How To Not Go Crazy While Playing Avatar Games
I'm generally a pretty calm person. However, there is one thing that never fails to get my stress levels up—game avatars. As silly as this may sound, there are many times that I wanted to throw my computer out the window. I hope I'm not the only one that feels this way! Games are supposed to be fun, aren't they? One of my favorite games to play is Turmac Roll, maybe because there is no avatar attached to it. Even if I don't have a good game, I'm not emotionally attached. There is no pressure for me to improve my score. Just by the amount of times that I am playing the game, I get better. We have to remember that avatar games are the same way!
Here are some tips on practicing for game avatars:
1. Decide which game avatar you are going to pursue first. The only way to whittle down that list is going one by one. Don't open one game and play for a few minutes and get frustrated and decide to move on. The only way to make progress is to keep trying. Even if you are working on two avatars at once, be disciplined! Sometimes I open Extreme Herder and play two games and then play Escape From Meridell Castle once. No wonder why I'm not making any progress! I call these cycles of anticipation and disappointment. For some reason, I anticipate that the game will go better today (magically!), and then am disappointed when it doesn't, so I move on. I am not actually practicing a game just by playing it once. Say to yourself, I am going to play a certain game for ten times today, and try to find an aspect to improve on each time. Make sure to take a small break between games so you are mentally processing what just happened. Use this same method if you're going for another game avatar at the same time.
2. There's a lot of research to be done before playing a game! Often, my first instinct when it comes to games is to just play it, and try and figure it out along the way without even reading the instructions! Read the instructions before playing a game. While it may seem dull at first, it will save you more time in the long run. There are also many wonderful game guides written by fellow Neopians. Check out a petpage or the Neopian Times! You can also ask friends for tips if they have the avatar. Some of these guides often have pictures, which will help you picture what you need to accomplish before you start! For example, when I was practicing for the Raiders of Maraqua avatar, most of my time was spent remembering what each level looked like and what the steps were! Had I not looked at a guide beforehand, I would have had to figure this out myself in addition to avoiding those perilous Jetsams and Slorgs!
3. Accept that some game avatars may take more work than others. At the same time, you may naturally be better at one game, but not another. Try not to let this frustrate you! There is a learning curve associated with every game. For example, Math's Nightmare requires you to brush up on your mental math abilities. Only after you do that do you worry about being fast enough to solve each problem. In Snow Wars II, before I can think about scoring enough for the avatar, I have to be fast enough to build a wall and protect my snowmen! This itself took me a few days of practice. On the other hand, a game like Typing Terror was not as difficult for me because I can type relatively fast (chatting on the neoboards too often has some use, I suppose :P). So, there was only a luck component involved, which was getting enough broken robots.
4. Don't make it any more stressful than it is. Unlike most goals, putting pressure on yourself when it comes to games usually does more harm than good. Say you set a goal to make 1 million neopoints in a week. This may motivate you to attempt to restock, or take better care of your habitarium, which is a good thing! If you only give yourself a week to get a certain game avatar, this might make you do worse. You are expecting that all the elements of learning a game and even factors such as luck will come together as you want it! This will become even more frustrating if you don't show the fast improvement that you want. If you're feeling anxious when playing a game, you might tense up and miss things that you don't normally!
5. Look at progress over the course of a few days. I started practicing for the Extreme Potato Counter avatar two days ago. On the first day, sometimes I didn't even get past the second or third round! On the second day, I made it past those rounds most of the time, and had difficulty on the fifth round. Today, the fifth round still stumps me occasionally, but I have made it to the seventh round, which is a new record for me! It would not have been possible for me to say on the first day that I will achieve the avatar. It still might not be possible now, but I am improving a little each day.
6. It's great to have support. Who wants to feel alone when they're trudging through practicing a game? Try to find a neofriend, a guild member, or even someone on the neoboards to join you! There are often threads on the Avatar Chat about someone going for a game avatar. Why not join them? It's a great way to make friends, and both find and give encouragement. When I was practicing for the Ice Cream Machine avatar, the best part was that my friend had the same goal. We chatted between games and as we got better acquainted with the game, found tips that we could share with each other. Once you're close to the required score, you can even make it a friendly race!
I hope that these suggestions will help you keep your cool the next time you play an avatar game! Remember, when you're feeling stressed, just stop, take a break, and drink some water! Don't get too stuck on the game (keep tip #5 in mind). Games are supposed to be fun... even if they aren't right now. :P Once you finally achieve that avatar, it will be all worth it. :) Just try not to think about the fact that the whole process will begin again... Good luck!