What do you call the thing that drives you to win at any costs in any endeavor; that Internal cocktail of honed skills, ruthless guile, pure instinct, and fevered adrenaline. That thing where your palms sweat, and your heart races while the thing that blocks out everything to part where all you can see, hear, smell, taste and feel is the moment you’re standing in? I call it the competitive edge. A true achievement of a perfect state of focus.
I used to have that in spades. Somewhere though, I lost it. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but, I lost it. Recently, however? I got it back. Find out how after the jump.
My friend James, (aka GAme G0dz) and I were playing Gears of War a few nights ago. He’d started a ranked game so we could both pick up some achievements (I’m not that big of an achievement whore, but they’re pretty easy ones so, I figured, “why not?”). It was an Execution room, meaning the only way to take someone down was to take the time to completely finish them off in one of numerous ways including dicing your enemy with the Lancer’s Chainsaw, getting a blowing them up, or forcing them to kiss the pavement with a big boot to the head.
I got on, working through my usual pre-game psych-up, while pushing aside some emotional stress I was dealing with. It wasn’t before too long we had a six man room, and we were able to start playing. The first round, we all get wasted pretty quick. The next round, GAme and our partner both got killed, though not before GAme took down one of the Locusts, leaving me by myself to chainsaw one guy, and blow the other up using the Boomshot, a grenade launcher; bit on the slow side, but lovely when it hits.
In following rounds I got chainsaw kill after chainsaw kill, shotgun kills, a couple of sniper kills. As we continued to play, we got into some pretty close matches, some coming down to a single shot for either side. Some of those we won, some of them we lost. But, it didn’t matter. The ice was finally back; the fridged chill that was my edge fell over me faster than any thing I’d felt in the last few months and it wasn’t about to be thawed out with one or two measly losses.
The longer we played, the more I could feel myself slip into a deeper state of focus, a sensation I’d not felt to this extent in quiet a while. And it felt good! Though I still wasn’t playing at my full potential, as my Gears skills still need work online, going off what I had; an intermediate knowledge of what I was doing, and my own instincts developed from years of gaming and weeks of playing co-op, I was more than a threat in the matches. I was an issue and thus, became a priority, rather than just another target.
The more they threw at me, the more I wanted even more to come back and win. In two matches, we managed to turn poor starts into unforgettable victories, with matches reaching scores of 2-to-5 in one (with us being the 2) in which we made a miraculous come back and smoked the other team, and another where our 2 teams constantly went back and forth with each other, ending with a nice a curb stomp from my buddy GAme G0dz who somehow managed to save us by himself.
We never would have won any of them if not for our team work; communicating when we spotted someone or where we lost them. Reviving each other when one of us was critically wounded. Giving each other cover fire, while one of went after a weapon, or ran into deliver a bloody chainsaw to the face.
I’ve been dealing with some personal problems with two friends of mine that have been dragging my mood down dranatically. But, by the end of the game, I was back to my cold, ruthless fighting mentality, and nothing could be me down.
I play Call of Duty 2, Ghost Reacon: Advanced Warfighter, and Dead or Alive 4. All of these games can be intense. But, there’s just something about the visceral, close quarter, gory orgy of Gears of War, that reawakens those primal instincts. That pulse pounding drive to break through any obstacle and just win. Even if its just for bragging rights, even if it’s just for achievements, you don’t care. It’s not about the glory, it’s just about surviving and winning, plain and simple.