gamer dudes and the riffraff

last night i got home from the gallery after dealing with a bunch of tax and insurance crap that i needed to get out of the way before leaving. i fired up my rented copy of rainbow six black arrow, and joined kat’s game. i was immediately struck by the fact that pretty much all of the comm going on had to do with kat….mostly aggressive posturing by these guys trying to establish themselves as the alpha males of this particular game. it was kind of funny for the first couple of minutes, but then i kind of felt like saying “hey can we all just shut up and play the game?” because the chatter was repetitive and distracting. i did not say anything, realizing that if i did it would be interpreted by these dudes to be some kind of challenge on my part for the title of trash-talking he-man king. shortly thereafter, kat left for another room. i hung out for a little bit, only because the dialogue had once again become humorous, along the vein of “hey you fuckin idiot, you scared my bitch off…what’re you doing i’m trying to get laid…imma fuck your shit up for that you punk-ass bitch”. unfortunately, i was laughing at the fact that they were pretty pathetic, which after a short time loses its fun and starts to seem a bit mean-spirited. seeing that kat had found another game, i followed her.
same thing, different room. the people over there were younger than the previous room, and were better players, less drunk. but a couple of the guys were “fighting over kat” here too. after she left, one guy was complaining that somehow the other guy had poached kat to be in his clan. he said “shut up man, i’ve known her a while”. and the other guy says “oh yeah how long”. from the way the first guy said it, i am expecting the rejoinder to be something like “we grew up together”. instead it was “i dunno, like last week”.
a couple days ago, i was showing my mom the xbox, and explaining why i like to play (i’ve been doing this for the last 15+ years), and she watched me playing a few games both on and offline. most of her students are gamers, and she was pretty intrigued and excited to see what it is all about when we were playing offline, but when i fired up some online gaming and piped the headset chat through the t.v., i found myself wincing at a lot of the shit that was being said, particularly the racial religious and ethnic epithets. i found myself trying to explain a gaming culture that i think may have passed, when for example a lot of geeks changed their tags to eric harris and dylan klebold in the weeks following columbine, and yet it was intended and interpreted as an (admittedly very) darkly humorous commentary on the event and a sudden public perception of gamers as sociopathic violent freaks. yet there was very little dialogue that was angry hostility towards others, or personal harrassment, or much of anything that made me feel uncomfortable.
maybe it’s the addition of easy voice chat, or maybe it’s just the scale of the new xbox live system that i am playing on most often these days, but i find myself more often being somewhat alarmed and put off by the things i hear said online. maybe it’s that the people who were geeky enough to configure a second computer for streaming chat with teamtalk were just a lot more excited and motivated by the fun of gaming than seeking an outlet for competitive hostility. maybe i am just getting older and am missing the humorous nuances to the things the younger kids are saying. then again, a lot of them are married fathers. xbox live has pushed me from the sheltered realm of mac online gaming, into microsoft’s land of the horde. i am playing in a much bigger and broader living room, and i am not sure i like what i hear.






2 responses to “gamer dudes and the riffraff”

  1. bret Avatar

    I think it was Dylan Killyougood in Quake 2

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