We took a few willing volunteers, whose last experience of gaming was a few frantic years of Pokémon, and put them face to face with a plethora of great games. How would they react?
Tom Plays… Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
We introduced Tom, a French student, to the only First Person Shooter in our line-up. After grasping the basic controls, our test subject was set loose on the infamous Zombies mode, which frankly ended in disaster.
After repeated cries of “the zombies kill me too quickly!”, we agreed to set up a casual shoot ‘em up against some computer-controlled enemies, which Tom took to like a Rambo-esque duck to water. Tom ended his game with 43 kills and just three deaths. Just don’t tell him the enemies were on the easiest level…
After grasping the basic controls, our test subject was set loose on the infamous Zombies mode, which frankly ended in disaster.
Tom admitted that the casual shooting was good stress relief and highly addictive. He confessed that if he owned the game he probably “wouldn’t get anything done”. A fair point, but everyone needs some downtime!
Catherine Plays… Slender
Catherine’s gaming experience consists of Pokémon… just Pokémon. Slender, our most terrifying game on offer, was a brave step for her in the world of video games. In the first few minutes she admitted she was feeling “a bit scared” about a game where even hardened gamers descend into crying and calling for Mummy sooner rather than later. The “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” and heavy breathing came only minutes after her admission of fear. Confronted by a building complete with narrow corridors and blind corners in which she had to enter, she asked us in a slightly timid voice how to run, closely followed by “Is he in the building? He will be, won’t he?”
In the first few minutes she admitted she was feeling “a bit scared” about a game where even hardened gamers descend into crying and calling for Mummy sooner rather than later.
The Slenderman caught her without her managing to find a single one of the eight pages dotted around the spooky forest in which the game takes place. Quite an anti-climatic end, but we think Catherine was glad it was over. Catherine admitted she probably wouldn’t play Slender again, but would probably go for “something a bit nicer”.
Natalie Plays…Dear Esther
Putting horror to one side, we decided to challenge our avid newbies with something a little more abstract. Enter Dear Esther. The marmite of the gaming world, Dear Esther is either the best example of games as art so far, or it illustrates just how little can pass for a game nowadays.
Natalie, a third year natural science student, definitely had doubts to whether what she was playing was actually a game: “For me, in a game, there has to be some kind of gameplay where your actions have an objective”.
Beyond the debate of games and not-games, Natalie identified another obstacle for new gamers, “I find it hard to spend a long time playing games”. After a couple of hours she gradually loses interest, a far cry from some of the marathon-like gaming binges of seasoned gamers.
“For me, in a game, there has to be some kind of gameplay where your actions have an objective”.
Katies Play…Surgeon Simulator 2013
Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a game famed for simulating operations in a slapstick style wholly unbecoming of any medical school worth its salt. In search of a second opinion, we introduced the game to two medics, both called Katie. We began with a simple heart transplant procedure, where the first logical step is to carefully remove all of the patient’s pesky ribs. Katie J chose the hammer, while Katie R opted for the bone saw.
Unfortunately, both choices turned out equally horrific for the patient. The medics struggled with the game’s over-exaggerated physics and ridiculously difficult control scheme. You’re forced to operate with a single hand, with each finger being controlled by a key on the keyboard, which is far from realistic. Katie R left her patient to bleed out after a slight mishap with the power drill, while Katie J raged at her failure, and confirmed “it really is nothing like actual surgery”.
by Liam Ross, Tom Mackay, Rob Priest, Richard Lakucs & Daniel Baggley