Friday, April 4, 2008

Anger Management

In the past year or so I have slowly but surely begun to realise that I am quite the impatient and angry gamer. I find myself swearing at games more often these days, getting frustrated with things that are completely trivial and losing my patience a lot quicker than I used to. I think I know the reason too...

While I don't mean to shift the blame onto anything (because ultimately, I am in control of my mood/s while playing a game), I honestly believe playing Gears of War for 8 months or so while going for the Seriously... achievement (10,000 kills) changed me as a gamer. I played that game each and every night for about 8 months trying to build up my kills and unfortunately I had to put up with a lot of crap to get there. Whether it was people using glitches so it was harder to kill them, being cocky after killing you (both verbally and visually - as in the 'raping' animation people can do while you're down that is similar to Tea-Bagging in Halo), or people just generally being arseholes, I saw it all and at times it was quite hard to take.

In the first few months it was a different story. The regulars who were also going for the achievement were generally nice people to talk to and play with and the Gears' community was better for it (it helped that it was Aussies too as we had a particular criteria to search for in Ranked matches). Over time however things changed and these people who were once great to play with turned into massive tools who just ruined the experience and made the quest towards the achievement that much harder. At first it was reasonably easy to just take anything they said or did with a grain of salt but it definitely got harder to take as time continued on and they kept it up. Perhaps playing with the same people thanks to that Aussie search criteria that we had was at fault? Maybe if I played with more randoms I would have had a better experience? Or maybe it would have been worse because I may have been playing with Americans, Europeans or whatever and it may have been very laggy? Who knows and who cares really, it's all completely irrelevant since it didn't happen.

Anyway playing with these people and putting up with the glitching, raping and whatever else did eventually see me losing patience with being killed regularly by situations that shouldn't be happening (glitching for example) and it became very easy to say choice words with almost every single death that I had. Not only that but there were a couple of times where I'd punch the pillow, raise my voice and wake up my little sister in the next room or get so angry that I'd turn the console off and stare at my ceiling gritting my teeth trying to keep the anger in. It was actually quite annoying knowing that I was letting myself get angry, letting these people get the better of me by losing my patience with them and so on. I knew I was a generally patient gamer and also a person who rarely loses their temper so whenever I did, I became disappointed and even angry with myself which of course only made things worse.

Back in my childhood and earlier gaming life, I was extremely patient with games even if they had very frustrating moments or I couldn't get past a particular part. I could sit there re-trying the same thing over and over and not be phased one bit. I had the determination to keep at it until I came out on top and I guess I got used to this idea of being patient with things that others would find annoying. Fast forward today and after the whole Gears experience and well, I'm not the gamer I was back in my childhood. Even when I'm not actually angry and I'm quite happy to be playing whatever game it is I am playing, I will come out with a curse word when I will die. I'll say that the situation that has just occurred is rubbish. If it continues to happen, I will lose patience very quickly and start swearing even more at the game and since I still have that determination to come out on top eventually, I sit there getting worse with my choice of words and becoming more frustrated until I actually do beat or achieve whatever it is I am trying to.

Every time I have gotten angry and then settled down again, I question myself. I ask why I get as angry as I do sometimes or why I lose patience so quickly and I honestly can't answer it. Perhaps it is because I've grown up and don't have as much time to do things as I did back in my childhood, or perhaps it's because games are more frustrating than they used to be? Or perhaps it's none of those and I am right in putting it down to playing Gears of War for so long and experiencing what I did?

Whatever it is, I have changed as a gamer and to be frank I don't like it. I would like to go back to the patient gamer I used to be and I would like to stop swearing so much at the most trivial of things that happen in games. So that is exactly what I am going to try to do. I am now going to try to be more patient with my games if they start to annoy me and hopefully I can change myself back to how I was (or at least close to it) by at the very least trying. Naturally, I'll return to this topic on Raptured Reality in the future to see how I am progressing (if at all) and with any luck, it will be a good out come.

November is on the way though and that means Gears of War 2. There's a very good chance that there will be a similar achievement in the upcoming game (perhaps 20k kills?) and if there is, I will be committing myself once again until I obtain the achievement. Another 6-8 months of continuous play and probably with a lot of the same people who I played with in the original... Wonder how my anger management will be like then, eh?

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