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Birth of a Gamer:
Unreal Tournament - A blow to my ego.
By Heather "elki" Haselkorn
Vol. 2, Issue 8
January 11, 2000


From here on all, my previous thoughts about horrible and corruptive mindless video game violence went out the window. Now, I was the game. There was no Heather anymore, just a lean, mean fightin' machine. And I won every deathmatch I played after that. When the game announced that I was on a killing spree, I heartily and gleefully agreed. In fact, when I played through three deathmatches and I was able to switch to domination, I decided I didn't like it. There wasn't enough blood! Not to mention the fact that I really didn't like being on a team. So I went back to playing deathmatch, where it was just me against the Enemy...and I couldn't lose. I didn't care about any of the cheesy background information that the game provided about my opponents or about the levels. All I wanted to do was fight. Please don't remind me that I was only playing on the lowest skill level. I rocked, and I don't care what you say. I have no idea how many more matches I played, but I didn't stop until my wrists hurt. And after winning each match, I shouted and bounced up and down with glee.

I felt great after all my bloody triumphs. I felt as though nothing and no one could ever possibly beat me. I seemed to have forgotten, though, that I'd only been playing this game for a couple of hours, while most people I seem to come across have been playing games like this for years. Feeling grossly overconfident, I challenged loony to a duel. Maybe it wasn't the biggest mistake of my life, but it was definitely not a smart move.

First we set up a deathmatch with us and eight bots. I was great whenever I came up against a bot, but good ol' loonyboi got me every time. We then set up a one-on-one deathmatch on a USS Enterprise-like level. I'm proud to say I blasted loony into space a couple of times. And them blasted myself into space a couple more. The match didn't last very long. What was happening? I was so great before! Suddenly my eyes couldn't follow the action on my monitor. Loony, who'd played the game through already, knew all the levels and could find all the best weapons, body armor, and belts before I could even figure out where to look. He'd sneak up on me and start firing, and I was dead before I could even see him. At one point he took pity on me and told me that I should probably pick up some body armor before I start attacking anyone. Duh! Why didn't I think of that before? So I figured out where the body armor was and went for it. Unfortunately, it didn't help very much.

The worst, I think, was capture the flag. Everyone tells me how much fun CTF is, but I just couldn't do it. Within five minutes loony captured my flag and won the game. Meanwhile, I was still trying to figure out how to give orders to the bots on my team. Have I mentioned yet that I hate playing on teams?

I don't understand how anybody could become so good at these games. When do you (the hypothetical expert gamer) have the time to practice? I didn't fully realize the difference between playing against bots and playing against a real, very experienced human. I guess playing on the easiest skill level probably didn't help much; how could I not have been good when I was playing against bots who basically stood still? A real person is so much harder to play against, because you can't always guess what moves an experienced player will make. A real opponent moves faster, is smarter, and knows the game much better than any preprogrammed bot. Of course, I didn't think about any of this before I foolishly challenged the most experienced gamer I know. I guess I'll just have to resign myself to the fact that I'm unbelievably, laughably bad at computer games. But I'm sure having a hell of a good time!

-Heather "elki" Haselkorn actually enjoys this.


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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Birth of a Gamer is © 2000 Heather Haselkorn. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.