I've been planning on getting a c-blog going for a while now and have been debating about what kind of topic to go with. Thankfully, this months Bloggers Wanted seemed to be the perfect segue to branch a specific topic as well as an introductory blog. So why putz around it any longer, let's get to it.
I started gaming when I was 4 or 5 years old with my parents and an Atari 2600. As such I have always loved playing with others in person, jawing and joking with each other and generally trying to do just a little bit better than the person on the other side of the sticks. I would try my hardest as a kid to break just that one extra block in Brick Breaker or collect that one extra treasure in Pitfall to make my mother's score lower than mine. It was fun and was a great way for my mother and I to bond while I was growing up (I still can't beat her at Tetris and her level 1-99 run on Columns is still recorded on my Genesis carts high score list).
Throughout school my closest friends and I were always playing games. So much so in fact that when we were told to go outside and play we got an extension cord, two chairs, and a table and took the entire tv and game setup outside.... they told us to just get back in shortly after noticing our shenanigans (best game of Contra ever by the way). I'm not gonna lie, we got really competitive sometimes. You'd be amazed at how much surprising depth there is in the clubbing event of Caveman Games
for the NES when you search for it. The beauty of it all is that there was a group of four or five of us that were evenly matched and that made it even more fun.
Nowadays however, I don't have that immediate circle of friends that I can always play off of to get better at my games of choice. One of my best friends and I had pledged to get better at Street Fighter 4 together. We would play sets when we got together and I was putting in work when I was home. Eventually I started improving more than he was (I mainly say it's because Balrog is a lot easier to learn than Adon personally) and rather than try to learn how to deal with my new moves together he decided to just give up (even getting so upset he "swore off fighting games"). This really made me stop and think about how I play games. Am I too competitive?
I learned a lot about his frustration by going through it myself around the same time. My fiance is an avid Tekken player. She could constantly kick my ass with a myriad of characters (Lily, Asuka, Jun, Jin, the list goes on). I'm a 2D fighter kind of guy and I really wanted to learn Tekken to play with her so I started actively researching techniques for my characters (Lars and Miguel). I've gotten to the point now where I can take a few rounds here and there, but by and large she is going to destroy me four out of five times. This used to drive me crazy to the point of wanting to just put the control down and walk out of the room at times.
Why though? Why in the world should someone just learning a 3D fighter be able to just up and beat someone playing it for the last 6 iterations over the course of a few months. It just isn't reasonable, but I couldn't accept it. Maybe I'm not competitive so much as I am a perfectionist expecting way too much out of myself right away.
After realizing this I decided to play for enjoyment more than anything else. I still like having that competitive set of fighting games with friends or online, but I try not to let myself get to invested. It still sucks to lose, but that is going to happen from time to time. I'd rather have fun and goof around than push people away by being overbearing and annoying at this stage of my life. I've learned to enjoy the learning process of fighting games and learning with someone else (or teaching) more than trying to win all the time any more and that has made me a much better person to play games with. Will I try to win though? Absolutely. Maybe, just maybe though, I'll keep the score close rather than try and blow you out of the water every time.
A tip though for everyone who has friends or family that complains about you being "too good" or "always winning". Rather than just sandbagging a match or two to "make them feel better", actively give them tips to get better at the game you are playing. They will start to get better bit by bit which will in turn help you to get better as they start pushing you more. This is what makes competitive gaming with others so much fun. Oh, and watch out for zombies.