On The Evolution Of Gaming Skill
First off, I want all the credit for not spelling “Skill” with a Z at the end. It took some self control.
Carrying on, then.
While I have been playing games since the glory days of the arcade, and an avid purchaser of console games since the Sega Genesis, I was always awful about actually finishing them. That didn’t change until a friend and I played through Battlefront II back in 2007, but since then I have quite prided myself on a steadily-increasing willingness to try new games and new genres and tackle them with the intent of, you know, actually playing the entire dang game.
One of the earliest games I played after having the “wait, I can BEAT these?” epiphany was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, hereafter CODMEW, which was notable both for being almost immediately played, rather than left in the shrink-wrap, and also because I’m almost certain that it was my first experience of sitting down with a game and not stopping until I saw the end credits. It’s pretty short, to start, and it rarely slows down outside of loading screens and a couple of scripted bits, making it a good candidate for a one session play-through.
One of the best things about CODMEW, as the inexperienced twin-stick FPS player I was at the time, was a very user-friendly feature baked into its tutorial. Essentially, you’re given an obstacle course to play through, with a fairly generous time limit, and the game assesses your score at the end and suggests a difficulty. If you don’t complete the obstacle course within the time limit, it runs you through it again. You can of course run it again yourself if you want to test yourself a bit.
Back when I played through the game for the first time, it suggested “easy”, which I thought was quite fair.
It’s been nearly nine years since then, and CODMEW has always stuck with me as one of the best experiences I’ve had in this hobby, so I naturally bought the spiffed-up shiny remastered version.
Now, keep in mind that I have played a lot of games since then, including some that have a reputation for being rather taxing. I went into the tutorial, then, with some anticipation that nine more years worth of gaming experience would be reflected at the end of the obstacle course.
Technically, having it suggest “normal” DID represent some improvement. Right? Right?
…I will just be over here clutching the tattered remnants of my dignity.
(Oh, and I played it start to finish in a single sitting again. It holds up very well and it’s neat to look at all of the things it did that other shooters have since borrowed.)