Perhaps contrary to popular belief, I am indeed slowly making my way through some games. They may be the same ol’ games, but I’m making progress, none-the-less! I got in a little more playtime with the first Halo last night, and ran into some additional frustration… though it’s completely unrelated to platforming, this time around!

(No real spoilers here, so don’t worry if you haven’t played the game… then again, I think I’m the only person who hasn’t played the game…)

There have been two instances so far where I have been almost unable to continue playing the game simply because I can’t tell what I am supposed to do (or more correctly, where I am supposed to go to do the thing that I was just told I have to do).

The first came about during level two (“Halo”) where I needed to activate a light bridge to pass across the giant gap in the roadway (shortly after getting control of the Warthog). After clearing the bridge area of baddies, I was told there was a switch to go hit to activate the bridge… but I found myself walking back and forth around the entire area completely unable to find said switch. I checked what I thought was every single nook and cranny and box and dead bad guy looking for this miraculous switch that would allow me to continue my gameplay. I took a break after something like 15 minutes to go talk to Jeff about something, and when I came back I resumed my search. Even after consulting FAQs which told me there was a ramp up on the right, I still couldn’t find the darn thing. I lost track of how much time I spent doing this, but I eventually found this fabeled narrow ramp. What prevented me from finding this? It seemed to obvious and in the open, yet I had been walking around for a ridiculous amount of time. Was it the color scheme of the stage? Was it because the ramp was so narrow? I don’t think I know the answer to this question.

I wish that was the last time I had that problem, but I ran into the exact same issue last night.

The first half of level three (“The Truth and Reconciliation”) seemed to be intended as a halfway-stealthy mission, but I have too severe a case of Gaming A.D.D.™ to be able to do that (nevermind the fact that I didn’t seem to have the sniper rifle I was apparently supposed to have). I am playing on easy, though, so that combined with the hilariously-effective stationary turrets allowed me to clear through pretty easily once I got reacquainted with the controls (it had been about two weeks since I last played). I eventually reached a comparatively wide open area that circled around a pit (for those that have played, you probably know which area I mean… it’s the second-to-last area in the first half of the level before you get beamed up). I once again had an instance where after I had cleaned out the entire area of baddies… I absolutely could not figure out where the heck I was supposed to go. I even backtracked all the way to the beginning of the level (and then back again) just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important like a side cavern or something like that. I easily spent half an hour wandering around the level, and while I managed to grab a whole bunch of extra ammo for myself, no progress was being made. I once again consulted the plethora of poorly-written FAQs on the interwebz, all of which paid no mind to the situation and told me to just continue on up the mountain as if there was not an issue here at all. If I’m spending all this time trying to figure out where to go, isn’t there some kind of issue, though? Once again, after spending this ridiculous amount of time wandering around, I found (gasp!) the narrow pathway that led me up the mountain, right in plain view the entire time.

What’s going on here? Am I just being careless? Am I not paying attention to my surroundings? Like I asked myself earlier, does it have to do with the color scheme of the game? Is it just another example of my unfamiliarity with the genre, and perhaps its non-maturation at that point in time? Am I just making excuses for my own incompetence?

How about you all? Have you had similar experiences? I’d especially like to hear about similar experiences in different genres. The closest example I can remember that’s non-FPS-related was my attempt to re-find Narsche in Final Fantasy VI which I had written about previously.