A kid swore at me the other day, "Use a real fucking gun you no-skill Jew!" I wanted to slap the shit out of him: I pinned him to the wall with an arrow and taunted his dead body instead.
Games of all kinds have been a defining aspect of my life since the days cassette decks were the best memory computers could have. This was back when dinosaurs walked the earth and people got their naked pictures from magazines. With gamers in their mid-30s spearheading a revival of electronic interaction and entertainment that's evolved from Ataris to PS4s, it's taken the rise of the online multiplayer game to teach us what our parents learned the hard way.
Kids ruin every damn thing we love.
The past few years have encouraged a new buzzword for this juvenile trend of trash-talking, grammar-impaired, racially-insulting barbs: toxic community. And any community that views phrases like "get reckt" as perfectly reasonable responses to gaming actions is more than deserving of EPA sanctions, with optional prison time for every "u mad".
It doesn't matter if it's cubist people punching trees or virtual soldiers capturing flags, you get any group of people into an online game and it's inevitable that someone will turn into a raging asshat. Some blame the frustration on dealing with multiple people in a virtual setting, others view it as e-peen waving. I've learned to look at I from an age gap perspective.
Younger players take everything so damned seriously. They hear about another Major League Gaming tournament and get stars in their eyes. Kids that have spent too much time, and more money than they should be allowed, on League of Legends think that every ranked game is going to snag the attention of a World Championship team.
At some point that almost profound level of self-interest all kids have grows into digital megalomania. Kings of castles the average gamer only gives a passing shit about. They've taken on a Monty Python-esque quality: Go away, before I "lol get good" you a second time. Silly rage and self-importance has turned them into caricatures of that faceless, annoying gamer that the media laughs at and new players fear.
Don't even get me started on the YouTube channels. There are only so many ways of saying "I pwn noobs", and these people should avoid all of them. Those that use dubstep to punctuate every kill should be shot, preferably with a 360 No Scope.
It becomes a tricky line to walk. Newer players get exposed to this ongoing storm of bad behavior and find themselves forced to block it all out and miss out on meeting cool people, or responding and run the risk of becoming just as bad if not worse than the people that yelled at them.
Personally, I've grown to play online games with a sense of humor like that weird uncle your parents avoid at family reunions, and enough paranoia to choke a 9/11 truther. I'll chat and type and joke around, but the deeper group aspects I'll avoid like the plague. When I play a MMO, I auto-ignore almost every guild or party invite. I've never considered joining a clan for any of the more competitive games I play.
And when it comes to the nastier habits of other players, I can make enemies like a master craftsman. In one game, I have a button set up that types "Girls, girls, you're ALL pretty!" in open chat. Press it enough and even the worst gamer pissing contests go quiet for a while. I've made racial and sexual slurs into come-ons that flatter me, but tell them I'm not really looking to date at the moment. I've relished comments that insult my ability to play the game, implying I get some sort of perverse sexual pleasure from them.
In short, I become a very unique kid of asshole. And all because I don't take the games I play too seriously. But the other people I play with rarely find fault with who I'm an asshole to.
Bringing things back to the young sniper I mentioned in the opening; he decided to try and get even by changing to a more mobile class and jumping up to my sniper perch to kill me. With a shot that even I can admit was luck more than anything else, another one of my arrows stuck him to the wall by his head. I taunted again, and he left the game without saying anything. Three of my teammates laughed.
What can I say? I'm a people person.