Discussing: Understanding Gamer Rage


I was playing Skate yesterday on the Xbox 360 and I reached a point where I got really frustrated and angry. I started to yell at the screen and toss my controller. I say things like “Do what I tell you to do” and “Why aren’t you listening to me” and I start cursing. Usually by the end of it, I wonder why I’m even bothering in playing the game – for instance, I played Skate for 3 hours – and I typically am very tense and my body is tight. I usually come to the conclusion that I’m not going to let the game beat me and I’m just not as good at the game than I’d like to think I am. I also think that the game is worth playing because if I didn’t like it or didn’t care, then I wouldn’t let it get to me.

However, I’ve notice that this has started happening a bit more often than usual. It’s got me thinking when is too much and how to remain calm. It also has me wondering whether or not I should continue to play games that get me angry, what the breaking point should be, and how to suppress the desire to continue the experience in lieu of another. From a personal perspective, I’m a pretty calm guy and I consider myself to be a realist, though I try to lean towards a positive outlook. However, I have been known to have a temper though it takes a lot to actually get me angry. A negative feeling I do often get is annoyance. I don’t suffer fools well and while I’m patient when explaining things, I get annoyed by foolishness or misunderstanding of simple things.

So what does this have to do with Skate? Well, it’s simply the fact that it’s counterintuitive to how I normally am. Skate has a fairly complex control scheme that’s not easily understandable though it is intuitive. Add on that the controls are not the most responsive and it can be easily frustrating. Therefore, I’m not really getting annoyed at the game. I’m sure this is obvious but I am, in fact, getting angry that I’m unable to complete the objective in the game. What’s more is when I do complete it, I typically don’t feel accomplished. Instead, I’m just glad it’s over so I can move on to the next thing.

To use another example, the other night I beat Super Mario World because it’s one of my favorite games and I felt like it. However, I got stuck on trying to get the secret exit in the final Ghost House in the game near Bowser’s Castle. You need to be small Mario and use these moving blocks to get you near the ceiling of one particular room and fit through this small hole. I started yelling again about how the blocks wouldn’t move in the way I wanted them too but when I finally did it (by spin jumping off one of the nearby Boos), it felt really good and I felt accomplished.

So what’s the difference? Well, like I mentioned, Skate’s controls aren’t very responsive and the game does have a few glitches in it where Super Mario World has very responsive controls and few glitches. So the question could be “Shouldn’t I stop playing Skate if the partial reason for my frustration with that game being the game itself?” However, I really like Sonic Adventure and that’s a game with less than perfect controls and a lot of glitches that rarely frustrates me. Perhaps it depends on the type of glitches in the game and the level of unresponsiveness in the controls.

Maybe I should look at this another way and focus on finding a way to calm myself and get less frustrated with games. Maybe I should pause the game and figure out what it is I need to do and how I’m going to do it. This will give me time to calm down as well as formulate a plan for my next attempt. Aside from maybe just working on when to turn off the game for awhile, that’s the only idea I have in terms of being less frustrated with games.

Now I want to hear from you. What do you think? You just read essentially my mind trying to figure this out and I would love to get some input from anyone reading this. How do you deal with frustrating games? Do you take a break? Do you quit the game altogether? Why do you get frustrated with games? What type of games frustrate you? Should I just stop playing Skate? Does it suck? Let me know in the comments below and share this post so others can comment on the matter. Thanks a lot for reading and peace and love, gamers and players!


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