Thursday, March 12, 2009

Video gaming therapy

So, I've been getting very frustrated while playing video games recently as I'm sure you're all aware of (and which sometimes I'm sorry I brought it up) and I didn't really know how to get that excitement back. I think I've finally figured it out and I can sum it up in two words.


On Tuesday, after a long day at work, I finally decided I needed to connect my DVD player and PS2 up in my new house. I wasn't going to watch a movie and by the time I got around to getting everything connected I hadn't planned on playing a game. But I did. I put in Final Fantasy X-2 again and after about 30 minutes things started to feel right with the world again.

Of course things didn't feel all that "right" in my hands at first. Holding my Dualshock 2 PS2 controller felt weird. It felt too light, insubstantial and cramped. While the controller looks symmetrical the stick placements seemed off. My wrists felt awkwardly bent and I was afraid my thumbs would trip over themselves while I played. And then I remembered when holding a PS2 controller didn't feel that way.

I remember going from the flat, oval controllers for my SNES to the dual stick controllers for the PlayStation. It felt awkward at first, but after awhile it felt completely natural. It felt like this was the only way to hold a controller and play a game. For years I lived that way, first with my PlayStation, then with my PS2. Sure, there was s GameCube thrown in there but 99% of my game time was spent with a DualShock controller in hand.

I remember when the original Xbox came out and I hefted their original controller (the big black hamburger) it felt awkward. The sticks were not symmetrical, the buttons at an odd angle and way too close together. How could anyone play I game using this controller? I eventually moved to the "S" model of the controller which fit better in my hands and wasn't quite so bulky. When I got my Xbox 360 I went through a similar situation, but it was easier to get use to the new controller.

It was probably easier because there were move games I wanted to play consistently with my 360 that I didn't really have with the the original Xbox. While I was playing the original Xbox I was still playing my PS2 for the majority of my time. The PS2 controller was the one that felt the most natural and comfortable in my hands. But unfortunately I haven't played my PS2 for at least 5 months, maybe more.

So even though it was very late when I finally got my DVD and PS2 hooked up I decided I wanted to put something in and see if the machine still worked. I put in Final Fantasy X-2. It worked. When I looked at my save file the last time I saved the game was in May of 2005. The other game I considered playing was Final Fantasy IX and that save files was from April of 2003. I couldn't believe it had been that long since I've played that game. I guess if I would have thought about it I should have realized it HAD been that long.

I remember when my PS2 had been my life. Now it seems that is true of my Xbox 360. Don't get me wrong, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I think there are more FPS games for the 360 than there are for the PS2. Maybe it has something to do with the "typical gamer" for that system, or maybe it's just a trend that has recently just surfaced. I'm a RPG gamer at heart as I've said before so there is only so much FPS action I can take before I start to lose it. And recently I think I've been losing it.

So when I restarted FFX-2 again for what was probably the third of fourth time I felt like I was finally coming home. My mind and body could give a sigh of relief and some much needed RPG therapy could begin. And as much as I wanted to go to bed I stayed up and played for about a half an hour before calling it a night. And yesterday I went back for some more therapy.

Does that mean that I'm done playing FPS like Gears of War, Halo, or Call of Duty? Absolutely not. As much as I liked playing FFX-2 it was kind of lonely with no one to talk to. For now I'm content to play some Final Fantasy and remember why I liked playing video games in the first place. I'm sure the controller will feel natural in my hands again too. I've just got to figure out how to balance my RPG and FPS desires so I don't get burned out on one or feel lonely on the other.

I think everyone should experience some video game therapy every now and then. There's nothing worse than a gamer who puts the games away because they've forgotten why they love playing video games in the first place. And besides, even with the cost of high speed internet and video games it's still cheaper than laying on a couch talking to a shrink. And blowing up things or cutting enemies down with a sword is so much more cathartic, don't you think? That's all I'm saying.


Zak said...

My mother is a Mario addict. Before I got married, she had to put the Nintendo64 away, because she was embarrassed that my wife will see her play, so she took it to Mexico and plays it when she goes on vacation. She plays for hours. I need to post a pic I have of her playing back in the day before I was into gaming. She bought the Nintendo for herself, not her kids. ha ha ha. Now she wants to buy a DS, maybe for Mother's day or her b-day which is on the same day.

Pengwenn said...

Well, there's one reason why I'm not married and don't have kids . . . I don't want to share my gaming equipment with anyone, no matter how much I love them.

And I forgot about my N64. I think I played that more than my original Xbox for awhile. My favorite game for the longest time on the N64 was Star Wars: Battle for Naboo and Rogue Squadron. I liked playing them much better on the N64 than I did my computer.

Zak said...

the good thing is that my wife is not into gaming yet. Maybe when she see's that you can play Uno, she might start playing it. Maybe for Mother's day, I'll buy my wife a WII.

metallicorphan said...

N64 and the cube were great

favourite N64 game was Zelda Ocarina of Time

favourite Cube game..Twin Snakes(metal gear solid 1 remake)

and if you think the PS2 controler feels light,you should feel the Sixaxis that came with the first lot of PS3s...feels like a Fisher Price toy

anyway 360 controller =best ever

360 D-pad=worse ever

and Final Fantasy 9 is the best fantasy,er,Final fanatsy that is,not fant....nevermind

Pengwenn said...

Long live Vivi! I'm sooooo close to the end in that game, but I haven't played it for a very long time. I don't know if I should start it again (I could never make the queen happy durring the play-if you remember that part) but that would probably be the 10th time I've restarted the game. Maybe when I finish FFX-2 I'll think about restarting it.