6 A-holes You Meet in Every Online Game
Modern video games kick the shit out of most ideas of heaven. We've built a million immortal Valhallas and conjured realms that at any other point in history would have required several pounds of hallucinogen and a magic spell that transported you inside Salvador Dali. For the last decade, the word "Katamari" has brought more joy and genuine distraction from the world's troubles than the word "nirvana."
This is a god I'd pray to, just to hear his reply.
But these promised (and delivered by wireless connection) lands have demons, too, and just like in every predictable science fiction story, the real monsters were inside us all along. Six types of gamer take a world where we literally play with a global supercomputer network and piss all over it. We only wish they tried that physically. At least then they'd get the high voltage burns they deserve, where they deserve them.
Five laps of glorious blue-sparking velocity combat, you've taken the lead at the last corner, you're powering down the home stretch, and microseconds from the finish line, DING! Disconnected! Your opponent would rather switch off their system than let anyone else win. You know that victory is yours, but a big part of gaming is how your brain's pleasure center can be remote controlled by a four-cent sound chip. Not finishing isn't just frustrating, it's long-distance blue balling.
Making this the world's kinkiest sex toy.
Winning doesn't mean anything if it's not possible to lose, but "not meaning anything" is these assholes' entire life strategy. They're trying to create a 100 percent win record at the expense of those numbers meaning something. For example, they've also satisfied 100 percent of all their past lovers, but that's because they know exactly where to touch themselves, and because someone whose idea of satisfaction is cheating to win at Mario Kart is incredibly easy to please. Note that I'm not calling all video gamers virgins. In 2013 that would be like calling all car owners scared of horses. But the sort of person who'd pull out rather than let someone else even enjoy Mario Kart is not the sort of person who has a lover.
"She's just mad because I always come first."
This problem is so endemic that every online game is defined by whether it punishes disconnectors. If it doesn't, it sucks, because it's impossible to win. Which means modern games have to work out how to be fun, administer millions of simultaneous connections, AND engineer a way to punish snowflakes so bubble wrapped that they can't even handle losing at make-believe.
Modern multiplayer games feature more teamwork than a Disney movie about a down-on-their-luck cheerleading squad learning to win a bridge tournament (a challenge that involves learning bridge, then keeping each other alive for 80 years to become old enough to care about bridge). An array of classes and loadouts let players adapt to specific roles and shifting objectives, including point defense, medic, target designation, and farming. Or they could be the third idiot on your team to scream "I WANNA SNIPE" and now you've lost.
"I just find it easier to interact with people this way and don't understand why that's terrifying."
True, a video game is the least worst-possible place for someone to declare that their only joy is long-range shooting things through the head, but it's still terrible. It doesn't matter if your team is going room to room in tunnels or being steamrollered by tanks, he's going to run up a crane at the very corner of the map and spend half an hour plinking at enemy infantry ... which will be much easier for him, now that your team is effectively outnumbered and the enemy are holding a grenade-explosion-based music festival around your spawn points.
"Hi, I've got a delivery for a 'screwed team'?"
This is the sort of sociopath that anti-video-game campaigners have been warning us about. There are infinitely billion single-player games about shooting enemies in the head, but these people don't want to play single player.
"It's only fun if I know they're real people. Wait, where are you going?"
As far as they're concerned, all the other players are just background sprites in their personal game. But because they're not Michael Jordan, you'll still lose and hate them.
It's been a brilliant evening of close-run combat. You've been dominating with the tanks, but the enemy have pilots who can actually hit things, so every map has been a hard-won struggle with only five points in it among 24 players. Your friend has to leave, but you're sure it'll be fine. Then XxX_D0ngH1tl3r_42069 joins and runs straight at the enemy with a knife while playing trololololo over team chat.
"LOL, I'm just so RANDOM, and I can only survive in environments where people can't physically beat me to death!"
The LOLRANDOM's battle cry is "It's just a game!" which is short for "It's just a game I'm trying to screw up for as many people as possible because no one has ever loved me!" It's like playing chess against someone who uses every turn to remove one of their own pieces from the board and shove it right up their own ass. It's easy to win, but not much fun to take part in. And if you wanted that, there are other online places you can go. In a team game, there are other people on their team who need those pieces.
"It's only our first date, so I won't try castling."
There are properly crazy servers, where properly insane shit happens.
The faces of madness. Really, they're part of the map, up in the background there.
