Why I Can’t Beat Your Mom in Video Games

Look at all that science!


Because I play so many games, whenever my friends become competitive in one, they naturally assume that I’ll be a worthy adversary.  While I understand the logic behind this conclusion, it is largely false.  In most games, my skill level should only be considered “upper average,” and I try to present it as such.  Unwarranted bragging is best left for small-dicked linebackers.  Personally, I’m a fan of expectation management.  Put differently, I’d rather save you the surprise, and save us both the trouble.

With so many games to be played, who has the time to be talented in one?  Lebron James is the second best basketball player on Earth (see Kobe Bryant) because basketball is the only game he plays.  Physically, he is apish.  He could no doubt excel in football, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, and that game from The Running Man.  However, if he tried to focus on all of them at once, he would be the most athletic fry cook in Burger King’s company history.  I share this dilemma.

Until all of the major studios collectively decide to start putting out trash, I can never become competitive in a single game.  Every time I start to gain ground, I get blasted in the face with a new release.  The Fall months are reminiscent of the The Last Samurai’s closing scene, only the gattling gun fires quality titles, and even Tom Cruise, white as he is, cannot walk away unscathed.

Just examine the past month.  I didn’t have time to beat the last few levels in Dark Souls, and I only experienced a few days of Uncharted 3 before Skyrim leaked.  I’m still playing FFXIV for a couple hours each night, and NBA 2K12 is always calling.  However time consuming as the “My Player” mode is, I often abandoned it for Battlefield 3.   Now, MW3 is dropping within a week of Elder Scrolls, and I haven’t even preordered Assassin’s Creed.  Half-played games look up from my floor like neglected children, children I can trade when I tire of them.

Still, I don’t deny that playing a multitude of games provides me with some natural advantages.  For instance, it doesn’t take me long to learn things like “the buttons.”  (What’s Jump?) I’ve already mastered common elements like combos, strafing, parrying, buffing, debuffing, rebuffing, and dipping the fuck out.  Against veteran players, only that last one proves effective.  Here is my point: the number of games a person plays is not directly correlated to that person’s skill in each game.  I have plotted the skill levels of four different players on the graph preceding this article.

The player on the left is a turtle.  He doesn’t play any games, because he’s a fucking turtle.  He can’t even turn the game on or hold the controller.  He’s the worst.

The player to the right of the turtle is your mom.  She only plays one game, Peggle, but she is a titan of peggling.  To the outside world, she is a typical mother.  She sells handbags from home, or more accurately, she embroiders handbags from home, since she is yet to sell one.  For hours at a time, she breaks, and escapes to Peggleria.  There, the pegs are her subjects, and her balls are instruments of divine intervention (tee hee).  Occasionally, this Pegglerian titan briefly enters our world for a one-on-one match.  Her titanic megabrain performs complex geometrical equations, the results of which she uses to ravage her opponents.  When the smoke clears, her foes are left only to respond with, “This background is trippy.”

The next player on the graph is my old roommate, Chris, who is even better on a per game basis than your mom.  Chris is a 6th year student at Virginia Tech, where he is double majoring in Call of Duty and NCAA Football.  His strengths include charging head-first into masses of enemies, and walking away slowly from mountains of corpses.  He’s the type of player who chooses the nuke as a perk because he expects to earn it, and not because he is delirious.  In NCAA, Chris once beat me 15 times in a row, only to lose when I cheated.  I still look back fondly on the victory.  Chris has never wasted 18 hours camping a lizard for a rare boot drop, and thus, he has more time to devote to his craft.  I am visiting him this weekend, and in preparation, I’ve learned entirely new ways to cheat.

Then there’s me, a man so caught up with gaming that he writes articles about it for no reason; a man who reads Kotaku like it is the Washington Post and still couldn’t beat Heath Ledger in Street Fighter.  The problem?  I’m simply spread too thin.  Sure, I’ll beat most of you, but that’s only because most people suck.  Anyone with the confidence to issue a challenge will probably do just fine… unless we are playing Pro Evolution Soccer… because, then, I will kick your ass…

Thomas Shamburger
Thomas is one of the original creators of "What's Jump?" As a lifelong gamer, writer, and comedian, his goal is to provide readers with humorous, entertaining, and thought-provoking perspectives on current gaming news and culture. His early career successes in the business world helped to pave the way for the site's launch in 2012. As the Editor in Chief of "What's Jump?" he combines his passions for gaming, writing, entrepreneurship, and comedy.
Thomas Shamburger
Thomas Shamburger

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