Rage for a Good Time
So I don’t really pay attention to the comments. Not because I don’t care what people think, it’s just I usually don’t get any. Small site, amateur journalist, I’m not offended and I sort of expect it.
But then I saw the reaction to my article “Playstation All-Stars will Suck”, and boy, was that a surprise—I had no idea over twenty people went to this site! But still, I took the rage in good measure and I actually looked over my article and checked my facts… and I was right about all of them, sorry. On one specific point, yes, the Playstation 1 sold better than the N64, but that was on the merits of its third-party support. And in that article I wasn’t talking about hardware or sales, I was talking about the company itself and fan recognition. On that note, the best-selling PS1 game is Gran Turismo (Developed by Polyphony Digital), with 11.15 million copies shipped… while the best-selling N64 game is Super Mario 64 (Developed by Nintendo), at 11.62 million. The Playstation 1 most defiantly had more games sold in total, but that was just because more games were MADE for it—Nintendo had famously high standards for any game released on their system, while Sony was significantly less picky, meaning more developers simply sent their stuff to Sony because it’d be more likely to be published—and that excess of games actually makes my point all the more valid. A bigger library meant less stood out, and there was less community recognition of individual games since the chances of two PlayStation fans having played the same game was smaller than it would be for Nintendo fans. To the point, be honest with yourselves—when was Crash Bandicoot ever as universally recognized as Mario?
But your impassioned responses to my opinion did get me thinking on other things. I’ve been playing a lot of games online as of late, and it’s become impossible for me to ignore nerd-rage. People who get angry over the tiniest of slights, and who respond by slapping their palms on the keyboard like excited seals hoping something coherent and insulting is spat out… it’s a little funny, yes, but more than that it’s troubling. Because, I have to ask all those ragers… what do they think they’re accomplishing? Honestly?
Expressing dissatisfaction with an opinion or someone’s skill is one thing. That’s a legitimate thing to do, and even welcome sometimes. It’s the execution where things get… stupid. Do they honestly think they’ll change my mind by calling me retarded? Or they’ll endear themselves to anyone by calling them all n00bs when they make one mistake in an online game? You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as they say, and I’ve yet to see one case where people came rushing to help a rager after he severely chewed them out and called them faggots when they failed to save him the first time.
So, really, what are ragers trying to DO when they rage? And more to the point, why do they think raging is the best way to go about this task? Or maybe my mistake is trying to assume these people even USE logic?
I guess the most important question is the second one—WHY do gamers rage? Why do we think anger is an adequate substitute for reason? And why do we think insults make for better talking-points than research? And more tragically, why is anger so closely linked to the ‘gamer’ persona? One commenter put it better than I possibly could: “I, as a TRUE gamer, respect all 3 companies. Unlike this sorry excuse for a writer. Eat $hit you f-ing prick..”
I’d hate to say it’s a result of violence in games turning the youthful minds to wickedness, and I’m loath to quote the ever-popular “Greater Internet Dickwad Theory”, however pertinent it may be… and it’s been in thinking of some alternate explanations for this trend that I came about a revelation. I can’t hope to explain why people are so angry in comments, but I think I know why gaming, more than any other hobby I know of, encourages and fosters the rage so closely linked to our titles as gamers.
Think of the mindset you get into when playing a game. If you’re not doing it professionally, or to win a bet, chances are you pick up any game, regardless of what kind of game it is, to have fun with it. Now, with a single-player game, mileage may vary, but with multiplayer games, particularly competitive ones, if you or your team starts to lose, the pressure rises and it becomes less fun. So how do you balance a loss of fun with a rise in frustration? You start insulting people. I’ll admit, while I’ve taken a few jabs at ragers in this article, this draft isn’t nearly as venomous as my first. But the first draft was more fun to write, because it allowed me to vent my annoyance and frustration at the people who rage.
Games are all about scratching those itches and satisfying those urges we can’t healthily indulge in real life. In person, I’m sure many ragers are sociable, respectable people, even if they secretly want to be huge assholes. But playing a video game puts us in the MINDSET of someone who has no quarrels with ‘scratching where it itches’, as it were, and it’s all done for the sake of having fun. So when I play a game of LoL and I see teammates start to make shots at one another, I understand now it’s just their way of satisfying their desire to enjoy what they’re doing. It’s fun to insult others. It’s fun to blame others for our own losses. And Video Games, sadly, gives us license and a platform to destroy common courtesy for the sake of personal gratification.
And, sadly, we might not ever be able to fix this problem, because games are ABOUT fun. It’s integral to what games are. And it seems the only other way to fix this problem without changing games would be to change humanity. And you know, become a species that doesn’t derive pleasure from the flushing of anger out of our system via spewing inane pointless bile from our mouths and/or fingers.
In that spirit, here’s what I have to say to you, all you angry commenters and gamers: Watch some My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Learn about the values of love and tolerance. Then, when you’re done, we can sit down with a cup of tea and a nice salt lick and discuss our differences calmly and mannerly. Then, in the future, when you see someone who disagrees with you, or who’s bad at a game, you’ll know the appropriate, respectable, and ultimately infinitely more productive way to approach the problem. Who knows? You might make a new friend, and isn’t that the most fun of all?
You mad, bro?