I’m using a Razer mouse with an eXactMat and a Nostromo N52te game pad to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It was going terrible and now it’s going a little less awful, but not good yet by a long a shot. It’s taken about 6 0 10 hours to learn the settings, program the game pad and practice how my fingers need to move so that I don’t get too hurt whilst playing, generously about the length of time it takes the average player to finish the whole campaign. It would’ve taken at least twice as long if I didn’t have help. I’ve never really played a first person shooter other than a little dabbling with Half-Life 2 and so it is a rather big learning curve for me. It took a while to realize that I had different limitations in this game than in others and was imposing limitations when there is none.
I get hurt when I move without thought. My joints aren’t stable and I can’t keep track of them very well and whenever I employ that auto-pilot everyone else uses to walk and and talk and eat and drive, I loose control and move too far or too fast and things fall apart. I have to think about what I am doing when I am doing it all the time. As such, I’m hesitant to move quickly. Pain is a pretty effective deterrent. Fortunately, holding down or hitting a key to run is much less complex than actually running. As a result, my character in-game can move a lot faster without any risk than I ever could. It was both frightening and exhilarating to realize this as I ran up a pipe in-game, jumped across a gap and crouched down for cover, immediately aiming. I have been slow and hesitant moving in-game. At first I thought it was because I was paying so much attention to my hands and that my reflexes were too slow, but then I realized that when running is reduced to a single key press, it shouldn’t be that slow.
I’m finding CoD: MW2 a very realistic game to play and that has both advantages and drawbacks. It’s a thrilling escape from the daily grind, but it also means that I bring more real life baggage into it than is required. I changed the single player setting from recruit to regular last night, forcing myself to stop sitting back in my comfort zone and watch the world go by as I take my time to act. It’s difficult, for now, and challenging, but it’s also the reason why I’ll keep going back to it. I enjoy the challenge. I love the learning curve. And one day, maybe, I’ll really get the hang of it.