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Positive reinforcement from videogames

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#1 Mercurius


    Ars est celare artem

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 10:35 PM

So there I was chatting with some other forum who brought up that they were gonna start up some Monster Hunter Generations. I don't have that game, so I didn't join them, but it did get me into the mood of playing some Monster Hunter, so I booted up my 3DS to load MH4U for the first time after half a year or so.
Now I should note that I've never been one of those people who play Monster Hunter to think that it's a fantastic game because its difficulty encourages you to put in tons of hard work that pays off in elitist privileges by the end of it allowing you to shit on whoever's still having a hard time with it. Most of the time when I won something in Monster Hunter it either ended in "Glad that's over with...sheesh" or "I wonder how many more runs I'll need to craft this thing" or "Eh, just another day of Monster Hunter." The battles had become routine but were still challenging enough to keep my attention instead of going autopilot or derping around just to win anyway. (Which is really the only level of difficulty I'm looking for.) Whatever the case, it's not a big deal.
So I figured, oh hey Chaos Gore Magala is up at the Guildmarm, I'm good at fighting that, let's do this like usual.
I got stomped within the first minute.
Completely. Utterly. Devastatingly. I felt like I couldn't do anything right. I wasn't even sure how I was supposed to change into axe mode again. It's like that relic armor I was wearing that dropped from fighting Lv140 Shagaru Magala possibly hundreds of times didn't mean jack shit anymore.
So then I went to go fight Dahren Mohran, because...well that fight is almost impossible to lose, and the whale was my usual punching bag for when things didn't go right in Monster Hunter. The problem? I wasn't even good at punching the punching bag anymore. My body once knew how to most efficiently wield the weapon I chose as my favorite and now it was just confused about everything. At first I wasn't even sure how to sheath my weapon. I still won at the end, but I didn't feel any victory from it.
Then, I don't know what came over me, but my disbelief continued. I wasn't going to let this be reality. I mean it's a videogame, but that's all the more true as to why I shouldn't accept this. I was good enough at doing this, and I knew it. So I selected the quest for Molten Tigrex.
That's when it all happened. The first run, I didn't do so well...I was being too aggressive. That wasn't my style. Then the following quotes popped into my head as I fought it a second time...
"Let's be real here. That would have hit me back when I was used to this."
"Oh snap, I hit the normal guard button instead of guard pointing...well, I survived either way."
"I...carted...? G-Rank damage is bullshit. Yeah, sure, I'm decked out in G-Rank gear, but still. Let's chalk it up to that."
"A roar! Blocked! Oh, but it wasn't a guard poin- OH SNAP ANOTHER! GUARD POINTED! YEAH! I CAN DO THIS!! TRIPLE ROAR?! BRING IT! GUARD POINTED AND SMASHED IT IN THE HEAD!! WOO!! Wait, quest complete? ...I meant to do that."
And every time I thought things like that I was bewildered at myself. Basically anything that wasn't a failure counted and anything that was didn't count as my fault. I've never thought like that before.
The world I live in was supposed to be a place where all critics are allegedly of good judgment, where any of your own retaliation was nothing but proof of your weakness, where there are no legitimate excuses for anything, where "Just DO it! You can do anything if you just try!" is supposed to count as actual help even as it trivializes time, all the troubles to come and whatever brought you to think it wasn't worth doing, where the ones that are considered righteous in their hearts are the same who will belittle and slander another's name to feed their superior ego, where everything is supposed to be your fault and never another's unreasonable conditions.
It makes absolutely no sense for me to just throw all that knowledge away in determination to prove that in the face of evidence of my incompetence I was totally awesome as I am. Yet, I did it anyway. I wasn't going to let myself walk away from it thinking I suck now even after hundreds of hours of playtime. I went on to fight against Chaos Gore Magala again right after the two fights with Molten Tigrex, and this time, I won. It took a few more minutes than it used to, but I still won and didn't cart.
I had to continue until I knew it wasn't all for nothing. I didn't learn from no mistake, I just needed to get my thoughts working in the right direction. Now that I think about it, I think that's what I've been doing for most of the time I do spriting. I wasn't making mistakes, I just wasn't sure what it is I was trying to do, and did a bunch of different things until I found out. Sometimes I did end up making a mistake by going too far in a direction that clearly wasn't right when I thought it might be and frankly all that did was make me feel like shit for wasting time and being an idiot, but with the magic of computers, it was easy to go back to the last point where things were still okay until I could look at a result, pretend that it was all worth it, and go on to relax reading investopedia or something.
I still got this. That's all I wanted to know, and it's been a damn long time since I've felt proud of anything I did. I'm not quite sure if anything other than a videogame could pull that feeling off with little reprecussion, that feeling of knowing what you do mattered even after memories fade and there's no one else to care.

I believe in judgment of humans through their judgment of fiction, for nothing else tells better of their disposition freed from apprehension.

#2 Blue Leafeon

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:40 PM

Good story, bro.


And now you've possibly given me a little insight on why the heck my friend plays games that refuse to let you just have a good time, despite the countless fails and inevitable frustration/anger.


#3 Mercurius


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Posted 06 January 2017 - 09:27 PM

Funnily enough I actually haven't really failed all that much throughout my MH questing (basically by the time I got the hang of Great Jaggi I more or less got on the right track) outside of particularly specific fights..and anything underwater I guess. Strangely, a number of people who consider themselves excellent players try to point out that it's all about mastering the monster's patterns through repitition...but I clear most things through general skill rather than think about anything specific for how to deal with an enemy. I guess if you're aiming to triple charge greatsword everything what they're saying would have more merit, but otherwise...it kind of makes them look worse at the game than they claim themselves to be.

I believe in judgment of humans through their judgment of fiction, for nothing else tells better of their disposition freed from apprehension.

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