Amnesia players: The terrified, the bored, and my dad
Some people find Amnesia terrifying, because of the atmosphere, sense of helplessness and exploitation of the imagination. Others find it bland and boring because of the slow start and lack of general action. And then there's my dad, who tried to turn it into Grand Designs.
One night, i decided to introduce my father (49) to the world of video games, and sat him down to a game of Amnesia, thinking he would appreciate it more than a frantic shoot 'em up like Call of Duty. Now, my father is not what you'd call a gamer, and i was willing to be patient with him as he learnt simple things like using the AWSD keys to move and the mouse to look around, things most of us take for granted. However, never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) did i think he'd be so completely and utterly oblivious to what he was supposed to do.
I started him from the beginning, thinking that the lack of any real danger and drip fed tutorials would be enough to ease him into the game. I couldn't have been more wrong. After learning the basic controls, he asked what he was supposed to do next. I suggested he follow the trail of 'strange liquid' (You know, the red stuff) the screen was aimed at. Instead, he walked over and glaring at a random puddle for no less than twenty seconds.
Now, Amnesia DOES start out softly, so I didn't expect my father to jump at every spooky sound, but I didn't think he'd use the time to try his hand at some home renovation. Yes, you heard me right. Now, there's something to be said for experimenting with a game's physics engine and testing for 'realism' before getting to business, but what would have taken maybe twenty minutes to complete the area took three times as long simply because he insisted on picking up every damn thing he could get his hands on, examining it, complaining that he couldn't set it on fire or read it if it was a book, then setting it away neatly on a nearby bookshelf (or at least trying) or desk.
Just before the end of our session, ignoring constant prompting from me to ignore unimportant items and to get moving, he spent a full five minutes (and I am NOT making this up) trying to rotate and re-position a fallen chair, claiming he 'just wanted it to look tidy'. After said five minutes he dropped the chair, got up from the computer, turned around and said 'This is boring. I don't see how anyone can find this interesting or fun'.
I feel like I've taken someone to Disneyland, watched them pick gum off the bottom of restaurant tables, then have them complain about the experience. Now Disneyland isn't for everyone, but one does assume you're there to ride the roller coaster, or at least the ♥♥♥♥ing Mary Poppins Merry-Go-Round.
I think I'm being fair. Maybe you folks don't. Please leave comments and thoughts, I'd love to hear similar experiences!