I don’t get that. Well, I should say, I don’t get that on most games.
I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that a lot of the guys in the house have these sort of reactions playing games and such. It’s something I’ve noticed on people in the past, too.
They duck when getting shot at. Turn the controller when steering. Swerve when their characters is swung at.
But I don’t do that, and never have. But one thing I noticed in the past couple weeks as well?
I do have a muscle reaction when playing racing games. It’s not the steering or moving with the car or anything like that.
It’s shifting. Ever since I learned the difference between automatic and manual transmissions, about 12-13 years ago, I’ve driven manual in all of my racing games. It just feels more natural.
Yes, I know driving stick in a video game isn’t like driving stick in real life, but I do both.
But let me clear up what I mean by shifting. I don’t mean dropping the controller on one side to move an imaginary gear up or down, I mean moving my leg. Really I should call it clutching, but whatever.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but when I’m in the zone like I get in driving games, It kinda takes over. It’s not even my foot tapping when I do this. It’s just my muscles flexing like they would when I would press down on the pedal. And it’s timed perfect with my shifts.
I mentioned it to a couple of the guys, and they thought it was kind of weird. I’m not gonna say I don’t think it’s a bit odd as well, because I’d be lying. But then, what is normal about me?
But really, I think I have the explanation as to why I do this.
When I was younger, I used to get angry a lot. And I wasn’t always legally allowed to drive. So whenever I got angry, I’d turn up some music, throw a Need for Speed game in, and just race/drive. I liked in a few of the games the open-world aspect. Because then I could just follow the road. It was just me, the car, and whatever was put in my rearview.
And then I turned 16, and I lived out this fantasy of being free. Sure, for the first few months I had people in the car with me to make sure I wasn’t reckless. But none of that mattered. Because no matter what they thought of my maybe getting out of control or anything, I knew I wouldn’t. Driving is my world. The only place I’ve ever gone where I feel actually free of everything that stresses me out in the world.
Nothing else matters when I’m driving. Not a thing. Not school, money, physical pain/longing, stress, family, friends, nothing. It’s probably the only thing I can do for hours on end and not grow tired of being in the same position, save for moving my hands.
A few years back I drove up to Boston and back after a few days around the city. Everybody kept telling me to take a break, or offered to drive, or whatever. None of them understood that I was perfectly fine. I was in control, the car and I were one. But that’s how it’s always been.
Whenever I go driving, no matter the vehicle, I become one with it when I’m behind the wheel. It’s an extension of my body. Where I go, it goes. And vice versa. Sure, the car is more powerful, heavy, fast, anything else than I am, but we are one.
Speed means nothing when I’m driving. I’ll drive at 110 on the freeway at 2AM. I’ll do 80 when it’s daytime and I’m just keeping up with traffic. I’ll do 35 when I’m in town and need to take it easy.
But there’s no better feeling (with clothes on) then putting your foot down and being able to just get out of there, wherever “there” is.