This morning I read this article by simpleek called “You Aren’t a Gamer if You Haven’t experienced Gamer Rage”. Hopefully those of you reading this clearly understand what gamer rage means. It’s that moment when both you and a boss are one hit away from health, and you get hit first. The moment when you’re exploring the countryside of an open-world game and suddenly run into a monster/creature/villain designed to keep you from moving past a certain point, one that instantly KO’s you or your party AND YOU HAVEN’T SAVED THE GAME IN HOURS. These moments are often accompanied by faces like this:
And in general loud yelling: I personally curse like a sailor. Sometimes these feelings happen when you just can’t seem to beat a certain level/boss/area. In Dragon Age: Origins the Brood Mother wiped out my party time and time again before I finally flipped the power switch out of anger.
Being beaten over and over again by a creature this hideous looking in the bowels of dwarven tunnels was a harrowing experience for me, and I will admit to having at least one unfinished game stuck right before this boss level.
Rage is a natural emotion, and one very common to any experience involving goals and competition. Aggression can be productive and fuel us to finally beat the M*&($#F*#(*$# boss, or it can be destructive and lead us to smash a copy of Demon Souls in half because you just lost all your souls for THE LAST D*&%# TIME!
In multiplayer games this rage can surface, like in all games, but with the added bonus that you can direct it at real live people which in many cases feels a lot more satisfying. However, since multiplayer games foster aggression between team members and opponents, there can be consequences (not necessarily enough in my opinion) to expressing rage in what I would term, unproductive ways.
For my example here I’d like to look at the game, League of Legends, and some experiences I’ve had. For those of you unfamiliar with League of Legends, it is an RTS game featuring 5 v. 5 or 3 v 3 team battles as your team struggles to destroy enemy turrets and ultimately, the enemy nexus. There is strategy involved, and playing with people that don’t understand the strategy can be frustrating. Sometimes your character dies, and it really isn’t your fault and you often want to yell and scream like this player:
This does lead to a good deal of in-game harassment, which I find completely unproblematic when players target a person for lack of skill, class/weapon choices, or even sometimes to try to make themselves feel better about how badly they are doing. I think the largest problem is that this anonymity can foster bigotry and un-called for identity-slurs. FOr example, even though League of Legends does not feature a VOIP program for players to talk to each other, doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter people calling others “a stupid nigger” or a “dumb little cunt”. Language which is clearly offensive to identity based groups.
Cursing, raging, and even rage quitting are perfectly understandable reactions to high-stress situations in team games, my dog frequently thinks that I am having seizures as I play games like League of Legends of TF2 because I am shaking my fists and screaming so loudly as the timer counts down my re-spawn time.
(Me attempting to look angry for you…probably defeated by the Skylanders poster in the background)
I just don’t think a valid response should be to attack people for things they identities they can’t change, and are also proud of. Skills – totally critique-able. Sometimes noobs need people to tell them exactly what they are doing wrong. Commenting on a player’s race/sex/sexual orientation? Lay off.