It’s a funny thing, patience.  It’s never been my strong suit.  Compared to a decade ago, I’m Gandhi.

I like to play certain games on harder difficulty settings, and that takes patience and planning.  I particularly enjoy this with shooters – I rarely feel challenged in FPS unless it’s set to hard.

It’s rewarding to beat games when they’re harder than normal.  I thought I was learning life lessons through tough gameplay – learning to be even-tempered when I fail.

Generally speaking, I know when to quit.  I dislike getting angry when I game.  I like to have fun when I game.  So the instant I start feeling irritated, I move on to something else.  I never get to the controller-throwing phase (unlike in childhood).

mr.ragequit

Still a chiller hang than Mr. Tickle

I haven’t played Call of Duty online in months.  I started noticing how frustrated I’d get, whether there were boosters or campers or my connection was horrible or I was playing like it was my first date with a video game or what have you.  I realized how generally defeating that experience was for me.  When I game, I want to enjoy myself, not silently curse at 10 year olds or the Internet connection.

Quitting CoD was a step in the right direction for lowering my daily dose of irritating events.  Consequently, my ego inflated.  I thought I was Little Miss Patient.  I was pretentious enough to think I could write a blog post about how amazingly patient and grown up I am as a 30-something adult(?), and how it’s largely due to my gaming practices.

Then I played Hotline Miami.

Let’s get one thing out of the way – the music is fantastic.  Great soundtrack.  Great compilation of different artists.  Love it.  Love the art and the style and the gore and the layout.

The gameplay, however, made me want to fast pitch my controller out the window of my home.  If you’re unfamiliar with Hotline Miami, here’s how it goes.  You go in a door, and you die.  Over and over again.  You go in doors and get touched and die.  And you start over at the beginning of the level each time.

Hotline Miami

I told her not to touch the pig.

But people love this game.  People are rabid about this game.  I was so confused.

The experience got me thinking about a number of flaws in my self-view.

First of all, I didn’t grow up playing games like this.  Why didn’t I grow up playing games like this?  Because I threw my damn controller when I was a kid and my parents boxed up the Atari and I never saw it again.

I never saw it again!  THAT IS SO TRAGIC!

So I didn’t grow up playing Mega Man or Contra or Gauntlet.  I didn’t go through the torture of limited lives and no checkpoints.  I don’t even know if those games have limited lives or checkpoints.  I know that I like the music for those games, but that’s it.

Gamers tend to be the equivalent of the grandparents who said, ‘When I was your age, I walked uphill both ways to school in the snow when it was 40-below’.  Whatever, I get it; aspects of gaming were harder then.

There are hard games though.  Demon’s Souls.  People say it’s hard.  I’ve never even played Demon’s Souls.  Who am I to think I’m all “Patient Gamer of the Year”?

There’s a positive spin on this, though.  I didn’t have to pay for Hotline Miami thanks to PlayStation Plus.

(ooooooh, snap!)

Seriously, though – the positive spin is this: I continue to learn my limits as a human being when I game. Because that feeling of frustration I get when I’m not succeeding?  That tends to happen to me in real life.

Even better – sometimes we lose objectives in a game because the game isn’t functioning quite right; like getting stuck on a pole in the ground as you’re running away from enemies or something.  Life is like THAT too.  But we continue to play the game anyway, because that’s what it’s all about.

punchout

What are the hardest games you’ve played?

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Emily Reese is an on-air host for Classical Minnesota Public Radio. She is also the host and producer for Top Score, Classical MPR’s podcast about video game soundtracks, and created MPR’s Listening to Learn series. She earned an undergrad certificate in music education and jazz studies from the University of Colorado — Boulder, and a Master’s degree in music theory from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Emily lives in Twin Cities with her cats Atticus, June Bug and Lee, and loves gaming, with or without friends.