A Moment Of Glumness…

Warning: this is very much a stream-of-consciousness post, likely to only carry any kind of significance to me. By all means, read on; I won’t be disappointed if you just shake your head sadly and unsubscribe ;)

But first, a side note: I’m not including iPhone/Touch games on The List… yet. I still regard them as distractions, rather than compulsions. But if you’ve got the technology – and pay attention here, because this is the best advice you’ll get from me all year – check out Space Invaders Infinity Gene. It’s absolutely batshit bonkers, and in a good way.

Only two games received any love this week: Katamari Damacy and Tempest 2000. And, in investing some time into them, I think I’ve learnt something about myself & my attitude towards games.

Katamari has been on the boil for about two weeks now, and – by all accounts – it’s progressing well. I’m missing just one Item (the Drainboard, from Dove Lake), so if anyone out there knows where it is – or even what it looks like – please please pretty please let me know… the 1437 other items really miss it. There’s a couple of other outstanding tasks – 75% runs on Gemini and Cancer, plus a 100% run through the final roll-up – but everything else is all done… even the Names collection.

Returning to Tempest 2000 for the first time in a couple of months reminded me just why I stopped playing it in the first place – from sheer frustration at lack of progress. Levels 63 and 64 still resolutely refuse to give me a morsel of compassion, though I seem to have at least upped my likelihood at completing Level 63 to about 5%. Yes, five percent – one attempt in twenty will see me complete the level. A sniff around YouTube yields video of someone breezing through 64, claiming that the two penultimate levels are indeed harder than 64; this leaves me scared.

Scared, because I can’t see daylight. I can’t see where the skills are going to come from to push through this barrier, to go on to (satisfactorily) complete the game; it already requires a perfect storm just to get me through one of the “easier” levels. Strangely enough, Katamari also inspired the same kind of response in me – I’ve scoured the specified levels for my missing Item to no avail, and really cannot see how I’m going to complete that game without assistance (and no, the Drainboard is not mentioned in any FAQs). It’s a feeling eerily reminiscent of the hunt for the final Orb in Crackdown, but at least I could devise a methodical, systematic approach to that problem; I’m feeling utterly lost with Katamari.

But I did have a great time with Katamari early on; I compiled a massive checklist of levels to beat, Cousins and Presents to find, Items to locate, then set myself a deadline and started working towards it. Of course, initial progress was easy – and immensely fulfilling – as the earliest tasks were cleaved off the list, and ETAs based on averages revised.

This may sound like utter lunacy – but this is how my brain works.

It’s not “oooh, this is fun, let’s play some more”; that would be fine and dandy, and these weekly entries would read like pretty much every other one-man gaming blog out there. No – instead, my brain constantly reminds me of little deadlines and tasks and expectations, all of them self-imposed and utterly compelling. A little compulsion telling me that I really should complete another game this month, whittle down The List a little, before subsequent retail therapy inflates said List.

Now, I can cope with all this… as long as all my collated tasks appear tangible, doable, within the realms of my ability. And I’ll happily recognise that, whilst I’ll never be a great gamer, I’m solidly competent, and there are some things that I feel I really should be capable of.

And Tempest 2000 is one of them; I’m convinced I should be able to conquer that, and maybe even make a dent in Beastly Mode (though that’s not a List-worthy requirement). So this feeling of frustration is really quite biting, and harkens back to an earlier post… which, having just re-read it, actually makes me feel much better.

Wow.

I read a few blogs where the author has stated that the reason for their blogging was to allow them to Google their own trials and tribulations in the future; it appears I’ve just benefitted from that, too. I’ve just re-located my own mental salvation. What the hell, it’s only the second day of the month – still 29 days left to complete something! – and there’s so much fun to be had. I’ll beat T2K eventually, and someone will point me in the direction of the Drainboard, and I’ll fluke the country roll-up in Katamari. And along the way, there’ll be Gridrunner Revolution and numerous other trinkets of loveliness that remind me of all the fun stuff this hobby provides.

Ah, much better.

That, my friends, was therapy in blog form.

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