When I downloaded Hades four months ago, I'd barely played any combat video game. These games intimidated me because I knew there were a lot of foundational skills involved to be good at them. I didn't play video games growing up, and wasn't sure if I had the patience or interest to suck at a game while developing these skills. But covid numbers were high, I was bored, and my friends said that Hades rewarded failure and that I might enjoy playing it. So I gave it a go.
As I expected, there were indeed a lot of foundational video game skills relevant for the game and missing from my skill set. To name a few:
These were a lot of things to focus on at once, and I found myself frequently overwhelmed and flailing around, unable to really improve much on any of them. What I think really helped me was spending time focusing on particular skills. Instead of trying to win or get further in the game, I'd play with the goal of improving a particular aspect of my game play. Here are some experiments my friends suggested:
Hades was an especially great game for practice because every time the player dies, the plot advances and more power-ups become available. I've written before about how it's easier to learn when it's less scary to fail, and I saw how my being less intimidated by dying helped me feel more willing to spend time focusing on particular skills. After over 100 hours of play time, I think I've gotten a lot better at playing Hades, and it's exciting to think about how the skills I've learned might help me play many other fun games!