Anger Management and Games

My wife and I have been playing a game called Bit.Trip Runner. It looks like a Mario game, but since the protagonist automatically runs at a constant speed it plays more like Guitar Hero with the player dodging obstacles in time. See Canabalt for a free, similar game. Well, truth be told, it reminders me of Moon Patrol (1982) more than anything.

The game demands near-perfection. Collide with a single obstacle and you immediately start over from the beginning of the level. Naturally, the game generates a lot of frustration. My wife and I are both guilty of throwing some coarse language at the television that we would never use in another context. And while it tries our patience, I can’t help but think that it’s sort of good for us to practice perfection and get used to frustration. If everybody knew how to fail one hundred times and keep trying, what a different world it would be.

I grew up with unforgiving games like this. How do people develop this sort of patience without video games? My only similar experience is with music, and then only when I’m being diligent. I suppose annoying kids or siblings might have a similar effect. But we’ve had a few thrown remotes; it seems better to test your patience on a machine than on loved ones.

Anyway, just observing one of the major effects of games on my life. I’m sure we’ll have a fresh bout of remote throwing when Super Meat Boy comes out for Wii.

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