The point of this article is not to point out flaws or insult anyone. Whether you make games, intend on making them, or just interact with other gamers, understanding how gamers think is useful. Being able to match up what we know of game design with how various gamers react to such design elements is key in putting our critical-knowledge to good use. Let's take close looks at what gamers actually say and look at their statements form different points of view.
Here's a quote from a jamielynnodell.com.
JAMIE: "P.S. To ALL online Gamers: Please STOP WHINING!!!!! Stop whining about campers. Stop whining about the noob tube. Stop whining about people who jump around. IT’S A GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you are getting your a** kicked, then you are doing something wrong and the other person is doing it right. Figure it out. Internally. Without whining. Good Day Sir!"
Seems like competitive gamers have to develop some thick skin. Aside from trash talking, which is never necessary, competitive gamers seem to generally fall into two camps; whiners and tough gamers. I believe our new understanding of competitive gaming can help explain this trend. Basically, being wrong is typically disorienting. Even as babies, experiencing new things that change what we know and how we think puts us into a focused and somewhat subdued state. The older we get, the more confident we become in our knowledge of the world. By internalizing models, stories, and facts we grow comfortable within our world view and the expectations it generates.
With any learning process, especially trial-and-error, we expect to make mistakes and get it wrong more than once. In a game, you might not know that a new weapon has a fire based side effect, but after testing it a bit you'll quickly catch up to speed. The problem is, acquiring bits of knowledge like this is simple. And the mistakes made testing out small things are easy to wrap our minds around. It's a different situation when you find out that your entire conception of how more complex models are shattered, even if the model is how a game works. Such an experience is even harder to take when it's some other player who forces this reality onto you. Such is the nature of interplay barriers and competition. It's their will against yours.
With no words exchanged, competition is like engaging in a conversation. And losing badly is like the opponent telling you everything you know, think, and attempt is either wrong or not good enough. With delicate egos and expectations on the line, this reality can be too much. And like Andrea, instead of looking within to identify the source of the problem, it's easier to blame others. But players who preserve, pushpast their own hurt feelings, and stop making excuses are more resilient. When their understanding of how the game is played is broken, they quickly begin repairing it. As if squashing their hurt feelings, these players often adopt a "keep your head down, wait and see, fight through it, no complaining" type attitude. Such is my theory on where the "suck it up" type attitude that some competitive gamers have comes from.
If you have any other quotes or articles that would make nice additions to this series, send them my way. In the meantime, contact me to play some multiplayer sometime. Should be quite an interesting experience.