For a couple of years I caught up with a bunch of work colleagues for LAN days. We probably had a dozen such sessions, which occurred more than a decade ago. The only title I can remember we played with certainty was Halo, but there were others of the same genre.

The days were generally amusing, but I wasn’t really a fan of FPS. I was no good in close range where I had to be moving around erratically – but I was normally effective enough at longer ranges where I was either stationary or moving in a constant direction and just having to give appropriate lead.

Today I downloaded and installed Dust 514 on my PS3.

I’m not entirely sure why. I had recently read a suggestion that even if you don’t play, you should create a character just to start the passive training. To be honest the catalyst was more likely me doubling my monthly quota with my ISP and having lots of extra capacity to do so.

Regardless the reason, for the very first time in my life I played an Online FPS today.

Actually, let me rephrase that. I spent a period of time with a deep frown on my face being confused and dying half a dozen times before being disconnected and putting the controller down feeling most unsatisfied.

The game had an EVE like feel to it, and I got the basic concepts fine. I didn’t train anything, I didn’t buy anything, and I didn’t play around with fits. I just looked through all the menu options to get an overview of what was there, and then I follow the client suggestion to look for a battle.

I’ve never played a FPS on the PS3 before, so had no idea what the standard buttons would do. What I wanted was some sort of tutorial in combat / moving around / shooting. Just an empty training ground where I could practice with the basic mechanics of the game. There didn’t seem to be that option, and one miss-clicked button later I was being asked to select a location to deploy.

So – my first ever online FPS match was spent just trying to work out the very basics. For example, it took me a minute before I knew how to fire the gun. The first opponent I encountered resulted in me reloading my gun a number of times instead of firing a shot, and I was quickly killed. As I tried to aim at the second opponent my view arched up to the sky and I was summarily executed. The aim seems to work in the opposite way to what my instinct says to do. My third and fourth deaths saw me shooting in circles around the opponents. I thought I might get my first kill on my fifth death – I actually hit the opponent multiple times while managing to move and dodge his incoming fire. However while I seemed to hit them multiple times, once he finally got his bead on me I died almost instantly. My sixth death was from a sniper I did not see soon after deploying. Then I was kicked from the game because apparently I was no longer logged into the Play Station network. It took a couple of attempts before it allowed me to log back in, by which point the battle had finished (at least I assume that was the case, since I was not given any option to reconnect to one.)

Visually the game seemed ok and responded ok. I could generally work out where the enemies were, although not really the objectives.  I struggled with the coordination of the movement and aim – and know that is going to take me a long time to improve.

I didn’t try a second battle – I’m just not the sort of person who likes to be a burden on others.  I just left my character doing its passive learning thing.  I got a Call of Duty game with the PS3 – so am contemplating installing that in the hope it gives me some familiarity with the PS3 controller and using it to shoot things.