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socialnorms avatar 12:57 PM on 04.08.2010  (server time)
Lag Switches now common on Halo 3: A Narrative

Girls don't talk to you. They don't even make eye contact with you. The High School Football Team has a habit of shoving your head in the urinals because it's less work than the full fledged toilet, and urinal cakes leave enough evidence on your angry face to inform everyone that you are at the bottom of the social totem pole. You don't entirely understand why they target you, because you're not really a nerd, you have no technical expertise or passion; the only thing you can claim as your own is 1) A whole lot of acne and 2) An XBox Live account named "xxXsNiPErDiCkXxx".

And now you have a third bid at justifying your meaningless existence: a lag switch.

You log on to Halo 3 now, because the monitors at Modern Warfare 2 know you and your kind somehow, though you're not sure how; maybe it's the way you slur "fa**ot" and "ni**er" at people, but everybody talks that way, unless they're gay. Your two buddies and that one little kid who thinks he's your buddy are already on, and you enter matchmaking together. This is going to be good. You're going to get back at Tim Rawlins the quarterback by totally pwning these fags and newbs.

You get a match set up. The three and a half of you immediately start talking about things you actually know nothing about: sex, weird sex positions, and your favorite hilarious topic, homosexuals. The little kid on your team, when not laughing too much at everything you say, reads the name of everyone on the other team and says "gay" immediately afterward, although you notice he mispronounces "Angry Liberals" with "Liberahs."

Angry Liberals and the other guy, Minority Fees, start talking back, except they sound really nasally, and they're complaining to their moms in the background, and they're talking about how people pick on them at school. It all sounds so close to home. And then you realize they're mocking you. You instinctively swing back, using your two attacks, saying what you'll do to their moms and calling them fags. You've heard these insults thousands of times before, and because they're the only insults you've heard, you can't think of any other way to respond.

The game begins. It's close. Angry Liberals and Minority Fees can be heard telling their team where your teammates are. Your teammates are getting frustrated, but because you camped the rocket launcher, and because the other team had a betrayer, you managed to keep the score nearly even. Now it's 47-42 them, and the time has come. You put one hand down your pants and the other on your lag switch. You push that mac'n'cheese sullied button and count to three, wary of Bungie's lazy software having a four second monitor. While the other team is force to run into walls aimlessly, you assassinate them, take their weapons and recharge your shields. After another minute you put your hand back down your pants again, because you've won, and the feeling of power is shuddering through all one and a half inches of you.


This is happening a lot now when I play Halo 3. I suppose, given the demographic, I'm just "asking for it," but that doesn't justify it. As hated as this game is, I really enjoy it, and it's really disappointing to find that one in four matches has something either subtle or blatantly obvious happen with the connection. Occasionally the user gets kicked from the match, but most of the time they're successful.

Is this the future of gaming? Or is it just a jerks on Halo thing? If you Google "lag switch" you get instant explanation and pictures of the damn things. Mr. Minority Fees tells me WoW has countermeasures to this. I'm hoping Halo: Reach will have something, but I'm not holding my breath. It's gotten bad.

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