Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can you be in a gaming family and stink at playing?

During the March Break, I admit that I became a bit restless with all of the spare time and no big projects to tackle. (Yes, I realize I have to learn how to relax. I'm working on it.) In the past, I used to play Webkinz a lot. Yes, Webkinz - the children's MMO. That was just my speed. I'd take care of the virtual garden (something I'd never do in real life), redecorate my mansion-like house (I used to brag that my Webkinz house was larger and neater than my real one), play games and send notes to other friends that had Webkinz. We just have one family account, which we began in 2006 and is part of the reason why we have over 70 Webkinz registered to that account (because both the boy's toys and the girl's toys go to the same place). Slowly, my girl began to take over the Webkinz visits and I didn't want to step on her toes, so I stopped playing myself. I decided over March Break that it was time I put my money where my mouth was, so to speak (especially after creating this blog) and play myself.

I asked my daughter which MMO I should join, since she participates in several. She hummed and hawed about it and said "well, maybe you can try Free Realms. You might have trouble with all the controls you'll have to use if you're in combat, but you might like it." This was not a strong vote of confidence in my favor. I logged on, created my character (Diana Echomind) and went on.

I realized one thing right away. Even though I have watched my husband and my kids play these kind of games over and over, I stink at playing them myself. My character ran jerkily through the forest. I was able to complete one quest - one that I had seen my daughter do when she first joined. I was a pretty poor map-reader and wasn't a very effective reader of all the information on the screen. I stumbled and bumbled my way through it for a while and then logged out. It reminded me of the time I tried playing Runescape - I burnt the fish I caught (okay, that's a lot like real life!) and had no clue what I was doing, despite helpful tutorials. It also reminded me of when I played Second Life for a brief time - I was so jealous of all these people who could fly and morph their appearances at will while my poor Artemis staggered around like a little lost soul. It's not coming easily to me, not like it does for my kids, but I need to put in the time to learn the ropes. I need to be patient with myself, and crawl before I walk, then run. I need to avoid comparing myself to much more L33T players and getting depressed at what I can't do. This is the one place where I get multiple chances to succeed and no penalty if it takes me a while to do it. I'll let you know how it goes (and whether or not I end up playing with my school's Webkinz account and settling for the comfortable "what I already know" game).

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