“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha
Yes we are going to start out being all spiritual and stuff, so take a deep breath, unclench and put the hammer down, because we’re going to tackle a difficult subject together.
The Rage Quit
Now unless you are Buddha, or made entirely out of Camomile tea, then you will have experienced the rage quit. I admit that I’ve turned the air blue, black and possibly even summoned Cthulhu with the language I’ve yelled at various games. I’ve even punched the odd cushion when I’ve died for what feels like the millionth time in any of the Soulsborne games. In fact I challenge the great Buddha himself to take on the Orphan of Kos without screaming, and then sobbing gently in the corner. We all have our breaking points and mine is being categorically decked in by a rage zombie throwing a tempura prawn on a rope!
The thing with rage quit, is it’s less to do with the game being an enormous cheating dickhead, and more to do with our own failures. For the most part my frustration comes from the fact that I got overly cocky or impatient taking down a boss, or knowing I should have just gone straight to the bonfire but you had to carry on didn’t you and now collecting all those souls back is going to be a massive pain in the arse!
Why the sudden interest in rage quit you ask? Well if you’ve already read my article on why cheating in games is not necessarily a bad thing, you’ll know that I love a good twitter Haiku. Thank you then for Ninja, who dropped a spectacularly beautiful one:
Now I am not the hippest person on the planet. This will be immediately obvious by my use of the word “hip”. As such I had never heard of “Ninja” until he proved himself to be a master of offending the masses on Twitter.
If I were to play Devil’s advocate for a moment, this tweet isn’t necessarily the worst thing I’ve read, and at first I thought all the backlash was a bit over the top. I say at first, because there is the tiniest nugget of wisdom in there around learning and improving, it’s just a shame he surrounded it with bullshit.
I will also say in his defence – don’t worry it stops here – anger is a natural emotional response, and yes sometimes the last thing you want to hear is “it’s just a game” because in the heat of the moment it feels patronising and taunting. But it’s also absolutely 100% true. It is just a game, something that you’re supposed to do for enjoyment.
Accepting that a game is just that, isn’t weak it’s just rational, and without trying to sound like Buddha it’s a step towards enlightenment. Taking a time out and realising that the game doesn’t hate you (unless it’s Dark Souls in which case it absolutely does) gives you that moment to reflect and learn.
I was going to put the Twitter Haiku down to him being a young, naïve, Fortnite child then I found out he’s practically 30 and I saw this video:
At first I didn’t get the initial outrage, because even though it is a stupid tweet he wasn’t explicitly instructing his tweenage following to shuriken their Switch out of a window, or punch their Playstation into oblivion. I also appreciate that age is not necessarily an indicator of smarts or emotional intelligence. There are some absolutely brilliant and level-headed teenagers out there along with some frankly terrifying toddlers masquerading as adults. But after seeing exactly what kind of “role model” he is… well dude needs some anger management therapy stat!
The thing is I’ve played Fortnite, for about a month or two, and I honestly found it hilarious when I exploded into a shower of guns and loot. Mainly because my loot was often utter crap, and I pose the least threat on any battlefield. I had a “fool-proof” strategy of basic cowardice, which meant I either cowered behind the chimney on the Greasy Grove burger place and sniped people as they passed, or I hid in toilets until I had to sprint to the safe zone.
I’m sure “Ninja” would look down on this behaviour, but it got me routinely into the top ten and I even won a match once. This was because the other two players were engaged in a war of who could build the better tower and eventually killed each other, but a default win is still a win!
If I’m honest the battle royale genre isn’t really my thing, also a lot of these games, and other competitive games lauded in the eSports arena have some of the most toxic lobbies ever. Its why, in the highly unlikely event of me playing an online co-op game, I mute everything. It’s not out of fear, because this numbskull behaviour is neither threatening nor clever, it’s just I’d rather have fun than be subject to small-minded bullies.
Ranting and raving down a headset is just pathetic. It doesn’t solve anything and it makes you look like an idiot. It’s why I take issue with some of Ninja’s fans saying that he only behaves like this because he’s passionate about the game. To those people I say get a dictionary and educate yourself! Anger and rage are absolutely not the same as passion or determination, so please stop dressing his little tantrums up as something noble and saying that being mad is a good thing!
Here’s some psychology 101 for you
No matter how high up the food chain we are, we do still harbour our little reptilian brain from the early years when we all about the four F’s. Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, and… fumbling in the dark hoping for some love. Let’s call this bit of our brain “Dave”.
Over the millennia we’ve evolved, and our limbic brain and cerebral cortex make us more capable of reasoning and having complex and nuanced emotions, instead of just throwing our poop at the wall. Dave will occasionally throw a spanner in a works, and under the correct circumstances Dave’s in-built ‘fight or flight’ response can be a godsend if channelled correctly. If not, well then you’re Ninja.
And yes while anger and passion come from the same place, passion is constructive. Passion is about enjoyment and enthusiasm and sharing that enthusiasm with others. Anger on the other hand is destructive and solitary. It doesn’t inspire you or make you better at anything, it categorically makes you worse. When the red mist falls you make more mistakes, your judgement is impaired and you just become a vile person to be around.
There is a bigger lesson to be learned in acceptance and adjustment. The phrase “it’s just a game” is not a weak mindset at all, in fact it’s the complete opposite. If Ninja really was a Ninja then he’d know about being the master of his emotions, and that being angry and tantruming all over the place shows him as the weak one.
If you lose, lose harder. Fail better and improve. Now I’m no saint, but smashing shit up doesn’t solve anything, all you achieve is a tension headache and a controller that no longer works, and those bad boys are not cheap!
When a game stops being fun, stop. As our own Surrealrager wisely said in his Grow your Backlog article, you’re under no obligation to play or even complete a game if you’re not enjoying it. This doesn’t make you a terrible gamer, it just means you know what you like and what you don’t, and you’re allowed to have opinions.
So my final words to Ninja and those controlled by Dave; you know what the quickest, easiest way to beat a game is? Switch it off, deprive it of power, trade it in and never be bothered by it again.
Be excellent to each other!