I remember it like it was yesterday: my first attempt at playing Duck Hunt. I didn’t own any of my own consoles at that point, but I’d had early training in video games with my family’s ColecoVision (Donkey Kong Jr. and Smurfs were my games of choice). I’d done fairly well with my first attempts at Bubble Bobble and Mario. But Duck Hunt – Duck Hunt seemed extra cool. It wasn’t just pushing buttons.
You can probably guess how that went – I don’t know anyone who was actually good at that game (the above picture? Never happened for me). But what I didn’t know at the time was that my experience with Duck Hunt was just the beginning. I would be destined to be terrible at shooting games forever.
I realize that there’s quite a bit of difference between playing Duck Hunt and playing Call of Duty. Still, it’s hasn’t seemed to matter. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing Doom or Army of Two; I’m magically terrible regardless of the vintage or the controller.
I am absolutely not going to chalk this up to some gender thing; I like to take out a bad guy just as much as anyone. And I do do fairly well at the shooting game at the Darkmoon Fair in World of Warcraft. So perhaps it’s more a matter of practice than anything else; I’m comfortable with WoW and whatever it throws at me. In contrast, I’ve never wanted to be so good at Zombie U that I was willing to sit and let myself get attacked for hours as I got better (while giving myself a heart attack in the process – zombies, yeesh).
In that sense, maybe it’s also an issue of content. While I do like taking out bad guys, I’ve always been pretty bored by games where shooting is the main focus. In other games, I prefer to fight melee over range any day. The only game in which I’ve actually been annoyed that I’m a fail shooter is the Uncharted series – and even then, when watching friends play, the shooting sections tended to bore me after awhile and I wanted to get on to the puzzles, exploration and storyline.
As you might imagine, being uninterested in/terrible at various types of shooting games puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to gaming, because that’s a huge chunk of the market. And I still worry that there’s literally some skill I’m lacking – some spatial or hand-eye coordination thing. Or have I just “decided” I’m bad at games with guns and created a self-fulfilling prophecy of fail?
What do you think? Any tips on improving my game, or novel games that help my skill while being less… shooty? Are there any genres that you avoid, due to skill or general dislike? Share your thoughts below!