Do you ever get the feeling that computer games depict scenarios that are somewhat fictitious? A strange question I realise, especially considering the wealth of realism infused into militarised and Rpg titles, or more pertinently considering the driving lessons I’m undertaking, driving games? In Los Santos and its municipal districts my consummate professionalism is beyond reproach. On the motorways I can weave through congested traffic like a professional thief and cut through rural communities like a state funded building contractor. During the 3 previous iterations of GTA I was just as proficient at the evasion of mobilised authorities or the coercion of fleeing vagrants, absconding from crime scenes with swift precision. I was a figment, an apparition, the surreptitious insurgent referred to with hushed reverence and keen infamy by the authorities. Any successive castigation’s that resulted in my capitulation is roundly applauded, as arresting me while in transit is almost impossible. Due to the insistence of civil liberties and the vestiges of democracy within the corruptible department of police constabulary, my criminal activities required me to be as aggressively mobile while driving as I was with armaments. Sadly this innumerable versatility while driving in virtual environment’s doesn’t necessarily convene with my real world depiction. My suggested motorised competency in simulated realms gave little prophetic indication to my real world equivalence, as such my recited conduct in an ethereal plain is sadly disregarded with no dispensable clemency.
“Mercifully the roads I drive on appear to be clear of Thwomps!”
Due to the restraints of employment I had initial scheduled an hour session for my first driving lesson, electing a quite Friday afternoon, but was reliably informed that an hours lesson would not be beneficial as much of it is directed towards learning the precise nature of each button. Feeling considerably anxious at my unfamiliar seating yet elated at my disposed courage to finally take the necessary session’s–as I was very much submitted to the comforts of routine in my life–I felt committed to giving these lessons everything I had even though my restricted age, where disposable income is very much regulated by the day-to-day frugality of modern living would limit activities. Any kind of financial extraction at this stage in my life, with bills, mortgage and other eventful prospects on the horizon is commendable really. So I took the leap and decided that ethereal driving simply wasn’t enough. My instructor which I had envisioned sidling next to me began presenting a vacuous manifestation in my mind before I had even begun, was suddenly applying distinctive features in my head. Someone cosmetically enhanced to conceal facial blemishes in the same way that builders distribute cement on a small bungalow. Possibly an abrasive companion with all the placid nuance of an Adam Sandler movie with a history of suspected child abuse. I feared the worst. Yet oddly it turned out to be a slim, blonde female in her mid 20’s which is not in any way distracting. Especially when she leaned over and caressed my stick shift, fiddling with the knobs on my dash…No! Stop it Karl. She is not an object you pervert!
Once she had driven us to a secluded suburban street where residents are familiar with inaugural drivers–as apparently the company was keen to inflict minimum damage on pedestrians as vehicular genocide is apparently frowned upon–this was the perfect environment for someone of my nervous disposition. Yet despite stalling, latent hand/foot coordination, I was souring majestically at a staggering speed of 25 mph! I was even overtaking kids on bicycles and a limping geriatric walking her dogs. Under her cautious tutelage and cordial supervision, I made strides, if not significant ones to something that resembled driving. Even though there were a few close collisions with the curb, some less than reputable gear shifts and a projected inference that she has uttered “what have you forgotten?” on several occasions already that day, she maintained patience and civility with the utmost professionalism. She was astutely cognizant of my trepidation and acted accordingly to diminish my nerves. I did at times feel coddled by the regulations of automotive etiquette such as the positioning of your hand on the steering wheel for instance, but never smothered. I suspect that new drivers unfamiliar with the mechanism of driving are regarded with a degree of dissonance by veteran drivers who assume you’re an idiot and forget that they too were once provisional drivers too. Thankfully this kind of philosophy has yet to provoke any kind of recoil other than piteous empathy. Yet despite the brazen persistence of drivers gestural allusions for me to get out-of-the-way and a few less than smooth gear changes my experience has been largely positive, and not all that dissimilar to gaming. You have to be reactive, slowly building momentum as well as confidence. Stay alert and in control while still maintaining a relaxed attitude. Though I am a little disappointed there wasn’t an inventory of bananas that I could accost other motorists with, tossing them at the hobbled old lady as I sped past at 10 miles an hour, but I’m assuming that lesson comes later.
Well whatever the misleading depiction of driving that is featured so eminently in gaming, it hasn’t diminished my rigour to gain full driving license for mine, as well as others benefit. I realise now that my asserted convalescence that has stifled my dormant ambition to drive over the years has severely cost additional freedom to engage with the world without the limitations of mobility afflicting my will. I just wish I had undertaken these lessons sooner.
Did you find it hard learning how to drive? Did years of racing games have a negative/positive effect on the way you learning how to drive? And (just out of curiosity) what is the most realistic game you have ever played? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.