The top of my game.

It’s disheartening to think that I’m as good as I’m ever going to get at some of my favorite games. There comes that point, though, I just have to make my peace with it. My name will never be on the leaderboards adorned with glittering lights. I’ll never win the hearts of nerdgirls everywhere with a cleverly-built Magic: The Gathering deck or a perfectly-executed tech parry. I know better than to even boot up Starcraft.

Street Fighter: I am not good enough at this game to even be called a novice. My crowning achievement is this one time when I threw a guy, that was pretty cool.

Super Metroid: My skills at this game are nothing to sneeze at, but when I watch the world record videos my jaw drops in the sheer pixel-perfect precision on display.

Mario Kart: I’ve played this enough to have all the courses burned into memory, and I win way more than I lose, but all it takes is one triple-star grandmaster to drop a big fat reality check on me.

Rock Band: My nightmares consist of crazy fast alternating hammer-on sequences and kick pedals.

I had a conversation with a buddy the other day about how some people are just gifted with a natural aptitude for reflex and coordination. You can compensate for this somewhat by learning the game — playing smarter as it were — but that only carries you so far. It’s just like anything else, I suppose; I doubt I’ll ever climb Mt. Everest or win an Olympic gold medal either. Some things are meant to be.

This could be why I feel so drawn to RPGs since they let me experience the thrill of playing a vidja game without all the hassle of worrying about skill or technique. Play an RPG long enough and you win. Yay! Of course the flip side of this is that most RPGs are so boring that winning isn’t so much a reward as a relief. I bought Enchanted Arms for five dollars like two years ago, and it is still one of the most overpriced games I own. I think I have a total of thirty-six minutes logged on it.

Ah well. Back to Punch Out!! with me. I’m stuck on Glass Joe. Glass Joe. Dude put on headgear and has been stomping my ass for about a week now. It’s equal parts humiliating and hilarious.

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