I’ve been a fan of video games for a long time. I grew up playing Pokemon, Super Mario World, and various editions of Madden and NBA Live; more recently, some of my best memories with friends involve Mario Kart or NBA 2K.
But here’s the thing: I’m bad at video games.
This doesn’t seem very common among people who enjoy games. There’s a common misconception that you have to be good at a video game to enjoy them; but I’m here to tell you that’s just not true.
It’s not just games I’m new to, either. It took me 11 years to beat Super Mario World. 11 years! Obviously I don’t mean straight through, but I had a save file I started in 2003, and I didn’t beat it until 2014. I’ve never beaten any of the other 2D Mario games either; I’m just not good at jumping from one thing to another.
My friends and I used to play Halo 2 every weekend back when it was popular; I finished last in every single game for a solid year, and never got even a little bit better. I’ve owned various versions of Madden for years, and while other Madden players are playing season modes and trying to go 16-0, I’m struggling to keep my team above .500. On pro difficulty.
So yeah, I’m bad at video games. But here’s the thing: that doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the games at all. In fact, it might increase it. More games are a challenge for me, since I’m bad at games other people are good at. While some people breeze through a Mario game, I’m struggling to get from level to level. But when I do pass that level, it’s a feeling of real accomplishment, not a given. When I beat the computer or a friend in Madden, it’s an achievement. When I actually get a kill in Halo 2, I’m genuinely surprised and excited. And really, isn’t that better than breezing through a game like it’s nothing?
So yeah, I’m bad at games. But you know what? I think I like it this way.