Opinion: Five Tell-Tale Signs You’ve Been Playing Certain Games Too Long
Assassin’s Creed – You want to climb every building you see
Immerse yourselves in the free-running, structure-scaling adventures of Altair, Ezio or Connor, and all of a sudden every single building out in the everyday world looks ripe for the taking. Every windowsill or ledge is a possibility for your itchy feet; every rooftop – no matter how high – is a challenge that must be conquered.
Seriously, after an intense session of an AC game you may well be struggling with the intense desire to run up to all of the buildings in your vicinity and scramble up the walls; suddenly seeing useful footholds and vantage points where before there was only rough brick and faceless glass.
Fortunately, I’ve yet to hear of anyone so-afflicted by this condition that they have actually attempted to scale a ridiculously high landmark. Or drag some random passer-by into a haystack for some impromptu wrist-blade action…
Dead Space – You find yourself nervously checking your surroundings
The Dead Space games are a rollercoaster ride of edgy seat-of-the-pants tension as you enter ever corridor and chamber on tenterhooks, knowing full-well that the twisted Necromorphs are just waiting to burst out of nearby windows, access points and air-ducts.
Sink yourself into these experiences enough, and switching off the console or PC no longer frees you from that air of nervy distrust. Instead, whenever you step into a room or hallway you instinctively find yourself staring into the corners, behind and above you, lest something monstrous come slithering out of the shadows.
And as for vents? Well, let’s just say that a few strategically placed boxes and furniture items will soon be carefully placed for welcome piece of mind.
Half-Life 2 – You expect to be able to summon objects to you
Two words: Gravity Gun.
That ingenious little gadget is the beating heart and soul of Valve’s seminal first-person shooter; allowing you to magically draw scenery and items to you in order to use them to solve puzzles, quite literally build bridges, or fling them violently into the faces of onrushing hostiles.
Spend too much time in is reassuring company, however, and once you step back into the real-world you’ll start to feel severely short-changed by reality all too quickly.
When that stapler won’t zoom across the office into your waiting hand; when that TV remote all the way at the other side of the living room won’t whoosh right over when you urge it to – it’s all just so frustrating. Damn Gordon Freeman and his amazing, effort-saving technology.
Skyrim – Every stroll becomes an epic adventure
The gameworld of the fifth Elder Scrolls title is a colossal, breathtaking expanse of towering mountains, dense woodland and wide-open plains, just brimming with things to do and places to visit. One of the great joys of that game is simply exploring its immense landscape, striding over each hill-crest wondering what is on the other side.
Do that for a while, and you begin to take that feeling into your humble walks on an evening too. Suddenly you want to journey further than ever before; your quiet strolls turning into epic jollies that take you over rushing rivers and far-reaching fields, and occasionally into dark and possibly dangerous forests.
That theme music provides the soundtrack to your real-world Skyrim exploration: the only let-down being the unfortunate lack of giants, mammoths and mud-crabs. If you happen to live in an area where there’s bears and wolves though, then hey – it really is like Skyrim…
Amnesia: The Dark Descent – You develop a new-found terror of the dark
Spend too much time inside Frictional’s mind-bendingly sadistic psychological horror, and it can really give you the jitters away from your PC too.
Whereas before shadowy corridors or darkened rooms may have been mildly unnerving, now they throw open all kinds of insane possibilities and thoughts. Without those trusty tinderboxes and oil lamp to hand, you find yourself relying all the more on light-switches and previously neglected desk lamps to brighten up your home, and provide extra ease-of-mind of an evening.
And if you should suffer a black-out one night? Well then, the fear really does set in at that point. And you hope upon hope that it’s just your mind playing tricks on you, when you hear the rustling of chains and the unmistakable sound of breathing, somewhere out there in the shadows…