Civilization can’t exist without mutual respect, adherence to rules, and plenty of coffee. But all too often when we hop on the internet, rules and respect go flying out window and we act like a bunch of sociopathic garbage monsters. This goes doubly for gamers, who have been known to say and do awful things when things don’t go our way. Collectively, we’re the worst.
So next time you feel like saying one of the following things to a fellow gamer, take a deep breath, find your Zen place, and do something else instead. You’ll be a better person for it.
1. “You %#@$ing piece of $%@&!!!”
… Or, you know, any other string of profanity.
Yes, video games can be intense. It’s one of the reasons we love them. But when a particularly intense interaction results in failure rather than success, it can leave us with a whole mess of bad words we want to shriek at other players.
But unless you’re partied up with your friends, and they’re the only ones listening, don’t do it. No one wants to hear you belt out a blast of bad words over voice chat. Kids play games. Kids are often better than you at games. When you unleash your unfiltered R-rated fury into your gaming headset, you’re making the experience worse for everyone listening. Please, keep it PG.
2. Insults based on gender, race, age, or anything else
We’ve all been there — enjoying a fine evening on our couch, controller in hand, playing online with a group of strangers, when some jackass starts spouting out the most hateful, racist, sexist word-vomit you’ve ever heard.
Let’s be clear: Making fun of people is bad. Making fun of people based on things completely outside of their control is downright evil. If you do it, you’re a bad person.
Stop it, you big jerk.
3. “Friggin’ n00bs!”
Play any online game long enough, and you’ll find yourself stuck on a team with people who simply aren’t very good at the game. When that happens, your first inclination might be to yell at them for their lack of skills and overall uselessness. Fight this urge.
Newbies have sub-par skills because they haven’t played the game enough to hone them. The way you become good at games is through experience, which means continuing through the rough period when you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s all there is to it.
You were a newbie once, too. Instead of criticizing these poor, hapless neophytes, try giving them tips to up their game. Who knows, in a couple of weeks they could rise past you on the leaderboard.
4. “You’re not a real gamer”
Some people think video games come in two types: serious hardcore games and silly casual games. They think “real gamers” play serious hardcore games like Call of Duty, while fake gamers play cartoonish nonsense on their phones. These people are wrong.
Do you know what a real gamer is? It’s a person who plays a video game — any video game. That game can be Dark Souls 3 or it can be Candy Crush Saga. It doesn’t matter. Questioning someone’s gaming credentials, as if to be a real gamer they need to have played X number of games pre-approved by a panel of wise, controller-wielding elders, is asinine. There’s no such thing as a mythical “real gamer.” Get over yourself.
5. “You’re wasting your time”
People can do whatever they want with their free time, so don’t act like gaming is a waste of time. From a mobile game you play for a few minutes at a time to endlessly deep games you can play for 100 hours, they’re all games and they’re all made to give people enjoyment, challenge, or whatever else people look for when they play. Unless playing video games becomes an addiction and starts interfering with someone’s responsibilities, don’t judge. Games aren’t a waste of time.