Save scumming my way through life.

This week I have mostly been playing MechCommander 2. But Its gotten to the stage where its all a bit too tense. I’ve invested too much in my little electronic minions I can’t bear to see them come to harm. I played a seemingly impossible level where I got absolutely mullered three times in a row because I didn’t realise that stealth was the only way to do it.

It wasn’t a night time raid, it had nothing about its mission briefing that screamed “you are totally outgunned and outnumbered so for God’s sake put some velvet slippers on”. Though it turned out this was good practice for the next mission where you have 18 minutes to cause as much havoc behind enemy lines as possible with a tiny offensive force and if you are late to the extraction point then there’s no evac. (Turned out to be easy so long as you take mechs with ECM and just ran like hell…)

Anyway I want to play something stimulating but not so tense, a nice turn based strategy game perhaps. Although I should remind myself that one of the few games that can give me nervous fits is X-COM. Nothing fills you with horror more than seeing your plucky team get outflanked by a squad of Elite Brutes or God help them a Sectopod and knowing that no matter what you do at least one of them is going to buy the farm.

It has also led me to wonder how save scumming is effecting psychology. Everyone these days has essentially been raised on computer games, and the simplest cheat in the book is re-loading a game to a point before you cocked things up. Maybe its making us less tolerant of our mistakes or imperfections and less able to cope when we inevitably do cock things up?

Maybe the Mass is a form of save scumming too, we bring ourselves to the point of history where God saves us, before we are sent out into the world to make a hash of things for another week. In GTA2 you had to give a donation to a crazy evangelical preacher in order to save your game and if you didn’t he yelled “damnation! no donation no salvation!”.


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