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Video Games I Gave Up On (but then they turned out to be fun)

Video Games I Gave Up On (but then they turned out to be fun)
  • On February 14, 2014

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I am not patient. I have limited time on this planet, and I want to spend it enjoying myself. Playing video games that are not engaging would be a waste of valuable hours I could be knitting or something.

That said, there are a few games I gave up on too soon:


1. Skyrim

Skyrim is so fucking BIG. It just goes on and on. The first time I played I didn’t know there was fast travel or carriages, so I found myself wandering around the countryside for literally hours with nothing to do. Basically I spent the entire time lost. I fell off the mountain I was supposed to meet those greybeard dudes on because I didn’t find the town with the stairs. I just tried to get there from the backside. Do not recommend.

I returned to it a few months ago in desperation for Dragon Age: Inquisition which I really want to be out already. But hey, Skyrim has dragons and swords! It turns out there IS fast travel from place to place. Once I figured out that there were probably towns or some obvious marker of where I was going, I could look for it instead of wandering brainlessly around and getting eaten by bears. Also I did quests in a better order so I gained levels easily and could do more things. Skyrim is a beautiful game that feels like a world unto itself. I can walk into a town and find things happening–a half dead dragon or a drinking contest that puts me on a wild goose chase for a crazy god. The main quest line is sort of incidental, but also fun as you get to pick a side and participate in a civil war. Worth a return, if you got overwhelmed by the scope like I did. My biggest complaint now is the low bag size and lack of money in the world to buy my shit.

Tip: Do the Winterhold quests and become a mage and then the archmage. Great digs, flamey hands to set your enemies on fire, cool robes, sense of superiority. Basically you’re Skyrim Slytherin. Do it.


2. Assassin’s Creed 2

I didn’t even make it out of Florence before I quit this game. I don’t like being sneaky so I kept getting killed by guards at first. I kept falling off buildings because I didn’t have the timing on all the buttons you have to push. I got to “learn how to walk hidden in a group of people” and gave up. There was no way I was going to enjoy that. I died a bunch of frustrating times, then quit. Ezio is hot but he isn’t worth that kind of pain. Also I did not understand what the fuck was going on. Future shit, past shit, some kind of Matrix shit, golden apples–WHAT. It wasn’t explained at all and I didn’t play ACI so if the answers are there, I didn’t have them.

I’m back because I got challenged by the Gentlemen Radio dudes. Who am I to deny a challenge?

ACII is a lot more fun this time around and Ezio is still super hot. Running around stabbing people in the neck is pretty cool, especially when you get the dual blades and  you can kill two dudes at once. The arterial spurt is pretty fantastic. Also I cannot deny the whole “meeting Leonardo Da Vinci and running around Italy” aspect, which is neat. I’m trying to decide why it’s fun now and the only answer I can give is that I stuck with it long enough to figure things out. I left Florence and got a villa to play with. I got to see the most epic video game line ever–“It’s-a me, Mario,” spoken with no irony whatsoever. Ezio is really hot. I don’t know.

There are many frustrating aspects to this game, still. As far as I can see, it takes about 4 or 5 hours to really get going. You don’t unlock all your moves until well into the game which is dumb. The controls are fiddly and require a deft hand which I do not possess. There are endless tutorials on various ways to move Ezio in combat. So many that my husband and I made up a new one in a fit of boredom:

Mario: eh, Ezio, sometimes in-a combat, they try to grabba your pee pee. When that happens, you have to grabba their pee pee by pressing XYBXY LT RT RB. Now let’s-a practice three times.

(Most of the characters don’t have outrageous Italian accents, but this guy really does.)

I still have no idea what the fuck is going on, but I don’t care as much because stabbing people in the neck is fun. I basically never use any weapon besides my hidden blades. Climbing impossibly high things is turning out to be pretty cool. I’ve also discovered you can just run away when guards come at you and eventually you lose them or hide in a hay cart. Sneaking is not wholly necessary. Overall, I’m enjoying it now. Worth a return, but I can’t say I was as excited to come back to this one as I was to Skyrim.

Tip: If the minstrels keep walking up behind you while you’re trying to sneak, just run headlong into them. They will drop their little mandolins and run away like the assholes they are.


3. Mass Effect Trilogy

People who know Bell and I might be shocked to learn that I actually played the first Mass Effect game before she did. A friend loaned it to me and I played through part of the very first mission. I got to the place where all the Geth were shooting at you then promptly quit. I think it was ten minutes in. Mainly, I quit because I didn’t know you could toggle first person/third person view and I was getting very motion sick. The game felt overwhelming and between that and motion sickness I saw no point.

When we went back to it, I enjoyed it very much (not the royal we, I played the games with my husband). The whole third person view thing made life a lot easier. I had many years of recommendations from Bell that were like “what the fuck is wrong with you, Mass Effect is the best thing that ever happened to this planet and you are WASTING YOUR LIFE.” So, seemed like it was worth a try.

Much has been written elsewhere on Mass Effect so I will leave it at: fun. I enjoyed it. I’m not emotionally attached the way some are, but I enjoyed the trip through the universe and would recommend the games. I liked the first game the best. There’s something about the smaller scope I like, and problems that feel solvable. We actually stalled on ME3 for a while because the story was so dark and depressing that we needed a break. By the third game, everyone is dying on planets all over the universe and there’s not a whole lot you can do to stop it. I’m glad we played through to the end, but it was another game I had to come back to after a few months off.

Tip: Find a friend to tell you which DLCs are worth buying. Some are more fun than others, I’m told.

The moral of the article is simply this: give games a second try. Sometimes, they’re worth another look.*

*Sometimes they’re not. Oblivion, I’m looking at you. And puking.

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