My people, my community, my ungodly rage-filled teammates: it’s only a game. Whether you play competitively or non-competitively, shooters or fighters, day or night, you’ll find someone willing to ridicule others. And yes, this happens in every multiplayer game out there with a decent player base. So, why does this happen?

Well, the easiest answer would be people getting mad at others for incompetent playing, right? Yes and no. It’s a little more complex than that. From what I’ve seen the most, the negativity generally comes from people getting outplayed or just doing poorly in general. People hate being bad at anything and gaming isn’t an exception. If you put a lot of time into learning a game and you still get stomped by the opposing team or player, then it hurts. Like you’ve been wasting your time gaining this skill. But that’s the reality of it: you haven’t gotten good enough to beat that specific opponent, even if you’re quite good at this point. Gaming is an ongoing skill that you need to upkeep, just as with any other gained skill. If you didn’t beat someone, then keep trying and honing your skills. Don’t let an outright spanking be something that makes you lash out at others.

Now, it wouldn’t be fair for me not to mention that outside factors can and do have effects in online gaming. Obviously you can be a wonderful player with teammates that are under average at best. And that’s going to happen in a large player base that grows more with time. However, instead of ridiculing players not on your level, you should absolutely be giving them encouragement and tips on how to do better in the future. Telling someone to kill themselves or throwing slurs their direction because they didn’t keep up with you isn’t a good way to keep your game thriving. Competitive games aren’t just there for you to flex your own ego; they’re there to grow a community that has a love for the sport of it.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, too. There’s always going to be someone better than you at whatever you do. You could sit at the top for years, but someone will eventually dethrone you. That’s how competition works. People continue to work hard in the face of fierce competition. So why get salty because someone slammed you? Respect that person for the hard work they put in and hone your skills more so next time you see them you can beat them.

Now, let’s get into the core of this article: games are meant to be fun. Games were made for the express purpose of entertainment and it seems that the more popular they get, the more people get angry over them. Merriam-Webster has two definitions, the first being “amusement or diversion provided especially by performers” and the second being “something diverting or engaging” (source at the end). I’d say that most people fall into the second category these days and use gaming as an escape of sorts. It distracts from greater life problems and when it goes awry, it upsets them. This is why it’s important to keep closer to the first definition. You need to seek out something amusing to you, regardless of winning or losing.

I’ve played competitive shooters for a very long time and I used to be a part of the group of people that got mad at others. I had made it to Onyx 3 in Gears of War 4 a year or two back and I took that very seriously. It was the second best ranking tier, after all. At some point I learned that my frustration wasn’t about others, but that I thought I should be doing better than I was at times. Since then, I’ve just been able to enjoy the little things. Get absolutely wrecked in a team game? I can actually laugh at that now.

My message here should be simple. Just have fun, everyone. Stop trying to pull others down for issues that are yours and yours alone. If you get mad because others aren’t doing as well as you, maybe you should take a look at yourself and see why that would bother you in the first place. You might learn a thing or two about yourself.

I’m your friendly neighborhood nerd girl, signing off to go get wrecked by some pro player in Overwatch! Have a good day and stay safe everyone.

My one source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entertainment

A pop-journalist in her twenty-somethings that engulfs herself in nerd culture, such as anime, tabletop gaming, and video gaming.

A pop-journalist in her twenty-somethings that engulfs herself in nerd culture, such as anime, tabletop gaming, and video gaming.