(More shaky camera, please make it more shaky)
For years, I’ve felt behind the gaming curve and have always yearned to play the games that have passed me by. I’ve wanted to know what it was like to play deep into the night and this summer I had the opportunity to find out what the magic was all about. So, after years of wanting more, I decided to build my own PC. It turned out to be an absolute beast and I have a strange “this is my baby” feeling about it. Seeing it play modern games at the highest graphics settings gives me a sense of pride and has led me buy a bunch of games in order to catch up on all the graphics, action, stories, and late nights that I’ve never had.
It wasn’t easy but after only a couple weeks of assembling the USS Enterprise I felt like I was ready to dive into gaming. I started with some of the games I saw in magazines and websites that I felt sad to have never played. Instantly some came to mind and I hopped on Steam to compile my library: Skyrim, Total War: Rome, Bioshock, multiple Final Fantasies, Portal, and (last and 100% least) Mirror’s Edge. While I am a huge fan of League of Legends, I really enjoyed taking a break from LoL and grinding through some new adventures. Skyrim, Bio, FF, Total War, Portal, and many other games were a ton of fun – I binged hours of each and still pick up and play them all the time. BUT, I still don’t have to courage to go back to Mirror’s Edge after one horrific night.
The night started like any other night, I was playing some League of Legends but after a few losses I needed to do something else. No friends were able to hang out so I went to my contingency plan and started a new game: Mirror’s Edge. Mirror’s Edge is an action game where the player takes on a first-person view of a character that battles police forces using an arsenal of parkour moves. It’s exciting, fast paced, and has impressive visuals. I started ME with the goal of beating it in a few days, I’d heard the story was short and I thought it would be a quick fun game – I was hilariously wrong. That night, I started strong but after a couplre hours into the game, the parkour visuals and shaky camera was starting to affect me physically. Every time I fell or jumped to a different platform I felt myself having to take a few seconds to recover in order to prevent motion sickness. It was fine though until it got really late and a certain level (about level 5 or 6) starting giving me trouble. Suddenly, every time I fell I became anxious, my head was starting to hurt and I just wanted to beat this stage so I could go to bed.
BUT I COULDN’T.
It was crushing me, jumping around buildings and falling was really making me flash back to the days I would get car sick on family car trips in the summers. I would die, have to restart at a checkpoint and be filled with overwhelming dread. Over and over again the cycle happened. Run; jump; run; jump; MISS A LEDGE AND DIE; sob silently; restart from checkpoint. “Just finish, then you can go to bed. Dear goodness just finish” was all I kept telling myself – I wasn’t having fun….it was kind of like self-inflicted torture. Finally, I get to the end of the level and I find myself having to lay on the floor; the room is spinning and I have officially been defeated physically, in the real world, by a video game. I crawl to the bathroom where the motion sickness sinks its fangs in. I throw up, sit there in self-pity for a little while, wash up and go to bed.
The first thing I did the next morning was go to my computer and delete Mirror’s Edge from my computer – it’s not gone forever but it had to be done temporarily as just the thought of the game made me feel sick. However, I really learned a lot from that experience and wanted to share my lesson. Video games are supposed to be fun, relaxing, and a vacation from reality. Don’t put yourself through an experience where getting through a level is so imperative that you won’t quit until it’s accomplished. Mirror’s Edge is a great game I’m sure, and I plan to beat it one day, but for now the game’s name just reminds me of worst experience I’ve ever had gaming and it’s one I will never repeat.