There's nothing quite like the thrill of online gaming. Whether it's Call of Duty, Castle Crashers, or Counter-Strike, playing with friends has been and always will be a staple of gaming. With the advent of the internet, gaming was forever revolutionized by the idea that strangers from all over the world could play together. Voice chat allows us to taunt our enemies, bitch about our defeats, and share in our triumphs. It adds another dimension to competitive gaming that simply cannot be replaced. With that gift of instant communication comes a responsibility to use it properly.
One can expect a certain amount of trash-talking in any multiplayer game. Personally, I loved being able to taunt the enemy before a match in Modern Warfare 2. It raised the stakes and added to the frenetic combat because you had something to prove. Sometimes, it's best to have thick skin when dealing with online players. We all know there is a line that shouldn't be crossed when trash-talk turns into verbal abuse. There have been countless articles about verbal abuse in videogames, but what about when your own teammate is the one doing the abusing?
Granted, in the heat of the moment, we have all said things that we regret. It's only natural that we criticize our teammates when we feel that they aren't contributing. On the other hand, constantly berating a friend for their perceived lack of skill isn't the best way to foster teamwork. Perhaps some of you have had a friend who constantly asserts their superior skill while putting down other players. If they die in say Call of Duty, it's the map's fault, the gun's fault, the game's fault, or even your fault. That's right. I have been blamed for a friend's death while being on the other side of the map because I "didn't have his back." Maybe he should have concentrated on situation awareness instead of thinking about whom to blame for his next death.
This kind of behavior is symptomatic of a much bigger problem in videogames. We are taking them too seriously. Smashed controllers and rage-quitting are a sign of immaturity. We are letting ourselves get so angry that we are forgetting that videogames should be fun. Am I saying that all gamers should be zen? Absolutely not, but when a teammate is making a game less enjoyable there is something is wrong in the gaming community. Take a second and realize that most likely you are not a pro gamer (and I mean that literally as in your livelihood doesn't depend on a match). Realize that even though this match might mean everything to you, your friends and teammates most likely just want to have fun. After all, videogames are entertainment and they are designed for us to enjoy. So for the sake of everyone, let's agree that gamers just wanna have fun and leave the team-bashing for another hobby.
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