14/07/2020

๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ—ฏ️ A Lifetime of Rage That Turns Blood to Steam and Controllers to Dust ๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ—ฏ️

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We’ve all been there, missing that pixel-perfect leap, taking a fatal hit just as we were about to nail the boss, the timer running out as the chequered flag approached, watching the ball fall betwixt the flippers as you were about to crack your high score or an unfair sniper shot from a thousand years away. Every gamer has had their moments of a geyser of fiercely boiling rage causing blackouts or their clothes to burst into flames.

Well, nothing quite like that, obviously, but you get the gist.

A few days ago I was playing a pinball game on Antstream Arcade – which I’ll be covering in a separate article, soon -  and, as my last shiny, silver ball pathetically rolled out of play, I did what I have done hundreds of times over the years which is to say I threw my head back and, in a garbled, ridiculous Nick Nolte-Esque voice said, 
“AW, COME OOOOOONNNNN!”

It got me thinking about how different players express their anger in video games, whether it be at the fault of bad design or the abilities of the player themselves. In the gaming group, I’m part of, I asked people how they expressed ‘dissatisfaction’ when gaming and they ranged from world-weary sighs, slow blinks and a gentle pinching of the nose with tightly closed eyes to chaining foul language together, thigh-punching (a special move of mine) and screaming at your own fists, fists which are clenched so tightly that the entire lengths of your arms are vibrating.

I’m not interested in anger directed at other players* but instead, the self-directed fury and the release thereof when your skills as a player let you down. One of my friends, a calm and collected guy who is a very casual gamer hurls foul abuse but only when playing video games and at no other point in his life. In the end, I had to take Animal Crossing off him.

I’d love to hear the more ‘out there’ examples from people but below, I’ve collected some of my favourite responses from friends, anonymously, natch:

“I stare at my clenched fist”
“I lean back and slowly exhale”
“I whisper the word ‘what?’ over and over”
“Head in hands, for me”
“I tell the game that I won’t play it again for a very long time if it carries on”
“I squeeze the controller until it creaks”
“Throw the controller down on the floor”
“A favourite of mine is to call the game ‘a prick’ or ‘a stupid game for kids’”
“I never lose my temper, it’s all internalised”
“I stamp on the floor but only when playing Call of Duty, for some reason”
“Strings of unscripted swearing are my hallmark”
“If something unfair happens, I’ll say ‘I’m really, really glad that happened’ or ‘awww, wickeeeeeed’ in a sarcastic voice”
“I clench my teeth”
“I lift my controller high above my head like I’m offering it to the Gods and shout ‘EFF OFF!’”
“When I’m playing Burnout I continuously insult myself”

I’m not a counsellor but please….tell me your expressions of rage, guys!

*Once, after systematically beating an old school friend at Tekken 2 with every character on the roster as they steadfastly chose their ‘best character’, he turned to me and in an oddly monotone voice, bereft of emotion, said, 
“I want you to die of a heart attack” 
and then quietly left my house. 

Quite an unnerving experience for a thirteen-year-old.

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