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There’s this infectious idea passing around that games aren’t supposed to involve emotions, particularly multiplayer games. This manifests itself in the terms and phrases “qq,” “it’s just a game,” and “you mad” with numerous variations. If you play multiplayer games at all, it’s certain that you’ve seen one or all of those spoken between players before.

Why are gamers working so hard to cultivate the idea that games are anything but the most fantastic art medium of our age?

Let’s take these apart one by one.

“QQ” is universally recognized as crying eyes. When someone says it, it translates into the idea that their target is crying, whining, or somehow acting illegitimately victimized. This term could be directed at someone pointing out an aspect of a game that they don’t enjoy, commenting on tactics perceived as immoral, “cheap,” or “easymode,” or qq could be used to try to just get someone to stop talking.

“It’s just a game.”

Just think on that phrase for a moment. To summarize, saying this phrase communicates that games aren’t significant. Here we run into multiple problems.

– The speaker is playing the very game he or she is referring to.
– Games are a massive competitive outlet and facet of culture.

If you invest time and effort in something, it’s significant! Entertainment isn’t a waste of time, and I’m being generous by allowing critics the leniency to say that games are just mindless entertainment. Many popular movies and a majority of popular music could easily be proven more mindless than the most mindless games simply based on how much brain activity each medium involves on the part of the participant. Therefore, the speaker is demonstrating hypocrisy by saying that their current activity (the game), and by extension, their time and effort spent on the game, is entirely pointless. This is hypocritical except for people that have launched the game for the first time and thus spent but a very small amount of time in it.

Games are a multi-billion dollar industry. Esports is on the rise with titles such as League of Legends and Starcraft II.

Let’s scale back the magnitude a bit.

The most simplistic multiplayer game, unless it is so cooperatively oriented that each individual players’ score is not kept track of, is competitive. It pits one person against another.

This is so simple, guys. If you don’t care enough to believe it’s not “just a game,” why are you trying to beat someone else? Games are war. They are about victory and defeat while learning and having fun at the same time – but nobody ever said that losing over and over and over is fun. Eventually, you get tired of it. You then make a choice: to continue playing with the more important goal of improving in order to ascend to a place where you -can- have fun, or you quit.

“You mad?” Games are emotionally investing. I have yet to see someone prove to me that they are neither emotionally involved in a game nor apathetic in nature. And, let’s be fair – you tend to react positively when you’re winning. People that point out someone else’s anger may disguise themselves as not caring about the game, not being emotionally invested in it, or, in extreme cases, donning the appearance of some pseudo-white knight attempting to reveal someone else’s emotional flaw, but hypocrisy is practiced here, as well. The most simple explanation for such behavior is that they want the satisfaction of inflicting negative emotions on someone else for the sake of feeling power, not unlike a schoolyard bully. It’s all very selfish and childish behavior. Common rebuttal: “If they’re willing to let me make them angry, then they have it coming to them.” Other people’s emotions are not up for your manipulation. Besides, and let me appeal to you in a way that involves your self interest: When you play a multiplayer game, you represent that game’s community. People don’t want to play games with a community that lashes out (I’m looking at you, Heroes of Newerth), and you don’t want to drive people away from the game that you’re playing, because you obviously enjoy it and the more people that are playing it, the more people you have the opportunity to defeat in battle. Isn’t that what the competitive spirit is all about in the first place?

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