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25 Years of Frags
I’ve been gaming since my parents bought a Commodore 64 in 1984 – around 25 years ago. From then on I embarked on a career of completing as many games as possible across a range of home computers and consoles, with highlights including Turrican, Kick Off 2, Civilization, Half Life 2, and so many others.
When I met Ceri she didn’t have a PC, a games console (except an old Gameboy) or even a liking for sticking a few coins into the arcade video games. She’s a few years younger than me and has only been gaming for the past five or six years.
So I’ve been gaming 25 years, around 20 years longer than Ceri – and she kicks me into next week every single time we play. She was two years old when I was playing Galaxy and Jet Set Willy on the C64. She only just started secondary school when I was finishing Goldeneye on the N64!
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She Can Win
When she knows she can win.
Here’s an example – I’ve been playing guitar since 1987, that’s 22 years of listening for different elements and layers, textures and more in some of the greatest rock music ever written.
Twenty minutes on Guitar Hero on the Xbox 360 and she’s beating me!
Obviously aside from the hand to eye coordination there is very little similarity between Guitar Hero, Rock Band and those types of game with actually picking up a real guitar and playing it – and although Ceri knows this, she still insists that she’s better on guitar than me, and has the scores to prove it.
It’s a difficult argument to win. I’ve tried.
Despite an aversion to coin-op arcade video games before we met, she’ll happily walk all over me on various soccer games, Virtua Fighter and pretty much any opposing two-player Japanese game you can think of. Again this is particularly galling because I have pwned those games SO MANY TIMES!
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Why Does She Do This?
Keeping the whole “Ceri kicks my ass” element of my gaming a secret has been tough, especially with the advent of Facebook. At one stage it was such a regular occurrence that the updates on her page would be one brag after the next, leaving me weeping into my PC keyboard as I retired to my office to once more swear “never again!”
I can’t even beat her at online chess.
Hotseat games on the PC go badly. If we set timers for scores or achievements on games like Civ, The Sims, Age of Empires she wins. We tried counting the number of times we died between the start and a predetermined location in Half Life 2 – she won. I’ve managed to complete HL2 on hard without dying a single time – there is no way in the world she should have beaten me!
Recently I’ve been trying to come to terms with this, get to the bottom of it. Do I have some sort of innate inferiority complex dooming me to failure before I’ve even left-clicked? Or is there an element of our relationship that just wants her to succeed so much, even when playing me? It’s got to the point where now I realise I don’t deserve to beat her just because I’ve been gaming longer – but that doesn’t mean I can’t beat her just once or twice.
Or do I just bottle it when the pressure’s on?
Recently I’ve decided there is only one thing for it. As far as she is concerned I’ve retired from gaming to spend all my time brushing up on my Led Zeppelin riffs (with a bit of Civ 4 just before bed).