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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Running Without A Rulebook

Anyone else remember the days when video games came with a manual that you kind of had to read?

Stay with me here. This isn't just an exploration of how much of my life I've utilised playing games.

Way back when, if you wanted to know the controls and thematics behind a game - you needed to look in the manual. They'd contain tips and tricks as well as the straight-up controls. They were damn near essential, in a lot of ways.

These days in-game tutorials replace manuals almost entirely - and wiki pages cover the rest. Which is fine. I mean I don't mind, it's a lot more fun to actually be taught through play than just have an info dump.

With that as background, we're going to shift tack a little.

In terms of social interaction, and the general day-to-day life of human beings, I sometimes feel like the game came with a manual but I never read it.

Which sounds weird, I know, but - it's like...there's so many bits of life that everyone else seems to have a hang on that I find a bit puzzling. How do you know when you are at a certain level of social closeness with someone? How do you express that, make sure it is reciprocal? Does it even matter? What are the precise right things to say in any given situation? Who decided that? How much leeway is there, if any?

These things have confused me in the past, whereas everyone else seems to have read up on the topic and worked out what is going on.

This probably contributes to my introversion. I'll play logic puzzles all day and all night but when it comes to working out people and talking and other such, I'm performing mental cardio every moment I'm talking or listening.

There's probably a known medical condition related to that. How the fuck do you google it though? Can you get mental health stuff for it? It's not social anxiety - though it could probably aggravate it.

That doesn't mean to say that one can't work out how to play a game by doing, mind. You might even work out how to do things a little easier, here and there. Little ways of thinking about the "game" that haven't been informed by the manual. Exploits, console commands, that kind of thing. Still, it's not the same as actually knowing how to play the game.

I came across this particular description of how my brain works while talking to a good friend of mine. I'm very lucky that I have aforementioned good friends; because honestly, at times, I'm a fucking nightmare to deal with. I know it's taxing but they put up with me anyway. How lucky am I?

Just a thought.

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