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I Really Am Getting Old

March 3, 2014

Dear Reader,

I’ve been feeling old in my game play recently.  Perhaps “getting old” is simply an excuse for mediocre players who’ve finally reached an age where they can use it for an excuse, but in the last four games I’ve played, I’ve really felt my age affecting my play.

I’m getting forgetful.

In Witcher 2, the button scheme is super-complicated (from my point of view).  I’m frequently forgetting in between combats what buttons are what.  During the tutorial, I did all the tasks as required and learned the buttons.  When the end came, you’re given a trial to fight three dudes at once.  I couldn’t remember the button sequences from minutes before, though,and got killed.  The game then set my difficulty to easy, which I scoffed at, insulted.  I changed it back to normal, but I’m not so sure that was a good idea.  I’ll let you know as I progress.

I’m going blind.

I happen to by playing two first person shooters right now, too; one with my mostly-blind buddy, one with my NWN buddy.  Far Cry 3 I play with my mostly-blind buddy.  He beats me at shooting challenges sometimes, which distresses me.  I can’t seem to keep my hand still any more to make long-range shots as effectively, but more on that in a second.  In longer maps, I almost always come out on top for kills and headshots and measurements like that, but there’re times he spots things that I had completely missed.  Since his vision in one eye is basically totaly shot (like colors only) and is pretty bad in the other eye, when he sees baddies coming that I’ve missed, I’m baffled at my own obliviousness.  My eyes aren’t great, but they’re okay, and I’m missing these small details that I used to be the pro at finding.  It’s a disconcerting change.

I’m twitching.

I’m also playing Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with my NWN buddy.  When given the option of various classes, I often pick the high-accuracy, skillshot based classes.  In ME3’s case, this is the infiltrator.  However, the ME3 multiplayer requires a lot of movement.  Instead of being able to stay in place and pick my targets off, I have to constantly reposition and, often, aim carefully while running.  I can’t handle both of those tasks any more.  If I’m moving and go to take a shot, my hands twitch a lot and I often miss.  That’s a critical failure when using a slow bolt-action gun.

I’ve seen the same problem in League of Legends recently, too, the 4th game I’m playing.  I’ve been practicing a lot on LeBlanc, and I’ve gotten very good against bots (which means nothing, I know, but still).  I finally got to play her in a live game (instead of everyone else saying mid mid mid mid as soon as the damn champ select starts), and I did quite well against the Katarina that was there.  However, I had a hard time finishing my combo, though, because the only real skill shot – a line attack – I kept missing because I’d twitch a tiny bit right as I clicked to shoot it off.

This is definitely different than my past.  I’m from the south and spent a decent amount of time as a youth shooting guns.  I was never a deadeye, but I was okay.  I could hit smallish targets at medium ranges with a fair frequency, even with stronger caliber guns.  The kick wasn’t that big a deal.  I can’t imagine the “kick” of clicking the mouse is what’s throwing my aim off.  I think I’m just getting old.

I don’t like being carried.  I want to pull my weight, and I’m starting to feel like the only way I can safely ensure that is by playing with people my own age, even if that means playing on “casual” difficulty, which I was forced to resort to with my blind buddy after being mauled repeatedly on co-op.  That’s not to say I’d turn down my younger buddy’s invitations to play games, but I certainly do feel like starting to withdraw a little from the multiplayer game world.  Like so many stereotypes of old people before me, “I don’t want to be a burden.”  Cliché, perhaps, but true.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and feeling old today)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2014 1:26 pm

    Yeah, I’m with you. I actually bought a new mouse somewhat recently because I thought my old one had a periodic sensor glitch (basically, my viewport would suddenly swerve around, not terminally in most cases but when it makes you go from running out fire into running back into it… more than once… and others notice and comment… it’s officially a Thing that needs to be Considered and perhaps Dealt With). Verdict on the new mouse – fewer issues but not none. I do occasionally twitch, I think, although I don’t notice it outside of the WTF moments in-game where I’m suddenly moving the wrong way.

    “Forgetful” is a bit of a moving target when you’re playing multiple games, muscle memory counts for a ton more than actual brain-pulling memory (and is usually the only way to be competitive) so unless your keybinds are set up identically between games, this is often a hard target to hit. I tend to give myself a mulligan on these unless I’m playing one game relatively exclusively for more than a few hours at a time…

  2. March 3, 2014 4:20 pm

    Like R said, muscle memory is a huge thing. I have a programmable gaming pad, the Razer Nostromo, and I do my best to keep the configuration such that my fingering stays the same between the games I play, whether by reprogramming the keys or changing keybinds in the game. I feel you though, waiting on my first set of progressive-lens spectacles to come in as I type this. Luckily, the games I play aren’t so twitchy as FPS.

  3. March 4, 2014 12:04 pm

    Thirding on the muscle memory — among other things, you simply aren’t used to ME3. And while you’ll probably never pull off a feat like that video I showed you (hell, I won’t either) you can still easily do more than well enough to do the hardest difficulties in a group and you’ll still be better than 90% of players.

    Why do you think some heroic bosses take 200+ pulls in WoW? A lot of it is simply practice and practice and practice.

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