I have lost my gaming skills. I’m playing the first Mass Effect and I have encountered the matriarch Benezia. She does something to paralyze me, then she sends her bodyguards and I’m dead within seconds. It happens so fast I’m not sure I can do anything to overcome it. I’ve tried two times now and it makes me want to stop playing the game. Real life can be frustrating enough, do I really want to experience frustration virtually as well?
But perhaps I never had the gaming skills in the first place. I remember calling the Nintendo Hotline one time in the early nineties when I got stuck on The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. I was stuck on a boss monster called a Helmasaur. It was basically a scorpion with a helmet. The “Game Counselor” told me to try using bombs to shatter the helmet. It worked. That was kind of awesome now that I think about it. However, In this more advanced electronic age, I wonder if there could ever be a service in which a person gets stuck on a game and calls for help. Then the helpline person connects remotely and does the difficult part for you. Now I’m REALLY getting lazy. I won’t need a remote connection this weekend – I’m probably going to have my son get me past that difficult section of Mass Effect.
I also noticed that as I was playing Super Mario 3D Land recently that I died a few times on my way to Bowser in World 6. Then a magical block appeared at my starting point and I hit it. Out popped a white tanooki suit that basically made me invincible to all enemies. I discovered that even armed with this helpful super setting that I was still able to perish by falling in the lava. Everyone knows that even a white raccoon suit can’t withstand the high temperatures of molten rock. I finally beat the level with the help of this suit but I felt like I was cheating. I was glad to be able to move forward though.
I read discussions about whether current games are too easy now. Some people don’t like all of the extra help, but I kind of appreciate it. I only have so much time that I can spend playing a game. I don’t want to spend it feeling frustrated. Besides, there are still plenty of extremely challenging games out there. I’ve heard people on podcasts talking about a game called Dark Souls that is just brutally difficult – but they love it. Hard games will never go out of style but I like games that are a little easier.
What do you do when you get frustrated in real life? What do you do when you fail? It would be nice if we could just put on a magic suit and make everything right again. Real life simply doesn’t work that way – although it would be pretty cool if it did! We do have “game counselors” that we can go to. A wise person isn’t above seeking counsel when help is needed. Of course, even when one feels completely alone, a video game theologian can always trust in God. Even when you’ve lost your gaming skills.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalms 73:26 (ESV)