Decadence alert: following the Nintendo price cut Isabel and I are now a two-console family. I feel a bit guilty about buying a GameCube even at its current steal of a price (cheaper than the GBA even!) – and not just because I already have a PS2; if I’d known then what I do now about the style of games released for each machine I’d have bought a GC first off, and I fully expect to play it more. I love platformers and adventure games and cartoon fun and gentleness; I don’t like guns and frights and cyberpunks and Tarantino films. Aesthetic case closed. (Actually I’m glad I have the PS2 cos of Ape Escape and Jak & Daxter and the EyeToy, but given the volume of software released the amount I feel even the slightest desire for is very low.)

No, the reason I feel guilty is that – gulp – I’m not very good at games, and I may well have just wasted my money on games that I’m never going to get near to finishing. I know that proper hardcore gamers complain that games these days are peasy: I say FUCK THAT, given that I tend to get bored at even the slightest sharp incline in the learning curve. What I like in a game is exploration and discovery and gasps of wonder at the immersiveness of it all: the satisfaction I get from eventually completing a repeated task is nowhere near that. In my ideal world all games would come with an ‘Explore mode’ of reduced difficulty – decreeing that only gamers with good reaction times and infinite patience should see later-stage wonders seems to me the same as suggesting that only bands with chops who’ve played the pub circuit for years deserve to get their records bought.

Symptomatic of everything I don’t like about games is the concept of the Boss. Almost everything else about gaming has changed in the last 10 years but boss encounters are still de rigeur and I’ve never seen anyone speak out against them. As a climax to a game’s entire narrative they might serve a purpose but as blocking stages in a supposedly freeform game they suck, and I’m not just saying that because I’m always awful at them.