’s different when you’ve actually played the games yourself because then it’s not a case of simply repeating what you’ve heard, but being able to give your own opinion and say it with some feeling. Perhaps, even without writing for eGamer I might’ve got round to playing all those games eventually, but to be honest, I doubt it. I’m a bit of a gaming coward. I tend to assume I’ll be terrible at a game and then never play it to save myself from the imagined humiliation of not being good from the moment I sit down at the keyboard. The Getting into Gaming series was exactly the sort of kick in the pants I needed to get over that and to get motivated to play the games I’d kept saying I would play… eventually.