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And Now For Something Completely Normal


Hot-on-the-heels of one mid-life crisis, I do believe that I’m having another: being inclined to play games on their ‘normal’ difficulty setting.

Now, this is a big deal coming from someone weaned on the twitch-battlefields of Quake and Unreal; someone who prided himself upon completing everything on ‘hard‘ or more; someone who scoffed at anyone who did anything else. Yet as the big four-oh stares down upon me and the opening menus of games pop-up in front of me, I’m finding it near impossible to resist taking easy street.

But why?

Well, it’s partly down the fact that – as an ageing gamer with a hectic day-job – the thought of being razor-sharp in mind and body for something that’s supposed to relax me seems to rather defeat the object. The other is an element of impatience: I want to finish a game sooner rather than later and get on to the next one – rather like ploughing through a series of good books without being made to re-read chapters left, right and centre. There’s also the fact that a great game should be just as enjoyable to your average gamer on ‘normal’ as it is on ‘insane’ – a fact borne-out by my recent romp through Rapture. I found myself completely embracing the more measured pace of ‘normal’, soaking up even more of the audio-visual delights and stunning production design on offer as opposed to adopting the typical adrenaline-tunnel-vision that one does when in the middle of knife-edge gunfights and health-hunts.

Wow. That actually made me feel ill. And to think that I used to find it relaxing!

Agreed – it’s probably just an age thing. I get that. I really do. But the good news to any youngsters out there still screaming their way through COD for eighteen hours-a-day is that when the dust settles and the wrinkles bed-in, there’s still plenty to admire on the gaming landscape. Often in places that you wouldn’t have dreamt of looking.

So there you have it, Voxelites: not only have I hung-up the next-gen bandwagon for another year or so, I’m dancing through the proverbial daisies like some hippie on Skittles. If this is what January has brought to chez-Martin, the rest of the year should be interesting to say the least!

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Husband. Parent. Gamer. Go figure.

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One Comment

  1. It doesn’t help that many developers have no idea of how to put the effort in for a ‘hard’ mode, often just turning up the damage dials, reducing ammo and time etc.

    One thing Nintendo ARE good at – catering for people who want both, without ever appearing to.

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