Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meet K's Brother

K is very close to his younger brother Steve (despite living in different states), and it's eerie how similar their mannerisms can be. They have the same strange sense of humor, say the same kind of outrageous things, and make the same type of horrible jokes... I can barely get a word in once they get started! With camaraderie that strong, you would think that Steve would be thoroughly immersed in the gaming world as well. Wrong! And it’s so weird too, since he has all the makings of a good gamer. He loves a good story, has an obsessive personality, and possesses great hand-eye coordination… so what’s the problem?

I got to observe the reason first hand when he came and visited last weekend. The two siblings started off going through the latest fighting games, and despite the fact that Steve doesn’t own any, he was completely matching K move for move, if not beating him 60% of the time. (I actually thought K was on a handicap at first since he typically dominates the casual player.)

But then we switched to Batman: Arkham Asylum, which is a more think-y, action-adventure stealth game (think Splinter Cell). Shortly after Steve started a new game, the tutorial section began and I noticed that K was repeating all the instructions on the screen verbatim. “Ok, push X to knock that guy down.” Then a few seconds later, “You gotta keep tapping the button to open the vent cover.” Wow, totally patronizing, right? But then I realized that Steve wasn’t reading any of the onscreen instructions. Left to his own devices, he would irritably wander around in circles, thwarted by his own impatience and blindness to the helpful HUD hints. Soon I found myself falling into the same pattern:
  • Steve is caught in the midst of a crazy melee with 5 prisoners.
  • Screen pop-up says "Push L2 + X for Ground Takedown."
  • Steve ignores the hint, and bad guys keep attacking him instead of staying down.
  • K says "If you push L2 + X, you can take them out with one hit."
  • I say "Right there, you can do the Ground Takedown now!"
  • Steve keeps swinging his fists, fighting them the slooow way.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Screenshot

So when it comes to playing games, Steve only excels at the type with, mm, instant feedback, like fighting games. K likes to read up on all the special moves and fight with finesse, but Steve just brute forces it with raw aggression. And as the TV show Deadliest Warrior has shown us, a baseball bat is a lot easier to use than a pair of nunchucks.

Related Links: 25 Annoying Things About Non-Gamers
(I'm definitely guilty of #16, but K thinks it's cute.)

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