But these idiots don't really care about being random. If they found themselves in a payload_hightower traditional fish-slapping match (all Scout, all Holy Mackerel, Monty Python song quotes in textchat), they'd be the first to spawn Heavy with a minigun and murder everyone. They don't want to actually have fun; they want to ruin it for others, because they've reached such a low point in existence that ruining pointless fun for strangers is the closest they can come to human affection. They're proof that video games don't ruin people, but do attract people who are already ruined.
This isn't a rant against noobs. Noob-haters are the most tragic of all video gamers, trying to feel superior to someone for playing a game longer than them. The process of learning and improving at a game is way more fun than being a master at it. No, the problem is people who buy a new game and the first thing they do is jump into multiplayer. The second thing they do is try to check if they have enough thumbs to hold a controller, but they usually can't count that high. The third through infinity (or for them, "many" through "crying") things they do are "losing" and "screeching as they whine about nothing working."
"Yeah, first she was thirsty, then cranky, now she's trying to circle-strafe in Counterstrike like a total scrub."
An absolute beginner on a real battlefield is a self-solving problem. An absolute beginner in a video game is the concept of handicap given human form, both in the "team sports" and in the "mental and physical" sense. These premature multiplayers are millstones around their team's neck. This wouldn't be a problem in free-for-all -- these bullet virgins would just be bonus points for everyone else -- but almost every popular game online is team-based. Which is why almost every multiplayer game comes with an advanced tutorial mode teaching absolute beginners how to play, and letting another absolute beginner pretend to be a scriptwriter (it's called "single player"). Gears of War 2 is the best example.
"MY GRIEF IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS AND VERY SAD!"
If you're going to shout "screw everyone else" and join a team with absolutely no ability, try it on an ice hockey rink first. By the time you heal, you should know better.
"If my balls were still physically attached, this would really hurt!"
This is another problem solved by technology. (You know, just like all problems, eventually.) There are legions of NEWBIES ONLY servers, filled with beginners all eagerly exploring each other's bodies with rapid-fire weapons. It's the student dorm of explosion virginity: a common place to lose it together, and where it's extremely uncool for a more experienced player to hang around predating on people. Asshole experts do sometimes descend on these violence nurseries, massacring everyone with the completely unfair advantage of their own lack of anything better to do, but that still counts as part of training these new players for the real gaming world.
Games turbocharged their electronic endorphin generators with achievements, little electronic pats on the back where the game says you're awesome for playing a game. The fact that this works tells us terrifying amounts about human psychology, and why most of the stupid bullshit in advertising and gambling is still a problem. And then a new class of player managed to miss the point. They turned video game achievements into a job, which is like turning a harem of horny cheerleaders and firepersons into an annoying floor-mopping chore.
"Ugh, I'll have to re-wax the floor when we're finished waxing each other. Man, I suck at fantasies."
In the most close-run game of capture the flag, they're standing in a corner, jumping, because they want the 500 jumps achievement. They run into long-range sniping maps with a pistol out because they need 4,000 kills. They're the meth addicts of the gaming endorphin high, willing to do anything, no matter how stupid or degrading, just to get their next moment of distracting beepy bliss. And they could not give less of a shit about who else's fun they ruin in the process.
The Middle Manager
If you have teamspeak, you'll hear this guy. And it's always a guy. He's using a global satellite network to play a computer game bigger than several famous historical empires in both population and total wealth, and he sounds like he's at the end of a triple shift at Hank's SlimeBurger drive-through. He wearily commands like the middle manager at a candy store that only employs diabetic toddlers. He thinks the game developers are his bosses and his teammates are his employees, and he hates every single one of you.
"Dammit, Johnson, your quarterly resurrection figures are for shit!"
You'd swear he'd been hired to manage this Call of Duty team for minimum wage, but has to win fast so he can get back to cleaning the toilets. He makes the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket seem like a positivity coach, because at least Sergeant Hartman enjoyed his job. And was able to train someone to shoot straight.
Video games are pure joy. That's what they're for. They have no function other than entertainment. We put more programming into these things than we put into the moon shot, and more people are now able to see them on TV screens. And if you're playing Just Cause 2, there's the same amount of burning jet fuel.
So if you're not enjoying them, turn them off and go do something else. You'll feel a lot better. And so will we.
For more gaming insanity, check out lawyers vs. Tasers and games in The 5 Most Insane Video Game Lawsuits. Or you can behold the ultimate drunk driver in Iron Man's Most Idiotic Moments. Luke also has a website, tumbles, and responds to every single tweet.
If you can't get enough gaming, behold The 7 Best Video Game Ideas (That Will Never Get Made) and The 7 Most Impressive Dick Moves in Online Gaming History.