Aug 02 2012

Five of My Character Flaws Revealed Through Video Games

Published by at 11:00 am under Lists,Video Games

Time for a trip down honesty lane. I’ve been playing a fair amount of games lately, and I got around to wondering if the decisions I made in them actually translated to my real life somehow. After a bit of introspection, I found that many of them do, even in ways I don’t expect.

I think games bring out some of my better qualities, sure (I try to be a real life “Paragon” for example in how I live and interact with others), but there are a few things that I could work on about myself that gaming has shown me. You’ll see what I mean below.

I Can Be a Bit Stingy With Money

Eh, armor is expensive.

It happens every single time I play a game where you amass a large quantity of gold. Skyrim, Diablo, Mass Effect, you name it. Through questing, looting and other means, I always end up with an enormous pile of money that I simply refuse to spend.

Blow it all on a new set of armor? Nah, I’ll find something good on a corpse somewhere. Finally shell out for that ultimate weapon? Well is it really worth 400,000 credits? That’s kind of a lot.

So what happens? Naturally, I end up beating the game with millions of bucks in the bank, and nothing to spend it on. I suppose that bodes well for my retirement someday, but in the mean time, I should probably learn to loosen up my wallet a bit sometimes.

I’m Something of a Narcissist

Juuuust need to make that chin .002% less pronounced.

What are the first two hours of any make-your-own hero game I play? Spending an enormous amount of time in the character creation screen making sure that my hero is absolutely PERFECT.

I’m never the type of guy who will make a fat latina woman in Saints Row to be funny, or a horribly deformed Commander Shepard to make all the cutscenes awkward in Mass Effect. No, my self-created lead must be a good looking girl or guy, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to leave a pixel out of place when designing my hero. I’ve even restarted entire games because one niggling detail about my lead’s face bothered me. YOUR LIPS ARE TOO POUTY SHEPARD.

Sadly, I think this can be true in real life as well. I can be a bit too concerned about appearance, and I should learn to relax a little when it comes to making myself presentable. And I should especially avoid judging others by how they look, which, happens too often.

I’m Incredibly Obsessive Compulsive

You could eat off that virtual fender.

This isn’t one specific thing in games, but a thousand tiny ones. I cannot fire two bullets from a clip in Modern Warfare without reloading. I cannot go out to battle if my armor in Diablo 3 is mismatching colors. I can’t start a mission in Grand Theft Auto unless my sports car has been fixed at  Pay N’ Spray.

These are issues I just can’t seem to get past when I’m playing games, and they almost feel second nature to me now. I’ve never really stopped and thought about it before, but damn, there are a LOT of these.

In real life? I can’t leave a dirty dish alone for more than two seconds, I organize my DVDs by color, and I can’t leave my house before my bed is made. At least I’m not switching lights on and off ten times every time I enter a room, but I can be anal about stuff that really doesn’t matter at all.

I’m a Bit Too Timid for My Own Good

I know she has 10 life but WHAT IF I DIE?

This always happens in kill or be killed situations in games. I know I should press forward and go in for the final blow, but too often I worry about dying so I won’t risk it. The best example of this would probably be in League of Legends, where I’ve let so many kills get away because I was worried for my own safety, even though it’s likely I would have been just fine.

In real life, I’m not much a risk taker. I’d rather be comfortable than push myself to do something that might be the least be dangerous, but more than likely just adventurous. It’s something I definitely need to work on, and my timid play style has shown me that it translates into other aspects of my life as well.

I Want People to Like Me

In any game with a moral choice system, practically every decision I make is based on how the characters will feel toward me afterward. A game like Mass Effect is great for me, with enough chatting and charm, you can earn the devoted loyalty of everyone on your crew.

But games that have tougher choices? It physically pains me to have to upset people. Recently in The Walking Dead game, you’re constantly forced to choose sides between group members, and I get very stressed out that there’s never a “Can’t we all get along?” option. And sometimes, I’ll make a bad decision based purely on the fact that I didn’t want to upset someone, which can end disastrously for all.

It’s true in real life as well. I think we all want people to like us, but I’m always worried about the impression I give to people, and if everyone thinks I’m an alright guy. I think I am, but it’s troubling that I put SO much stock in what other people think of me. It’s something to work on.





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15 responses so far

  • Jesus Morales

    I feel your pain. I’m this way with strategy games. It really bothers me if I can’t heal everyone up to full life and I’m constantly trying to repair my troops whenever I can. This actually bothered me about Starcraft b/c until they created medics you couldn’t heal infantry. I’m also not the kind of guy who likes sending troops on suicide missions even though they’re just pixels. I feel bad for those little virtual soldiers!

