๐Ÿง  Struggling To Perform In Front Of A Crowd - "My video games performance anxiety…" ๐Ÿง 

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Okay so I struggle to play video games in front of others. An activity that is pretty much second nature to me becomes an anxious experience when I’m in a public place with people I don’t necessarily know.

If I’m playing a game with someone in a local co-op scenario then I’m fine e.g. Pro Evo Soccer Co-Op is one of my fave things to do ever (you gotta love a 4 player co op game on PES!)

If I turn the tables slightly and then go head to head, I invariably crumble…

Why is this the case?

Why am I afraid to perform in front of others when I know that the game is for fun and I know it inside out?!

Growing up I was always in arcades whether that was the local chip shop, video shop or swimming pool I was instantly drawn to those amazing arcade cabinets. If no one was on the cabinet I would rush over and put my 20p in before anyone else would show up. Whilst no one was there I would be immersed in that world soaking every pixel up through my movements through that video game.

Then…as soon as someone else turned up and waited for their turn it always felt like they were on my shoulder and immediately I’d be throwing lives away. The anxiety would kick in immediately.

Fast forward to 91/92 when every shop, taxi office and sweet shop had a StreetFighter2 cabinet in it. The cabinet would draw a crowd of 5 people at all times! At this point I was a watcher and never a player. I looked on in awe as others pulled off combos and others placed their 20p on the screen ready to become the next challenger. Little old me would just stand in the background and wish I was good enough to play in front of these strangers. The release of SF2 on SNES was the best thing ever for me as I was finally able to play StreetFighter2 in my own home without anyone watching my every failed combo or fluffed fireb8ll!

Was it embarrassing for me to lose? 
Was it because of my skill being judged by others?

Oddly enough in a lesser way this has made it’s way into the present as I commute into work on the train. I own a Switch and I often pack it for the hour train journey but when it’s a packed rush hour train I’m embarrassed to pull out my Switch as I’m a fully grown man and also because I keep thinking that the guy next to me will be looking at me play and judging my performance. It’s silly right? But that’s just the way my mind works….

More recently I have played Arcades at Retro gaming Expos but I still get that anxiety when someone is waiting patiently to play the game behind me which is again irrational.

Then there’s the visits to EGX and EGX Rezzed where I am lucky enough to get to play new games with the devs who’ve created them and that then brings its own fear as I don’t want to seem like a fool as I bumble through mechanics in the game. As part of my role at GF I’ve just had to overcome this fear and plunge myself into public playing in order to play the cream of the indie gaming crop.

Let’s not forget the performance anxiety associated with Streaming video games LIVE. This has always put me off streaming live and I generally pre record gameplay vids for fear of fluffing it live.

Seeing as GF is a massive part of my life now I’ve had to learn to cope with this whole anxiety part of my gaming life but it still creeps back into my gaming habits.

- Does anyone else experience the same type of performance anxiety as me?

- Do you think that this is more evident with female gamers as a lot of female gamers are not only judged for their gameplay prowess but also for their appearance?

I’d love to know peoples thoughts on this subject…

Let me know in the comments box below

See you all in the arcades

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