Hi gang. Welcome to the playpen. Unfortunately your favorite playmate has been hit with a terrible malady!
Even now, as I write these very words I am risking everything. A cruel twist of fate has rendered my right thumb almost completely useless. And let me tell you, the implications this can have for a gamer are far-reaching and cannot be over-estimated.
My thumb is a victim of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). No, this isn't some kind of divine intervention sending a plague upon my house for excessive gaming. And I'm not even mourning the death of my firstborn. This particular affliction was incurred by too much work!
I know what you were all thinking, "there she was one week making fun of gamers with sore thumbs and then she goes and gets one herself. Hah! It had to happen."
You're all as bad as my non-gaming work colleagues who would say, "What's wrong with your hand?"
"RSI," I would reply.
"Ooh, did you get that from all those games you play?"
"No, actually from all the work I do for YOU!!" I'd reply.
So, you were all wrong. And I have the figures to prove it. As a copywriter I spend my day typing and not much else. Up until now, my right thumb has been responsible for the spacebar, as I touch type. Estimating that I type at around 40 words per minute and each word is followed by a space, give or take a few returns, that means my thumb hits spacebar approximately 1,800 times an hour. Multiply that by the number of hours spent typing at work and you can see why my thumb is complaining. I mean it's kind of like hitting your head against a wall 1,800 times an hour – that's gonna' hurt sooner or later.
Ironically, London's been sweltering in the midst of a heat wave, so gaming has been neglected in favor of having a few beers in the pub gardens. Therefore my aching appendage could not have been caused by indulging in my favorite leisure activity.
The heat wave is now over, but my thumb is still ailing. I am sporting a hand support bandage thingie. Apart from being uncomfortable, it does give me the appearance of someone who has risked life and limb for some heroic sporting triumph. My significant other, Konami Boy, maintains that it makes me look stupid. Whatever the case, it does not help me play games.
Inflicted as I am and knowing that I shouldn't play games of course makes me want to play all the more. I must confess that I have succumbed and played anyway"eek! It's okay though, because human ingenuity has triumphed over adversity. I can play without using my thumb!
Fortunately, my game of the moment is Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance. Konami Boy and I are embarking on the cooperative adventure and with a lot of pestering he let me try out my no-thumbs-attack. Cooperative mode is pretty much a hack ‘n' slash, which should make it nigh on impossible to tackle without your right thumb, right!?
By simply resting the pad on my knees I am able to jab at the buttons with my index finger. This approach brings a whole new perspective to the game. My frantic button mashing has increased tension and adrenaline. I strongly recommend use of the middle finger (strictly for the purpose of gaming you understand).
All of a sudden it's as if Sony never created the most ergonomically designed control pad known to gamers. No more hand cramp or gamer's claw for me. Oh no sireee Bob, I've thrown off the shackles of the lame and tired hand excuse. With my new jabbing technique I can go on for hours. Of course I'm limited to games that require little or no finesse, but that's something I can live with as long as Baldur's Gate has more elf witches to chuck away at evil. And as long as I can electric lightning bolt their butts back to the monster manual that spawned them with my middle finger of doom, I'm happy.
Although, this does mean that my GameBoy SP is strictly off-limits and Castlevania will have to remain unfinished for some time to come. And with Europe's trade show, ECTS, my thumb is getting decidedly edgy about holding up its professional end of the bargain.
I'll let you know how it holds up.