Monday, April 26, 2010

Too much of a good thing

I bought five games last week. Six, if you count that I pre-ordered Starcraft 2. The other games were all for my gamecube and ps2. Why did I do this after vowing I would only play the gorgeous exploration-friendly Just Cause 2 (on PC) for the foreseeable future?

It seems I have injured my precious index finger, a precious resource in PC gaming. There are downsides to being a 3d game artist. The inability to distinguish leisure time from work time; explaining to people that you make video games, not Pixar films, and no, you don't want to make Pixar films, but yes you like watching them; and working in a stationary position for hours upon hours upon hours, moving naught but your fingers.

My fingers have become a big problem for me. I enjoy rock-climbing. I like gripping tiny holds with the tips of my fingers, balancing precariously, slowly shifting my body in any direction to ascend slowly up a sheer face. This requires a lot of finger strength. And working on a wacom tablet for hours at a time does not relieve one's fingers. And then typing ctrl+z repeatedly over and over to get just the right stroke on a 2d photoshop painting. That does not help my fingers or hands. And typing this tale (I enjoy typing) does not help my fingers.

The main issue I have with my choice of career, which I would not give up for the world, is that it taxes so little of me that I feel as if I am wasting eighty percent of my being. We are animals, built to exert ourselves, and now, through overuse of those few parts that I do use, I have made it even more difficult to exercise the other eighty percent of me. (At least, in the manner I'd prefer.)

So I have bought a bunch of games for my last-gen consoles because they rely on my thumbs, and this will give my wounded index finger a rest.

The Sonic Mega Collection was one of my purchases, and for the past week I have been playing through Sonic The Hedgehog for the first time (well, I have now played it about fifteen times over the last five days). This gauntlet of trial and death is fascinating. I like the excellent little curve that allows me to get about a level or two further each time. The sequel (I did play Sonic 2 in college) was much faster in one's movement around the levels, and so I find this slower trap-laden method of level progression to be more difficult. I will have to check out Sonic 2 after beating this and see how it compares after playing the first.

I guess I am a little glad for this break from current games. I am only now coming into my own as a gamer. Absorbing all of these various classics for the first time (Sonic, Metroid Prime, Kingdom Hearts, Sly Cooper) is a fun important exercise of its own. Heaven knows I can't give up gaming completely. These might still use my hands, but at least I will be beating my thumbs up instead of my other more tender digits.

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