Rage Quit: Experiencing Rage in Multiplayer Games

July 24, 2012 Articles, Video Games Comments (2) 10

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:

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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.

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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.
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(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.
(To read more on the subject visit: http://gamersagainstbigotry.org/)

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Would You Rather: Samus Aran or Lara Croft

July 18, 2012 Articles, Video Games Comments (0) 10

Today I’ll be looking at two of the penultimate (really rad) female video game characters and pitting them against each other. If somehow you have been stuck under a rock for the past twenty years, let me introduce you:

Samus Aran from the Metroid series (by transfuse)

and Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series:

Both characters clearly powerful, Samus has a kick-ass suit of armor while Lara gets not one, but TWO guns, and both clearly beautiful by Western beauty standards. So today, we’ll look at a few different criteria and determine who is the more desirable characters (not like that you perv!).

Who Would Win in a Fight?

Let’s be honest, this is really a no-contest. While Lara is agile and dual wielding, Samus has an entire arsenal at her disposal in the form of her Arm Cannon. With the arm cannon, Samus can choose between multiple beam systems (power beam, wave beam, ice beam, plasma beam, phason beam) and missiles, which can be combined in charge combos. Plus, Samus can enter into a power ball mode (reminiscent of armadillos) with its own set of missiles.  With these weapons, Samus is tasked with destroying space pirates a formidable organization attempting to harness the power of metroids. In comparison, Lara’s weapons (generally two pistols) can’t measure up, and while velociraptors, mercenaries, animals and other treasures hunters pose a decent challenge to Lara, a Metroid Prime could eat all of them in a single gulp. To sum up: there is absolutely no way that Lara’s dual pistols could put a dent in Samus’ armor, let alone match Samus’ arm cannon in terms of sheer firepower. In terms of fighting, Samus could blow Lara into so many pieces, no treasure hunter, no matter the skill, would ever be able to find her.

Who has the best personality?

This question is at first difficult to answer mainly due to the fact that Samus and Lara seem very similar at first. Both Lara and Samus are independent women who are generally assertive in accomplishing their goals. Of the two Lara’s history has been more developed and explored, in Tomb Raider: Underworld we learn about Lara’s mommy issues (we already knew she had daddy issues) and now with the upcoming Tomb Raider set to release in 2013, we get to learn just how Lara became the woman that adolescent males came to love (the answer according to executive producer Ron Rosenberg: attempted rape). Here’s the trailer if you want to delve into the controversy of the scene:

However, as one blogger points out:

This is a woman who we first met traipsing around freezing caves in naught but a pair of short-shorts and a low-cut top. Who has killed hundreds, possibly thousands of men, in her quest for Old Lost Shit. Who thinks shooting one gun at a time is simply not killy enough. A woman who takes an UZI with her on a tourist trip to the Great Wall of China and who doesn’t think twice about filling up every endangered species she meets along the way with hot metal. This, Lara-lovers, is a woman who made the dinosaurs extinct for a second time. She is a bona fide, pathological maniac.

So how does Samus Aran compare to that level of crazy? Well, considering she is silent for most of her escapades…which could be due to the fact that she began life in the 2-d world of the Nintendo Entertainment System…this is difficult to assess. Like Lara, Samus has killed hundreds of thousands of creatures in her employment as a bounty hunter. While her fight against the Space Pirates seems to place here in the morally “right” category, who knows how many other times that she has been contracted to kill “innocent’ creatures. Samus could potentially be just as maniacal as Lara in that regard.

Luckily for us (depending on how you define ‘lucky’) Metroid: Other M the most recent game featuring Samus, provides deep insights into the character of Samus Aran: she’s baby crazy. Don’t believe me? Check out the  opening cutscene:

How many times can we mention the word ‘baby’ in one game? Seriously?? That the entire game of Metroid: Other M is predicated on a distress call coded as “baby” we can definitively put Samus into the baby crazy category (and potentially start to wonder and hope that this entire adventure is just happening in her mind).

So who is crazier in this scenario, the woman who goes on killing rampages for artifacts or the baby crazy bounty hunter? I’m going to have to hand it to Samus for this one, in my opinion most of Lara’s enemies have it coming.

Who is Most Objectified?

For our last, tie-breaker category I will briefly discuss which of these characters is most objectified. For those of you who don’t know, to objectify means simply to present something as an object. When using the term in relation to women, to objectify means to turn a human being into an object available for male consumption. The creators of Lara and Samus are both guilty of this. For those of you who remember the earliest version of Lara, her bust size was originally supposed to be much smaller but supposedly creator Toby Gard increased her breasts 150% instead of 15% and the entire developing team was perfectly happy with that. Go figImage that a male development team would be perfectly happy with boobs increased 150% in size. This “creation myth” (the myth part is that it was possibly not an accident) leaves Lara pretty firmly in object territory. None of her original development team thought ‘Oh, maybe we should take care to make Lara a more realistic, fully developed (in terms of body AND mind) and instead left her with boobs so big that it would be physically impossible for her to exist in the real world due to a thing called gravity. However, in past games Lara’s breasts have seen a reduction in size, and there have been attempts made to flesh out her back story and develop her more as a character (having her repeatedly assaulted by men helps this somehow).

Samus on the other hand was anything but sexy in her first appearance. In 1986 she first appeared in pixels (totally not sexy) AND she was completely covered by a suit of armor. In fact, no one knew that Samus was a woman until the very end of  Metroid, the reveal startled many a player. Since then, however, we have gotten to see Samus in a much sexier way.

In most cut scenes Samus is wearing skin-tight clothing and revealed to be a sexy blonde. Can we get anymore stereotypical here? In general, you get to see this a lot more often in Metroid: Other M than in other Metroid games, but once you’ve seen Samus like this, it’s hard to look at her the same way again, even if she is in her power suit.

So which one is most objectified? Clearly they both are, and both consistently make the top 10 in lists about hot game characters, but in this contest I’m going to have to go with Samus. While Lara may be all boobs, Samus has that + the blonde aspect. Blondes are people too (I am blonde) but the stereotypes are a stigma that gives Samus clear victory.

Who would YOU rather be?

This leaves Samus in the lead of my dubious comparison, although perhaps winning the “Most Objectified’ category should count as a negative point. Ultimately, I would rather be Samus. Her suit is amazing, she’s over 6 feet tall (one of my unobtainable life goals) and she owns her own spaceship. I can deal with baby crazy and objectified if I get to have my own spaceship. Although, I might reconsider if the new Lara Croft game featured Lara like this:

(picture of Meagan Marie. Photo by Victor Gamez)

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