  • Josh

    great article. I found myself nodding to each entry. I am the exact way except the character creation. I am too impatient to create the perfect character. I will try to get something close to what I look like and go. Too many options!

  • Caleb K

    It’s funny how video games can highlight real life ticks we have eh? I’m a huge mapper in games. If I’m heading for a mission in an area I’ve never been before, I ‘ll explore as much of the surrounding boarders as I possibly can. I also have to fill out every part of any game that has a map screen. It drives me crazy but I can’t not do it. I behave the same way with buying things in real life. I’ll ask a million questions, read articles and reviews beating around the bush before I go ahead with it.

  • Crispy

    Ive got another one, when playing rpgs (Neverwinter Nights in particular) I and my party always need to be at full health. Which results in me resting after every encounter, adding 5 seconds to every 30 seconds of gameplay, so a 60 hour game ends up being 70 hours.

    Also I have to optimize characters, end up saving in rpgs like the game might crash in another 10 seconds too avoid putting a skill point in the wrong place and having it haunt me for the entire game.

  • Maria

    This is a creative and awesome article. I feel this way too and about how people drive.

  • Spleenfarmer

    I’m always trying the play the Good Guy as best I can. I know some people play evil characters on either their first or second try. I tried that once with ME2 and couldn’t believe the hate coming out of Shep’s mouth. I exited the game and deleted the character. I don’t want to think back on Shep and remember all the d-bag things he sued to say.

  • Mogyle

    Similarly to the Gold thing, I actually FPS or TPS with the main gun, keeping ammo in the others just in case… It’s true from Doom (rarely above shotgun) to Grand Theft Auto.
    Special mention to Metal Gear 3, tons of guns, never even tried the half…

  • Mogyle

    *I actually play…

  • trashcanman

    Sorting DVD’s by color? You MAAAAANIIIAAACCC! That’s it, I can no longer patronize a site run by a freak that does not follow the laws of alphabetics. No seriously, I have some of the same problems. But I’m definitely working on the money thing. I just paid 20,000 in a New Vegas add-on for an implant to make food give me more health in spite of the fact that I have dozens of stimpacks that are auto-applied when I’m low on health and only use food to work towards an achievement. I call that progress. Actually, I bought 2 out of my three main weapons (katana and sniper rifle) as well and never encountered them as loot so yay for me. Maybe I’m cured. Props to NV for making it actually worth buying stuff in a video game. Also, quit being timid. It’s a video game: you die, you respawn to avenge yourself.

  • Wermine

    Hoarding, oh the delicious stuff I can hoard. In Quake 2, you had a “backpack” where you could store all kinds of buffs (like invulnerability), or was it some Mission Pack? Well, when the final battle came, I had all the boosts collected and unused. Not much of a fight..

    Perhaps I wasn’t the one to blame but the game mechanics. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Other thing is seriousness with the character names. Luckily I got over it. But when I was younger, I just couldn’t name my guy with silly name although I saw others doing it.

  • http://saraclemens.tumblr.com Sara Clemens

    I’m the exact same way with my game currency!

    I WISH it translated to my real life.

  • Amy

    Some of these apply to me too! I mostly play RPG’s, and in Lunar, you can save the game as often as you wanted; which for me, was about every 2 minutes, or after every battle lol I never once died except a boss fight or two, but I’d do it anyway, just to be safe. I also spend an inordinate amount of time in WoW organizing my bags and my bank, and re-arranging my spells to work just right. I’m also very timid in WoW, and will heal myself or run if I’m afraid I’m going to die, even though the enemy has like, 2% health left lol And I’m very much a narcissist, although that one doesn’t translate to real life. I have fun making my character as perfect as possible. Sometimes, as in the Sims, you can have more fun making your character than actually playing them!

  • Dolaction

    On my second play through of mass effect 2, I remember giving an interview to the lady with an agenda. As she started to blabber on how I was bad for the galaxy or whatever, the renegade option flashed to shut her up and I pressed it. My chick gave her a black eye while the whole galaxy was watching and I was in disbelief. All I remember after that is yelling cat fight at the screen and being disappointed she didn’t try to take me on. If it was a dude though, can’t imagine how shocked I would have been. I laughed in bullies faces growing up so maybe that has something to do with it.

  • Steve

    @Paul: Didn’t you do an article like this about Fallout? “5 Things I Learned About Myself whiel Playing Fallout” or something? I thought that one was funny, too, but can’t find it…

  • Charlene

    I love the honesty in this. I can really relate to some of these.

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