A couple of weeks ago I managed to fool my guards with the old “I’m sick, help me” routine and having rendered them unconscious with a swift blow from the hefty, original Xbox controller, I fled the Punting basement in search of blue skies and fresh air.

On Monday, I returned, sunburnt to the point of near death and muttering, I am told, something about “so many people”. Holiday, shmoliday. Why the hell would I want to be out there in the wide, open spaces when I could be chained to a sofa? My fingers once more assuming that familiar, clawed shape as they clutch the controller, my eyes glued to the screen as I feverishly chase a few more points of gamerscore.

That being said, I do occasionally long for the feel of the wind of my face and the sun on my back, so I have hit upon a rather novel solution. With a very bright light set up behind me and a fan in front, I’ve been wandering the great digital outdoors in Borderlands, the large open landscape of Pandora spread out before me. Plus, achievements.

Borderlands has long required my attention, but I’ve just not put in the time. Now, I’m utterly hooked. I’ve been busily working towards “Vincible”, for defeating Crawmerax, but as I’m still a lowly level 55 i’ve a terrible fear of going up against that particular pain in the posterior for now. Besides, I’m still trying to get to the sodding mission where you face him!

As such, I’ve just been pottering about, exploring the world to pop the assorted achievements for discovery and completion of missions within certain areas. None of these are particularly difficult, I should point out. There is the occasional boss who goes a bit Seagal, (“Hard To Kill”) but generally speaking, it’s a treat to be a-wandering Pandora, murdering, looting and pillaging my way from town to town.

By now, you’re probably wondering how exactly a few simple exploration achievements have made their way into the annals of punting history and exactly when my usual rage will bubble to the surface? A fair question, but you see there really is nothing about this game that frustrates me, I’ve just been rambling about and enjoying myself. Nothing to report. Almost nothing. Maybe one teensy weensy thing. I KEEP GETTING FRAKKIN’ LOST!

I love open world games, but why oh why does my sense of direction fail me so miserably when I play them?! Skyrim? Hours wandering round a mountain in a big circle trying to find a sodding path. GTA? “Gee, that building looks familiar…” Of course it bloody does, I’ve been circling the block for about a day! But Borderlands? Ye gods, I don’t know what it is about this game but i’ve spent more time looking at the map than I have shooting midgets in the face and believe me, I’ve shot many a midget.

I love Borderlands, it’s an incredibly tasty slice of gaming pie, but every journey that I take in the game is pretty much a case of…

“Right. Checked the map, just got to head up into the hills here. Climb aboard my trusty pink (don’t you bloody judge me) rocket runner and WHOOSH! I’m away! Pretty much a straight line all the way to…hmm, this doesn’t look right. Oh for the love of…according to the map I’ve gone the wrong way. Spin it. Point ‘er forward and AWAY! Nope. Where the…left? Right? WHERE THE RAKK AM I?!

It’s gotten to the point that I only play in co-op, just so I can have someone sat in the gunners seat with a map open to say “Left. No, left. NO, LEFT! FOR GOD’S SAKE JIM LEFT! LEFT! THAT’S RIGHT! NO, IT’S WRONG! BECAUSE YOU’VE TURNED RIGHT! TURN LEFT! That’s right. NO I MEANT YOU WERE CORRECT! NOW YOU’RE…ARGH!” At which point they sign out and I have to find another poor sap to play navigator.

And yes, there’s fast travel. Which is brilliant when you can remember where the hell you need to travel to. “Visit Tannis”. Brilliant, but it doesn’t say “Tannis” in the fast travel menu and I can’t remember where the hell she is! So then I go all Quantum Leap, “He fast travels, leaping from one place to another, hoping that his next leap…will be the leap home.” It’s just fast travel, “Tannis!? No? Balls!”, fast travel, “TANNIS?! No? SOD IT!“, fast travel, “TANNIS?!?! No? Da-ARGH! SPIDERANTS!“, swarm, biting, death.

But I press on! Must find Crawmerax after all! Drop me a line if you’re good with a map, yeah? Read part two of I Am ‘Vincible here!

Check out Jamie’s previous Achievement Punting escapades as he puts his sanity to the test each week by clicking here.


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