I started gaming way before the internet was woven into many of todays gaming ventures. Playing multiplayer was contained within the same room and solo play was as common as a Magikarp using splash. Inevitably as time passes, changes will ensue. As the internet crept into the programming wheelhouse of so many developers, the way we game, the way we communicate, and the way we react has transformed. How has this transformation effected the community and you as a player? Healthy competition from all the parties involved, should evoke positivity within the gaming space, right?
Thinking about my own gaming journey, I loved playing with my family and my friends in many local multiplayer games. When I came across Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare multiplayer online at a friend’s house I suddenly felt excited, energized, and an addiction I could stand behind. The fun was real and the progression of my digital skill set, I’m sure would make my parents proud, or not. This point in my life was during college, a period in which having no static responsibility or being a father to someone, was the period in which I mostly felt immune or numb to the negativity. It didn’t seem to affect me, nor did I linger on it. But as I stated before as time passes, changes follow behind it.
When you have a family a lot of the unnoticed becomes amplified and the things that seemed to swerve your line of sight become a head on collision. You become aware of the negativity and how it can affect you or your family. So here are a few of those items I have dwelled upon and wondered how we can become aware of them sooner.
Speaking Words with Friends
When you think of a home you probably think of a few adjectives, such as warm, cozy, restful, or safe. You want to feel those things as well as for the guests who may encounter your home. My space is your space type of feeling. The same goes for an online interaction whether it be with friends or family as well as the strangers that you randomly meet. Usually when you participate in an online game in which teams are involved you want clear and concise communication, but the players involved are the ones responsible for steering the health of that conversation. So many times, I have played a game online and too often have come across repulsive banter. Its one thing to cuss and swear, but its another to belittle other players for the sound of their voice, playing style, or even gamer tag. Racist remarks, words of hate, and telling people to die are all things I’ve heard through my years of online campaigns. I’m sure the thought of the invisible protective barrier between people on headsets gives them some secure loophole to say these things, but why are you doing that in the first place? Because it’s funny? Because its empowering? Because you can? Sure, but is this something that you would want to happen to you, a friend, a spouse, or even a child? Why contribute to the negativity when you can do the opposite. A positive environment is half the battle when it comes to online interaction. Choose your words and the tone of those words wisely.
Anger Inventory Management
Have you or anyone that you know transform into hulk-like creatures when you lose a game, become involved in vicious death loops, or someone outshines you at your favorite game? Well from time to time I know that feeling, which mainly for myself manifests as slight aggravation because of continuous playthroughs on a certain part of a game or immediate head shots as I spawn in game. When this type of feeling occurs, it may be best to step back, grab a drink, have some food, and walk it off. Have you played with someone who over time as you play becomes more and more angry, aggressive and potentially toxic? This happens once in awhile and makes the experience less enjoyable and inviting to those who are there to have a great time, ultimately sucking the life force out of a game. I get that video games can be stress relievers and a way to take a siesta from the everyday stuff that pelts us, but you don’t need to combust and call others unnecessary names just because you are not physically in the same room as the other players. Your anger is infectious and can cause harm to others. I saw an argument recently about how short the PlayStation 5 controller life span is. This put them into a rage fit, but why? The controller gets 12-15 hours of playtime and if you are playing that long, it probably would do you good to take a break and either recharge yourself and the controller or have a backup one. An easy solution to a miniscule first-world problem. Controlling it and channeling it into something constructive would be beneficial too every party involved.
Encouragement is Included
When you are learning and growing your journey is a bit more bearable if people in your life support you in the various aspects that it may entail. This is also true for the people we encounter online. It is so easy to compliment someone, but when you hide behind the microphone it is just as easy to become harden and bitter at others you have never met. Making it a point to be positive and telling people GG, “Good Game” is a welcomed practice and encouraged and makes competitive gameplay much more fun and positive for players. Positive reinforcement to someone making the perfect kill shot or having a high kill count seems the opposite of what we should be doing, but regardless of the game genre or goals a good online etiquette can be beneficial to you and other players. I like that in Call of Duty: Vanguard in its online multiplayer you can vote for other players on certain achievements they have accomplished in the match and they are rewarded with extra experience points. This is a silent way to praise someone. It’s almost like an anonymous donation just without the benefit of being a write-offs in next years taxes .
As a user of the online community, I personally enjoy my time there. Its my dad mode that kicks in when I think about my kids or other children who are subjected to some of the content I have experienced. Promoting a safe and positive space for everyone is definitely a great goal to strive for, but most likely unachievable with so many walks of life logging on. The best place to start of coarse is with yourself and maybe we can achieve a better haven for all to virtually play in.
Do you think a more positive online experience would promote better gaming experiences for all who enjoy these multiplayer opportunities? Have you experienced online negativity in any way? How has these experiences changed the way you play or think? Let us know your thoughts.
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Shane Kelley is a Staff writer for Boss Rush Network, as well as a writer for Another Zelda Podcast. His favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can find him on Twitter to talk video games, Marvel, and axe throwing.
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