I am bad. Really, I stink.
That is, when I try to play action games. I had to use a walk-through to figure out how to get through the tutorial of Max Payne. I am making my own little cards for the key bombinations and what the different concepts mean. Did you know about the shoot-dodge and bullet-time? Well, I didn't, and I had to write down how to do it and why it's smart and now I have to practice it in order to be able to use it.
What I am feeling on the body is that playing action games is a very physical activity. While it's not exactly athletic, I have to teach myself new ways to react and rehearse certain motions until they are second nature. I foresee much dying for my poor Max and much reloading for me in the future. I also foresee me getting a regular mouse or some other input device than a touchpad for the laptop.
Where I am not half bad is at Civilisation. Of course, I am not playing at the divine level or have started fiddling all parameters in order to get a real challenge, but I have happier labourers than my son! But he eradicates all the opposition. He wins because he is agressive, I win because the other states lose when they attack, and their labourers revolt and attach themselves to my loving, caring nation. I am a very nice despot.
Playing these games feels good, it brings back something I feared I had lost for a while there in the stress of academic achievement: the fun of playing. This was so much fun that I will pick up more games, and swap between dying in Max Payne's body, dominating the world in the shape of irresistible Cleopatra or being online in the body of some self-created avatar in what ever becomes the next game I pick up. It will be a multi-player game with 3D graphics and a audio chat channel though. That will be like breaking a barrier for me: talking, not with my fingers but with my mouth, while playing. I want to do it. And once I know how it works, I am just bursting with curiosity and an urge to explore. Strange lands.