To be perfectly honest, I get really tired of people telling me that I need to “accomplish things” in games, that I should struggle and fight to be better than anyone else and that when I complete a goal, I ought to be proud of myself.
Fuck that, I play games to have a good time. I recognize games for what they are: a way to waste free time and enjoy myself while I’m doing it. It doesn’t matter what kind of game it is either. I just want to have some mindless fun to fill those hours that I don’t have anything better to do with myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I am competitive when it matters, I strive to be #1 when it actually makes a difference but playing a game isn’t one of those times.
Let’s look at Tetris. I’m good at Tetris. In fact, I’m absurdly good at Tetris. It’s not that hard to be good at Tetris though, all it takes is an understanding of the game mechanics and decent reflexes. I can play Tetris all damn day, in fact, I used to. When I was growing up, there was a liquor store right by my house that had a couple of video games and, at one time, had a Tetris machine. I’d go in there and play for hours on a single quarter. This probably pissed off the owners of the liquor store. In fact, I virtually never actually lost a game of Tetris, I’d play until I had to leave, then purposely kill myself and walk out the door. I could play that game forever, at least until I got bored with it. There was another game called Super Don Quix-ote, a laserdisc-based game in the same vein as Space Ace, that was in the student lounge back when I was in college. To win, you just had to have quick reflexes and know which way to move the joystick at what time. Once you have it all down, you never lose and you can go through the entire game over and over and over on a single quarter. I always had my initials on the leaderboard. So what? I usually had an hour or so between classes and I’d spend my time playing. To be honest, there were times when I got so engrossed in it, I forgot to go to class. Did anyone ride me around on their shoulders for being good at a game? Of course not. Did I ever feel that I accomplished something by rolling the machine over a half-dozen times? No. Did I ever have any sense of personal pride because I was good at the game? Are you insane?
Yet there are so many people who insist that if I’m going to play a game, any game, be it an MMO or a shooter or Angry Birds, I have to be competing against someone, I have to be pushing myself to be #1, I have to be posting my scores online somewhere, I have to sign up for some tracking service, I have to be swinging my e-peen around so that everyone knows how bitchin’ I am. I understand that everyone is different and some people live such a pathetic existence that they can only feel good about themselves vicariously through playing video games, but I keep running into people who insist that the only way anyone ought to play these games is by being the best, having the strongest build, wearing the best armor and outfits, etc. In other words, by showing off.
See, I used to play MMOs a lot, back in the day. I started out with Ultima Online, played through EverCrack, etc. The games I’ve played over the years are numerous and varied, but I’ve really lost interest in playing most of them and the reason isn’t the games, it’s the mouth-breathers I have to play with. There really seem to be two kinds of people in most MMOs today. The old-school “you have to spend 12 hours camping a spawn site before you’re worthwhile” idiots and the “we have to race to end-game faster than everyone else” morons. I hate both of them. They’re all a bunch of type-A knuckle-draggers who are only interested in knocking people over with their massive gamer’s cock. Me, on the other hand, am a very clear type-B gamer. I place games in what I think are their proper context. I’m not adverse to a little fun competition from time to time but I recognize that this is a game, a form of light entertainment, an “interactive movie” for lack of a better term and I don’t place any more importance on it than that. This seems to piss the shit out of people who are convinced that anyone who doesn’t take it all very seriously is somehow doing it wrong.
That’s really why I largely walked away from playing MMOs, the douchebaggery of the majority of players. Honestly, I’d much rather play the occasional single-player shooter, such as Halo or Crysis or Bulletstorm. They’re superior games in all respects, plus you don’t have to deal with morons trying to fuck you over, but unfortunately, there aren’t that many of them out there and they don’t tend to last that long. I can run through a good single-player game in a week or two. Sure, if you’re talking about something huge like Skyrim or Fallout, especially if it has a lot of downloadable content, it’ll take a while, but otherwise, games just don’t last that long. MMOs are, although inferior in design and implementation, a place where tons upon tons of content exists. It takes months at the outside to burn through what an MMO has, and with the wealth of free-to-play MMOs out there, you can go from game to game to game and never really run out of things to do.
Except you have to deal with the competitive asshats who not only think they get to dictate how you’re supposed to play, but they think it’s their job to explain to you constantly that if you’re not doing it their way, you must be doing it wrong. Is it any reason I largely detest the online gaming community and the games they hang out on?