CommandoSports and the Missing Mojo

At the start of the week, I was feeling pretty good about myself: I’d knocked Burnout Paradise off The List, and I was snaffling regular Achievements from the purportedly difficult Bionic Commando: Rearmed. My plan was to hammer away at a few of BC‘s Challenge Rooms, a spot of current project N2O, and a little bit of Geometry Wars practice. So, how did I do?



I started positively enough, clearing four or five Challenge Rooms a night. The first dozen or so were straightforward enough, although it’s a bit peturbing to check the Friend’s Leaderboard after successfully clearing a “tricky” level and seeing that a mate completed the same Room in one-fifth the attempts. But suddenly the Rooms started getting… well, impossible. I resorted to YouTube, awash with videos of people completing these rooms in stupid-quick times with maximum rank. I see – and replicate – some new tricks, and eventually the Rooms become straightforward again; tricky, sure, but nothing practice can’t overcome. Well, practice and 180-ish attempts. I kid you not.

And suddenly, it’s Friday night and there’s only six of the Challenge Rooms outstanding. A couple of them are quite silly; number 55, in particular, leaves me absolutely bemused; no videos or descriptions make the slightest bit of sense to me. I mean, check this out:

Start by just dropping down to the platform below. Face the left wall to grapple the first block. Once you’ve done that, wait till you’re at the height of your swing going right. Press down to do the arc jump and at the height of this jump, throw your grapple at the white block. If you hit this successfully, you’ll pass through the wall. Once you do, press down to let go and then immediately do a vertical grapple back up to the white block. Pull yourself up, press down to let go and immediately press B to do a regular diagonal grapple so that you start swinging. Then just hold right to fall off and finish the stage.

I watch, I read, and I try… and, after the 150th attempt with not a single second grapple connecting, I think: fuck this.

And, just like that, my Gaming Mojo disappears.

Saturday saw me listless, not willing to commit to any gaming time at all. Most would consider that normal, not undesired, behavior, but to this O/C Gamer it feels something like the Kiss Of Death… how can the psychological weight of The List be reduced if I’m not working to lessen it? But I reluctantly decide to give myself a bit of time, and spend the day catching up on anime (yet another habit stereotyped by the thirty-eight year old male). Sunday starts much the same, but a brisk walk through the parklands at least inspires me to fire up one of my Go-To Games.

I’ve got a couple of Go-To Games, games that I can use as mood shifters, as comfort food for my thumbs: Jet Set Radio Future is the perfect medicine for when I’m feeling sick-and-sorry for myself. Speed-running The Library in Halo raises my confidence when it’s shot. When everything feels like a grind, New Super Mario Brothers reminds me that games are, indeed, fun. But today I opted for a spot of tennis in Wii Sports.

And it was just the ticket.

I love Wii Sports tennis. Now, I’m not good at it (with a Rank hovering around 1400, whereas the EliteScores high is 2400), but I find it a great palate cleanser. A few games, and I’m feeling perky again; suddenly, I wonder where I’m at with my Wii Sports goals.

My targets are pretty simple: all Pro status on the games, all Gold Medals on the training levels (and yes, I am aware that there are Platinum Medals… I just don’t think they’re a reasonable goal). A quick review tells me that the only Pro rank I’m missing is in the boxing, and there are eight Golds missing: all the bowling, all the boxing, and a couple of the golf. A couple of hours sees my boxing Rank leap from 200 to 600-ish, a Silver and a Bronze where there was previously none in the boxing training, and a lucky Gold in the golf Target Practice.

Oh, and a wrenched shoulder.

That is why I don’t play more Wii Sports.

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