Last year I brought my girlfriend away from rare playthroughs of The Sims and tried to get her as grossly involved with video games as I am. Her introduction to games like Spyro the Dragon and Bioshock Infinite was pretty successful, even leading her to go on, finish Bioshock Infinite, and then cosplay as Elizabeth Comstock for Halloween.
Now it’s a new year, a new generation of consoles, and a new batch of tech and games are ready for her to play. So ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Megan Crampsey – the noobus humanus and today’s study.
Controller and Voice Commands
“It feels like a… playstation controller. It doesn’t feel rubbery,” are her initial comments about the brand new controller, to which many have hailed as a sign of ingenuity. The Playstation 4 doesn’t listen to her when she tries to use the voice commands unless she a) screams at the television or b) puts on a deep voice like me. She also points out that the recently renamed ‘options’ button is a “stupid renaming, isn’t it?” because it opens up a start menu, not the options menu.
A free-to-play indie title which demonstrates the Playstation 4’s enhanced engine and ability to show the most particles on a screen ever. The noobus is expected to save the last humans, and squeals when the sexy robotic female voice demands this of her from the controller’s tiny speakers. She lasts ten seconds without dying and comments that the excellent 80’s action game music which brings out the Space Invaders fan in all of us is… ‘awful.’ She dies a second time, and suddenly understands that she can’t fly straight into the baddies. She achieves a score of 56,000, of which she’s extremely proud of… but the top score is 3,116,330. She accuses Soaring Scientist (the owner of this high score) of having no life. Poor guy.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
I decide to get the noobus to play the acclaimed first person shooter on multiplayer. With Call of Duty, she lasts approximately 3 seconds before being shot in the head. She then tries to climb down the side of the cliff-face, just to fall to her death. Surprised that soldiers can’t fall from tall heights, she continues on through the map, just to shit herself when three seconds later she is shot in the head. She calls the game ‘shit,’ numerous times and questions why people enjoy it. Determined to kill somebody, she grits her teeth and climbs to the roof of a nearby building and camps, waiting for the enemy. When I point out that this action is strongly frowned upon by the online community she cries ‘fuck the online community!’ and changes the disc to Assassin’s Creed 4.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The noobus is determined to be a pirate but initially questions Edward Kenway’s choice of attire (badass pirate and protagonist) and claims that he runs funny. She loves using the touch pad when looking around the map and ‘oooohs,’ and ‘aaah’s,’ when her crew cheers and starts to sing sea shanties. She blows up her first ship – a tiny fishing boat with a crew of 2, and rams into a nearby military ship, a short fight ensues, and she boards the other ship, screaming ‘yeah, bitch!’ while she kicks ass and takes prisoners. However because of the noobus’s pirating, the king sends a bounty hunter after her to take her on. She takes heavy casualties in the battle, loses 50% of my crew, but manages to board the hunter and take many supplies, repairing her ship – the Jackdaw – anyway. Upgrades become available, but instead, the Noobus is more interested in redesigning what Edward wears – very pirate of her.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
The noobus begins her playthrough as Spiderman. She flawlessly swings through the city, jingling music playing in the background. She refers to Tony Stark’s business as ‘Stark Towers!’ excitedly and arrives, ready to fight crime and continue the story. She also comments that Spiderman ‘runs funny.’ A continuing trait with video game protagonists it seems. She turns into Captain America and betrays Iron Man’s trust by breaking into Stark Tower. She accuses Tony Stark of having a tiny penis because Stark Tower is quote-unquote ‘compensating for something.’ She struggles at the first hurdle of the Stark Tower mission. Having no idea how to get over a laser wall, she ignores my offer to show her a walkthrough (how noble) and instead declares that she’s just going to ‘blow shit up!’ and destroys everything in the room.
It turns out that this is exactly what the game wants her to do.
It appears her previous experience with games has caused the Noobus Humanus to predict how to progress through the most difficult of tasks… except for shooting baddies online with Call of Duty. Perhaps this is a sign of how appealing modern video games are to our instinctual urge to overcome obstacles and problems?
Or maybe the Noobus just likes shouting profanities at the TV.
Only time, and further study, will tell.