Have you ever played an online game and realized that the whole time, you’ve thought yourself the good guy? And every time someone kills you, they’re either a bastard, evil, or somehow dastardly?
A few days ago, I was playing Rising Storm as the Axis on some sort of urban map(I really need to learn map names). As usual, I spent the first ten minutes running to catch up with my team, getting lost, and being subsequently torn to gory shreds.
Finally, after some time, I managed to find another player in some sort of train station building. He was on the second floor firing out of a window. I made my up the stairs and peeked out a window beside him. A couple rounds impacted on the wall beside me, so I ducked back and decided to cover his back.
Now, the second floor was more of a balcony that ran around the inside of the building, with a large opening in the middle through which you could see the first floor. I laid prone with my gun trained on the first floor. Apparently, my ally was causing some havoc to the other team, because enemy soldiers kept rushing into the building, quickly falling to my gunfire.
At one point, the return fire from outside grew too fierce, so he left the window as a few more enemies poured into the building. He dropped down beside me and we dispatched the group.
At this time, I knew that we had been marked, and there would be a push to clear us out of the point. Naturally, my adrenaline spiked. Palms sweaty, eyes wide, breath shallow. The two of us lay on the floor, guns trained on the area below us, waiting.
Suddenly, rounds began to explode and tear through the planks between us. Someone directly below us was firing straight up, hoping to kill us. As bullets ripped through, just beside my head, I threw a grenade downstairs, hoping to destroy our assailants. It exploded and I saw a blood splash on the tile. I crawled over to the stairs, to check if anyone was coming up.
Once I got there, for some reason, I panicked, thinking I had no ammo left in my clip. Hands shaking, I checked my clip, counting the remaining rounds. As I did so, an enemy soldier stalked up the stairs, his pistol ready. Frantically, I tried to shove the clip back in, but he lined up the shot and all I saw was black.
Initially, I was mad. What an asshole! Arrogant bastard, you just saunter up here, smug as you please, and kill me in one shot with a pistol! What a stupid jerk!
Then, I realized something. In my mind, I was the good guy. My story was the righteous one. I was the one who was wronged. But, looking at it a little more, I began to understand that he probably felt the same way. Maybe I had killed him a few times already. Maybe he’d seen his buddies die to our guns. Either way, we were an entrenched enemy causing problems for his team. We were the bad guys. We were the enemy that had to be stopped. Perhaps he was out of ammo, and his pistol was his last weapon. Maybe he’d been the one to fire up at us, and his teammate was killed by my grenade. Then, vengeful and bleeding himself, he’d climbed those stairs, and, vision clouded by blood, body beaten and burned, managed one heroic shot. Finally killing those assholes who’d been murdering his buddies.
I wonder what his narrative was.