If my posts have dropped off this last week, it’s because for Christmas my son gave me what might seem like an unlikely gift for a grandmother — an Xbox 360 with several games, half a dozen movies, music, and TV shows (that he brought over on an external hard drive). Of course, he did all the set-up and hooking in with my home network, etc.
It’s all been pretty overwhelming. So much to learn! How to run the Xbox and access all the stuff on it and, through it, on my big computer. Which controller does what, and how. Whew! I already had a couple of remotes just for the TV and cable box. Now I’ve also got the Xbox remote and controller. Each has some unique functions, and several have a lot of overlapping functions. Hey, one function per remote would be too easy!
Son, of course is all “Have you watched this yet?” and “Have you played that yet?” No, sweetie, I’m still trying to figure out how to operate the damn remote and get from the TV to the Xbox and back again without bursting into tears of frustration. Seriously, I was this close to calling him the first night; I’d gotten the Xbox turned off but couldn’t get the TV back on.
I swear I never used to be this stupid. And I absolutely hate feeling helpless and stupid. I don’t know how fast I would have picked all this up at his age, but I can tell you that at my age, the learning curve has been steep and painful! It doesn’t help that my seven-year-old grandson is IMing me on the same system from his house! (This is the same grandson I was babysitting one night and had to give up and ask him how to turn off their Xbox and just get the plain ol’ TV back on. One remote and 900 channels I could handle!)
You must understand, I’ve been gaming for ten years or so, but always on a PC, always with a keyboard. This game box and controller set-up is totally new to me.
For those interested, I’m cutting my teeth on Fallout 3 and Oblivion. There’s also a driving game (Project Gotham) that I haven’t even opened yet. And I did watch a movie the other night (“No Country For Old Men” — interesting movie, very unsatisfying ending) that was on TV, not one my son gave me.
So anyway, the bottom line, as I was explaining it to my son this afternoon, is that for me there’s a very fine line between challenge and frustration. As long as I can endure the frustration of feeling stupid, not knowing how to do something, and dying constantly, I’ll keep whacking away at the “challenges” of the game. It’s sort of a love/hate relationship. Happens to me with any new game. But it’s much worse in these games because I’m alone. These are not like MMORPGs, with other players around to answer questions and maybe help a bit.
Okay, I’ve babbled long enough. Just one other thing that has been a huge disappointment to both me and son. I have an older TV, not HD. Not a problem I’d particularly noticed till I started the first Xbox game. As with any game, there’s a lot of tiny type on the screen giving you info all the time. And I’m struggling to read it. Almost guessing, in some cases. Unless and until I spring for a new TV (nothing can be done for the old eyeballs), that’s one challenge/frustration I won’t be able to overcome.