“If it’s in there, it’s fair game!” ~Kyle Gass, Tenacious Defender
So there I was, as you will usually find me, playing a multiplayer game on Xbox Live astride fellow members of Tied the Leader’s home team. Some call them Gunslingers. I call them old friends. On this occassion, the game was Call of Duty: Black Ops. Our posse was embroiled in a firefight around some long-forgotten Hanoi hotel. Our manuevers were intertwined. Our chatter was lively. Our aim was true.
I rounded a corner and found myself toe-to-toe with a hostile combatent. Before pleasantries could be exchanged, a hail of bulllets flew between us. My ammunition found its target first. Another Gunslinger identified two targets on the second floor of the building across the way. Posting up on a corner, I shouldered my Limited TTL Edition Commando M-16 and levelled the M203 rifle-mounted grenade launcher in the direction of the window. I then let two 40MM bundles of explosive joy whistle their way through the sultry Vietnamese night air.
The opponents for this bout were the usual mis-matched squad of total strangers who had met for the first time only seconds before the shooting and dying erupted onto the scene. While their basic skills were a good match for ours, it was our teamwork that tipped the scales in our favor. Sadly, in the post-game lobby, the same predictable exchange took place.
THEM: “Nice noob tubes!”
[that’s what sore losers call the grenade launcher]
US: “Thank you. Good game.”
THEM: “If I put a TTL clan tag in front of my name, will you teach me how to camp with tubes?”
US: “No, but we would be happy to teach you how to lose a match in a video game with some dignity.”
THEM: “I ain’t gonna tell you how to play, but that’s cheap.”
At that point, said opponents – notice I do not use the word “enemy” – bailed out of the debate before we could launch our next salvo of detatched sarcasm in their general direction. We were deprived of the chance to observe the fact that promising not to editorialize our style of play and calling it cheap in the same breath is like saying that you will not punch someone right before you ball up your fingers into a fist and throw it at their jaw. The conversation was nothing new. After five years of playing with one another, we Gunslingers have heard it all before…
“The weapons you used require no skill.”
Unless of course they use them, in which case they are “Pro”.
“Clans are gay.”
Is this why the game comes equipped with a field in which one can enter their clan tag?
“You induced lag!”
These people can tell who the cheaters are in a game, because Internet connection speeds are never interrupted. Ever.
“Get a life.”
Ironic, considering that this command comes from people who are participating in the same exact activity.
“You cheated because you used teamwork.”
True story. Someone actually said that to us, once.
“Why are you still playing video games at your age?”
My favorite: A line of argumentation that completely disregards the fact that these games are Rated M For Mature.
There really hasn’t been a new post-game taunt that took us by suprise since one clever gamer tossed us a zinger in the twilight days of Halo 2. That was back in 2007 – ancient history in Internet Years. Since then, we Gunslingers have kept a stiff upper-lip in the face of a steady barrage of Sore Loser Logic.
The fact of the matter is that these forms of post-mortem whinning rarely have any impact on anyone, aside from making the person who issues them feel better about themselves for a brief flicker in time. The losing party that reads the winning party the riot act only succeeds in making themselves look even more foolish than they did when the laid down and died over and over again. It should be a fair assumption that gamers don’t choose tactics for playing competitive shooters in the hopes of pleasing their opponents. This would be futile, as no one really likes being shot and/or killed.
According to our world view, if the developers created those weapons or allowed for those tactics, they are fair game. Game tactics need not be a personal insult or cause for rage. I mean, if I really wanted you to feel bad about yourself, I wouldn’t use a grenade launcher. I would use a flame thrower. Can you dig it?
A pledge from the TTL Gunslingers to players of COD: Black Ops:
We will always play to win and have fun. It it has a trigger, we will give it a dance sooner or later. If we hear you stomping around with noisy clown feet and unsilenced weapons, we will set a trap for you just around your next corner. We will tell each other where we see you, likely resulting in the same outcome. We will not cry ourselves to sleep if you don’t like it. We will laugh amongst ourselves if you get angry about the way we play.
On the flipside, out of a misplaced sense of goodwill, we will never cheat. We will always play the game the way it was meant to be played. We will respect our opponents and admire their success. If you manage to beat us, we will tell you that you played a Good Game. And, finally, we will leave the front porch light on for new gamers that can enjoy this violent social activity with a sense of humor; and honor.
That is all.
As you were.