My past is perilous, but each scar I bear sings

Monuments to where I have been, and melodies to where I am going

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Borderlands: The Game that Changed My Mind About First Person Shooters
Fighting words - Faye
Late last year, I caved and bought the PlayStation 3. I had never purchased a game console before my PS3. I didn't consider myself a console gamer, so I could never justify picking up one for myself. First of all, they were expensive for serving one function. Secondly, I identified myself as a PC gamer. I love lame games like Myst, The Sims, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Diner Dash. Chris made an effort to change this by buying me a used PS2 a couple of years ago. I was able to play Kingdom Hearts and Katamari, but beyond that I had no clue what I could tap into. Nothing else seemed appealing to me. My fascination with God of War was almost a total fluke (I was alone in Chris' apt in Chicago bored out of my fucking mind). God of War was fun for me because I could button mash and still be relatively successful. First person shooters required video game skillz that I did not possess.

My only exposure to first person shooters was Halo. Back when I dated Christopher, his buddies would come over to play, and I didn't want to be excluded so I played a few rounds with them. I was absolutely awful. I couldn't aim and walk at the same time. I would end up staring at the floor stuck in a corner somewhere while someone I couldn't see on the screen was shooting at me. It was horribly frustrating. I tried to get his friends to help me out, which only led them to not touch me at all and basically play around me. After a few separate occasions of this I gave up and decided that FPS were not for me because they were not designed for casual gamers such as myself.

I was perfectly content with not diving any deeper into FPS. It was out of boredom, again, that I even considered playing Borderlands. It was the perfect storm: Steve was cooking at his apartment and I had to find something to do to entertain myself while my wet nail polish dried. I had seen him play the game a few times, and wasn't particularly interested in trying it myself, until I watched this:

I figured if the developers of the game could go out of their way to create a claptrap marriage proposal video, there had to be something about Borderlands that I was missing out on. I loaded up the game on his PC, played for a few missions, and suddenly got hooked. I started a hunter/sniper, and I loved that I could hang back and pick things off with my sniper rifle before they came racing toward me to hit me with an axe or bite me or something. After a week without it at my place, I pretty much demanded Steve bring it over so I could load it on my compy and play it.

Unfortunately, the graphics card on my computer was not good enough to play it. That's right! Super compy finally failed me! I was left with two options: one was to upgrade my graphics card, and the other was to play it on the PS3. I decided playing it on the PS3 was the cheaper of the two options, and since I was craving playing the game like a heroin addict craves their next fix, I decided to bite the bullet and rent it to try the whole thing out. My compy's inadequacies led to my reintroduction to first person shooters for a console.

The first few hours were frustrating because I wasn't nearly as good as I was on the computer. Sniping requires accuracy, and although you don't have to move and aim too much while you're a sniper, I still couldn't get the hang of shooting moving objects. After picking off a few skags, though, I started to get into it and ended up purchasing the game the next day. A new obsession had been born.

The premise is this: you are a bounty hunter searching the planet of Pandora (yes, I know, every planet is called Pandora) for an alien vault filled with guns, goodies and enough money to pay off your student loans. You get roped into doing quests for the people of Pandora, earning cash and items in exchange for shooting bandits or stealing beer. The map of the game is massive, and just when you think you've tapped out a current area, a new one is opened up for you, offering more quests and prizes for your efforts.

There are about 10 different types of "bad guys" you encounter in the game that want nothing more than to kill you to prevent you from finding the vault, but the psychos (featured on the front cover) are, by far, the most terrifying. They just run right at you wielding an makeshift axe and shout things like "NOW IT'S TIME FOR MY POUND OF FLESH". They have apparently worked their way into my subconscious, because after the first night of playing this, I had nightmares about psychos attacking me, which was totally not cool.

These are Claptraps. They are adorable and they dance. They help you out by running bounty boards and opening up portals to other parts of Pandora. Bandits tend to destroy them, so while you're running around doing other quests, you have the opportunity to fix them and they reward you by giving you stuff. I got so attached to these fucking things that I actually got UPSET when I saved one and he went on a rant about how unhappy he was. He was whimpering "I'm so scared, I can't move" while shuddering in the corner. And yesterday, while I was playing Dr. Ned's Zombie Island, I watched one get shot in the face and about lost it. There is something wrong with me.

Speaking of guns, you are able to choose from all kinds of deadly weapons - the variety is actually astounding. They have the standard shotguns, revolvers, grenades, machine guns, etc, but each type of weapon has reload stats, accuracy, and damage points. You may find a sniper rifle that does 600 damage on an enemy, but if it takes a super long time to reload and may not hit them anyway, it's probably not going to do you any good. I am obsessed with constantly upgrading my weapons, and when I find a gun that is freaking awesome, I get really excited to shoot with it. That is something that I could never see myself caring about 2 months ago.

I beat the game a few days ago, and I'm still itching to play more. I've probably racked up 60+ hours of game-play (possibly more...), and I've barely even touched the expansions. It's worth the money if you're interested in buying it. But get the Game of the Year edition - it comes with the downloadable content :)


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