I actually consider myself a fairly competent gamer, generally.

I can think laterally, and as such puzzle elements, from Portal to Zelda, do not usually pose me too many difficulties. I’m not bad at platform games. I’m pretty good at sports games. I adopt something of a “mash the keypad” approach to fighting games, but nothing out of the ordinary; I am still able to play them without being ridiculed, and occasionally even win at them. Shooters, however, are a different matter altogether. I’m not just talking about those players that always lose within a group of fairly hardcore gamers; proficient enough in their own right, just less so than their peers. No, I’m talking perpetually pirouetting while pointing my gun directly above my head, forgetting how to reload my weapon in my state of panic, usually resulting in accidentally switching off my 360 or hitting myself in the eye with my pad (which incidentally is the nearest I come to causing any damage while playing the game) levels of bad.

The first shooter that I made a genuine attempt to play was the seminal Goldeneye on the N64. If memory serves me correctly my two brothers had had a few weeks’ head start before I got to play it. So taken with it were they that they had already memorized many of the multiplayer maps, putting me at a huge disadvantage. I persevered however; I could see how incredible the game was for these two fairly evenly matched players, and I thought that it was only a matter of time before I reached their level. It’s now 15 years later, and I still haven’t learned those bloody maps. Or learned how to shoot within 8 feet of an enemy, come to think of it.

This ineptitude is certainly not limited to Goldeneye, either. During those 15 years I have attempted to play the likes of Halo, Gears of War, Perfect Dark Zero, and Turok. I was going to say that I had played them all with varying degrees of success, but that wouldn’t be true; I have played them all with exactly the same amount of success: absolutely none. I have never – not once – intentionally done something proficient while playing a shooter. I have done things that might look good, but they mostly arise from me happening to lean on the pad while spinning. Oh how my friends laugh.

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