The HD (in)experience

So after dropping a gigantic chunk of change on a 360 and a nice TV to make proper use of it, I’ve not actually had time to enjoy it — I squeezed in a couple hours of Dead Rising on day one before succumbing like a hapless zombie victim to a crush of work-related responsibilities. No matter, I suppose. Even if I had the time for gaming at the moment (unlikely, with PAX coming up soon), there’s the question of whether I’d be able to; my girlfriend has practically claimed the TV as her own. It started innocuously enough, when she co-opted it to watch Project Runway last Wednesday, but it’s only gone downhill from there. In fact, at the moment, she — a woman who never, ever plays videogames, and doesn’t even really like them — has actually done more gaming on my 360 than I have. I’m totally at a loss to explain it.

The most recent twist to this heinous plot: much to my astonishment (nay, bewilderment), she’s decided to master Halo. It’s been interesting, to say the least. For starters, this marks the first time she’s ever played a 3D game. Coincidentally, it’s also the first time I’ve ever experienced motion sickness from a videogame. I’m fine when I’m playing; I’m fine when I watch most other people play. But she made it all the way to the end of Pillar of Autumn before she realized that pressing Up on the left stick moves you in the direction you’ve turned with the right stick, meaning she completed the entire first level by moving at 45 to 90-degree angles from “forward.” It was an amazing feat. Almost as amazing as the fact that I didn’t lose my lunch watching it happen.

Her next goal, I think, is to learn to make proper use of analog control, which should facilitate her aiming quite a bit. Currently about 95% of any given assault rifle clip ends up in the floor, ceiling or walls rather than in the nearest Elite.

Needless to say, I’m impressed with her determination — she’s made it to level four despite the fact that Halo is not a forgiving or inviting experience for those who aren’t familiar with the conventions of the genre. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a friggin’ liar — or, more likely, has fallen so far into the hobby that they’ve lost touch with reality. (Those guys seem to be everywhere these days.)

I don’t know if she’ll make it to the end, though; while she’s adapting with impressive speed to the complexities of the gameplay, she didn’t want to play Dead Rising because she finds zombies “too intense.” And I haven’t had the heart to tell her about the Flood.

22 thoughts on “The HD (in)experience

  1. impressive – the most 3D gaming I’ve gotten my wife to do is of the katamari variety. Except, she does have a crazy affection for Tekken…..

  2. My Mega Man levels are perfectly in line with the expectations of middle America, you charlatan.

  3. We just got a new computer, 19-inch widescreen monitor, and my girlfriend has been playing Quake. She refuses to powerslide in Mario Kart DS because it “uses too many buutons”, but FPS? No problem. She’s pretty good. I suppose. I was sort of wandering around a level and she walked up behind me and declared I was not “a PC gamer”. I couldn’t argue with her.

  4. I’ve found that women most prefer Soul Calibur 2 to any other game. Of the last few girlfriends I’ve had, Soul Calibur 2 has been the lure. They’re play it, master it, taunt me when I lose. It’s got a bizarre charm, I suppose.

  5. My last girlfriend, while not much for halo, was very into Zelda.
    My sister, on the other hand, loves Halo 2 right to Death. We’re currently slowly blasting our way though Co-Op legendary mode. She’s the sniper, and I’m the idiot who’s always dying and getting us both sent back to the last checkpoint.

  6. “Halo is not a forgiving or inviting experience for those who aren’t familiar with the conventions of the genre”

    THANK YOU. My co-worker lent me his old XBox with some marquee titles, and my experience with this, my first non-Metroid Prime FPS, has been…fairly unskilled. Thank goodness it’s not just that I suck (even though your girlfriend is two levels ahead of me, and I’ve had it for a week…).

  7. Project Runway is the least annoying reality show I’ve ever seen, and I attribute this to the fact that the people involved are actually using genuine skills to create something tangible. Also, gay men are always entertainingly catty. I don’t know that I’m a fan per se… but I don’t dislike it, and that puts it ahead of pretty much the rest of TV.

  8. as for girlfriends and games, i spent my last weekend in japan playing multiplayer civilization with my girl, since we’re not gonna see each other again before december, barring TGS miracles…

  9. I was going to recommend Half-Life 2 for her… but Ravenholm. Oh well.

    And that motion sickness from watching someone who isn’t good at games happens to me all the time. There are times where I have to demand that my wife no longer “moves the camera like that” or “stops cheching around the corners so fast.” My wife has been gaming steadily for about 6 years now and she still can’t use analogue sticks that well, and we went through most of Halo in co-op together.

  10. My wife goes for both the Tekken *and* the Soul Calibur. Which means we now have more 3D fighter discs in the house than really ought to be necessary.

  11. My experiences with games and motion sickness have been varied and odd. For some reason, Nintendo-produced games like Mario and Zelda rarely give me a problem. With most other games, I endure the queasiness and eventually “condition” myself, which was the case with Megaman Legends (MML2 didn’t give me a problem, interestingly) and Metroid Prime.

    A few games have turned out to be an absolute no-go, including Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. The character doesn’t move very fast, and something about the background sliding slowly made me intensely sick. I have motion-sickness bands for my wrists that take the edge off with some games, and they were no help whatsoever.

  12. Michelle SCHOOLS me in racing games. Thankfully, she’s more of a PC gamer (Diablo, Sims, puzzles), so my ego gets to stay somewhat intact. ;)

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