gamers in general that is. i’m just waiting for someone to use this story to fuel the fire for a “violent gamers story.” “this just in, guns don’t make criminals, controllers do! story at 11.”
|dramatic pre-creation. image from gamesradar|
i know a lot of people that use video games not just for fun but as some form of therapeutic activity. that could either be some casual gaming to unwind after a long day at work or logging on and playing some call of duty to blow off some steam. and there’s nothing wrong with that – the game is played, the user feels better and we all move on. but that’s not how it always goes down. some game content is frustrating – difficulty levels and/or awkward game mechanics can cause a player a bit of anger in the process. it could be anything from not being able to down a boss to the way a camera pans across the scene that irks one’s ire.
quick example – street fighter 4 was such a game (for me, anyway). and that was 100% because of the comeback mechanics. when you get owned in a round, you get (pretty much) rewarded with an “ultra combo” desperation move that hits extremely hard. i found it unbelievably irritating that i could be beating someone for the majority of a match while retaining most of my health just to be dropped to next to nothing with an ultra combo and ultimately lose thanks to a couple of lucky strikes. it was extremely frustrating – my body temperature went up, i would start speaking in tongues and i could even feel that vein throbbing in my forehead that so many cartoons and anime like to draw. while it could make for an interesting match between two players of equal skill, i felt that the mechanic rewarded the weak and the unskilled with a cheap shot to level the playing field. luckily i have some self control – the controller didn’t go through my television or across the room. it was put down on my coffee table, and picked up again when i removed the sf4 disc and loaded up tiger woods pga tour instead.
and that’s really the way to deal with game rage – if you actually start to get angry playing a game, the game becomes work, and a source of fun is replaced with a source of stress. so just put the controller down, pick a different game, browse the interwebs. or just go outside. use some sunscreen if you haven’t been in a while.
there are of course people who would strongly disagree with my methods – recently in fact there’s one kenichi moriai in yashio city, japan. this man’s method of dealing with game stress was to run around town and bend the windshield wipers on eight (8) freight trucks in late january. granted, the damage was only about $2000, but what’s important here is that he made a destructive little jump from verbal venting to, shall we say, illegal augmentation of physical property? what is additionally strange is that these 8 trucks are only part of a windshield wiper bending spree (i know, right?) in yashio and the neighboring soka city where over 100 incidents of bent or broken windshield wipers.
but why? what game could have driven him to this? according to kotaku and the mainichi shimbun, when asked by authorities, moriai simply answered “i was sick of playing fighting games.” this vandalism became a game to him, and supposedly provided him the enjoyment he normally gets from gaming. he also claimed to have done much more than just this, and is suspected in a fire extinguisher theft in his apartment building. the man is 31 and unemployed, but it looks like he’s going to have bigger problems to deal with. so what conclusions can be drawn here? are video games a crime deterrent? does life imitates art?
nah, this guy was just a little too close to the fringes of reality. but you should play more games just in case.