On March 31st, a good woman was taken from the world. My roommate's mother was the victim of a break-in when she was alone in her house in upstate Pennsylvania. She was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head. The case is still under investigation by the authorities.
This post isn't a tribute to her. I'm not nearly eloquent enough and a gaming blog is far from an appropriate place for it. Instead, I thought I would post about the effects the incident has had on me personally.
As a roleplayer, the Thief has always been my favorite archetype. Stealth and subterfuge has been my preferred niche whenever such an option is presented to me. The number of houses I've burgled, the pockets picked and locks jimmied spans in the hundreds if not the thousands. As soon as your back is turned, little NPC, I'll be rifling through your worldly goods like they're mine. What I can't use, I'll unload at the nearest merchant for a handful of silver. And I certainly can't let you alert those guards if you should catch me.
This play style extends to shooters as well. Presently, my STALKER is waiting at the Bar, haggling for more slugs for his shotgun. They're powerful enough to take down soldiers in one shot if I'm careful. They last me longer than machine gun ammo as well. I've always been lousy at that "controlled burst" notion, you see. No, sniping is my forte. Hide in the shadows and around corners. Wait for the opportune moment. Drop a grenade as I flee to a different ruin, perhaps. A deterrent to any persuers.
I guess that's why Sniper and Pyro are my two best classes in TF2. Surprise attacks. Boom, headshot.
It makes me sick now.
Not in some knee-jerk, emotional response where I'm suddenly looking down my nose at ther players of these games, but an actual tangible feeling. The thought of doing these things makes me physically nausious. I tried to continue my progress in The Saboteur a few days back and after a few minutes of forced play I became motion sick. Even when simply driving around Paris, I felt lightheaded at the thought that I may have to shoot at some Nazis at any moment.
I'm incapable of attacking a virtual Nazi.
I've experimented with the sensation somewhat since then. The nausea only seems to come in situations where I'm shooting at another humanoid. Spaceships, 8-bit foes or heavily stylized opponents don't seem to have the same effect. Neither does melee combat or RPG battle text, for the most part. Small favors, I guess.
Anyway, there you have it. With the incident so closely parallelling what I do as a daily hobby, I can't help but want to break out the introspection. I suppose I should see a therapist at some point. Armchair psychology can really only take a body so far and clearly I feel a need to discuss the situation openly. Comments are welcome.