Auto-aim and the lineage of gaming motor skills

Fact: I suck at first-person shoooters


Yet I really do enjoy playing them.  It was not always this way however, I’ve found that my fondness for the genre has only really come into it’s own in the current console generation.  With the Xbox 360 as ruler of the roost and FPS’s being the most popular type of game on the system, it seems only natural to have dabbled in a few.  But if you were to look at my older library of games you probably wouldn’t find any amount of titles that would even add up to the number of FPS’s I own currently.

Platformers and RPGs, that’s what I was raised on. More specifically character mascot platformers and Japanese RPGs.  This were the types of games I had the most major exposure to being a gamer growing up in the 90s.  As the console generations march on however I’m finding that the best games in the pack are not the genres that I grew up with.  Maybe it’s a change in my personal tastes or a change in quality, I don’t rightly know.

I now own and play several first person shooters and I am finding that I am just not talented as these types of games.  I tend to stick to the single player part of these games knowing that if i set my foot in multi-player a sheer slaughter would commence.  The only game I have spent a lot of time in multi-player in is Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and I can safely say i love it despite my ineptitude for the game.  Last I checked I had spent 9 hours in the multi-player and I am only level 16 and that’s with no prestige mode, that’s just base level 16.  I know, it’s almost laughable but I am almost positive that there have been several matches I’ve hoped into and not gotten a single kill.  I can endure those matches for the ones where i can get a few because the game is so good.

I had first had this realization of how bad I am at these games while playing Half-Life 2 on the PC as part of the Orange Box.  I was blazing through battles and blasting combine soldiers in the face with my shotgun without a problem.  “Maybe I’m getting better at this” I had thought while spattering alien blood along several walls of City 17.  That is until Nova Prospekt and the second room Gordon has to defend with 3 auto-turrets.  It was a massacre, I died at least 10 times.  “Screw this” I had thought “Going for the Easy Mode”.  But when I went into the options I realized Easy Mode was already turned on, I had played through the whole game up until that point thinking i was a badass.  I sat there perplexed as to how that could have happened when i saw that under Easy Mode Auto-aim was turned on as part of this mode.  Auto-aim, when your reticle in the game will lock on to targets to help unexperienced players out.  It is a term I have heard on several podcasts and read on several sites as more often than not a derogatory term.  The common opinion of have picked up is that this takes the fun out of the experience or is not the pure way of playing these types of games.  Auto-aim requires no real skill or proficiency in the game, thus making it a four letter word among the hardcore elite.

After this it started to make me think why I am bad at these games and can’t seem to get any better.  And it goes bad to the linage of games I followed when I grew up.  I didn’t play hardcore action games like Contra or shumps like Gradius or PC games where FPS’s made their home in the 90s.  Perhaps my muscle memory isn’t the same as those who can demolish anyone who comes against them in these types of games.  Maybe there’s a direct line of ancestry between those twitch based games of the 8 bit and 16 bit era to the Call of Dutys and Halos of today.

Maybe I playing these types of games has come in the wrong time in my life to learn the ins and outs and develop those motor skills.  I am older now and just don’t have the time to get involved with any games like I could when I was younger.  But that seems to be the case with any gamers who grew up in the 80s and 90s and there seems to be plenty of those people who can tear threw these games with no problems.

Did these people play different games than I did when they were kids?

Do just not have a life, so they can play 24/7?

The most likely explanation?

I suck at first person shooters.

I will continue to play them however, searching for the easiest route possible and avoided multi-player like the plague.  But Modern Warfare 2 is on the horizon and with their advent of “Death-streaks” maybe I’ll be able to keep up with the best of them.

I just hope I can reach level 17.

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One Comment on “Auto-aim and the lineage of gaming motor skills”

  1. Mechanized Pain Says:

    Golden RULE: DONT MISS! No amount of planning can help you if you miss or hesistate when you fire your weapon.

    I’ve been known to be “good” at shooters. I currently have a 1.96 Kill death ratio in COD4MW2. I rarely go a game without getting twice as many kills as my deaths. I can tell you that playing shooters takes art, philosophies and science.
    Fluid dynamics. Geometry. Deception. Rhythm. The spawn points are the rivers from which your kills flow. Watch the radar to determine which area of the map is the most likely enemy spawn point. Imagine you enemies path from that spawn point as you would make it. Set up on the expected traffic area and ambush the enemy. This is the campers philosophy.

    1.Camp the main traffic areas immedietly surrounding the determined enemy spawn point. (Learn the maps to determine the best positions to intercept. Fire from inside rooms not at door or window edges. This is the Geometry part.)

    2.Camp on these traffic areas at range. (Maps are rather small so there is always a nearby camping area.)

    3. Always fire short burst 3-5 rounds while crouched from cover. (Remember to conceal yourself. Absolutely no unnecessary movement. MOVEMENT WILL GET YOUR SHOT!)

    The rhythm to move through the battlefield without dying is a direct result of your situational awareness and positioning.

    Add me to your friends list on XBOX live: Mechanized Pain

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