If being a guide monkey taught me one thing, it's that the best way to beat a game is with your brain. You will also need your fingers. But without a brain your fingers are redundant. What I'm saying is that I know things about games that could come in handy. And I'd like to pass that knowledge along. There is an art to not getting stuck in a game and this is that art.
Make sure you fully understand the problem or objective
You can't find a solution if you don't know what the problem is. If over the years I'd bothered to count the number of gamers that got stuck simply because they didn't fully understand what they were meant to be doing, then I would've lost count by now. But it would've been a lot.
If you come up against a masonry-based metaphorical hazard that is hindering your progress, the first step to finding a solution is to analyze the problem itself.
Exploit your experience of gaming
If you've been playing games for a long time, your chances of not getting stuck are greatly improved. Developers employ visual clues and signposts in order to assist gamers in overcoming whatever devious machinations they have devised to stump your head.
Knowledge obtained through years of gaming make these subtle hints much easier to identify. So learn to speak the language of games fluently with your mind and occurrences of stuckness will be greatly reduced.
Look at the problem from a different perspective
There is an actual made-up medical condition called 'game blindness'. It means not being able to see what is staring you in the eyes. This happens because your brain has convinced you that you're already trying to solve the problem the correct way. In fact, you're pissing in the wind. And no one likes clothes that smell of urine.
The most effective way to restore 'game sight' is to recruit the help of another brain and fresh pair of eyes. That means asking someone else if they can see what the shagging hell you're supposed to be doing.
Thankfully, the days ofstupid puzzlesare behind us. Generally speaking, most problems in modern games are constructed around the science of logic. Consequently, problems can be deduced using logic and logic alone.
How would you approach the problem in real-life? If you are not mental in the head or deficient of common sense, you will soon find that how you *think* the problem should be solved is indeed how the problem *is* solved.
Learn from your failures
Failure is a road often travelled by those that are truly successful. And not just because they are lost. Don't be deflated by your failings. Use them to your advantage.
If you are using the same plan of action to get past a particular boss, level or puzzle and you keep failing, then there is likely something wrong with that strategy. This is not failing, this is learning how *not* to do it. Use this knowledge to formulate a different strategy.
Stop. Take a break
It was frightening just how often I would leave the office full of madness after being stuck on the same section of a game for several enraging hours, only to drag my dejected ass back in the morning and complete the previous sticking point at the first attempt.
Fatigue and frustration make you not very good at games anymore. So when you are ready to kill the next person that says "Haven't you done that bit yet?", it's time to step away and meditate on your happy place.
And that's that. If anyone has any other useful, practical tips for never getting stuck in a game (no Mr Cheaty Pants, looking at a guide on the internet doesn't count), feel free to distribute that knowledge with your fellow gamers in the comments. I know they will be grateful.
Remember: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein said that. He was pretty smart.
April 27, 2010