Gamer Minds

There are certain truisms about gamers. Topics that I can only imagine psychology students look at with glee as fodder for their term papers. It goes beyond MMO gamers and is found in all aspects of online gaming. The phenomenon is so wide spread I beat myself for not getting a psychology degree myself to expound upon its deeper meaning.

Lucky for me I have a blog instead 😉 To start with however, we need a definition for the behavior before I expound upon how it crops up in games.

Verbal abuse: (as defined on wikipedia)

is a form of abusive behavior involving the use of language. It is a form of profanity in that it can occur with or without the use of expletives. Whilst oral communication is the most common form of verbal abuse, it includes abusive words in written form.

Also known as reviling- to subject to abusive language-Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

*nods* I know sounds awful doesn’t it? But it is a common event for participants to be subjected to long bouts of abuse either with in game chat rooms or voice chat. Whilst not a FPS gamer myself I sit next to one in the cozy comfort of my home and get to listen to the tripe that is spewed over the voice chat at everyone in the channel. (the hub has a policy of just leaving servers that do little more than harass anyone coming to their server and ranting.) It is very common for me to be able to him log into a new server and hear just the amount of BS and name calling on a server for say Team Fortress 2. It’s the one where he picked a class spawned and immediately people were cussing at him about how that class sucked blah blah blah…*quit* Oh wait the yelling stopped. Why? He had the sense to get the hell out of that crap asap!

Recently a friend let me know she had left a successful raiding guild because the raid/guild leader repeatedly came over their vent server; screaming and yelling expletives at all the raiders. A few raids with this behavior and she was just ready to be done. However she watched as other friends stayed, allowing themselves to be treated so. Which leads me to believe people are so worried about losing their spot in a raid group they will allow themselves subjected to such retched behavior out of fear of not getting in somewhere else. (btw my friend? Did get into a less psychotic guild and is doing well with her gear. J )

At what point do we as gamers sit back and really think about how we act. Is it simply the anonymity of the Internet that allows us to so easily cast of standards of good behavior? If so it speaks volumes about the kind of people that behave this way, but perhaps even more about the gamers who allow themselves to be treated this way. The same anonymity that allows some people to act in such a vile manner also protects those subjected to it. How hard is it to do as the hub does and switch to a different server or as my friend did to switch to a different less caustic raiding guild?

Ultimately we are responsible for the manner in which we are treated. We can be angry at the way others speak to us or treat us, but unless we do something to stop it we have given them permission to do so. Suffering in silence, hoping things will change, does nothing but allow these people more opportunity to spew venom at you.

(Friend’s name not used because I didn’t see her in time to ask permission-freaking time zones keep us apart for weeks a time)

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Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. “At what point do we as gamers sit back and really think about how we act. Is it simply the anonymity of the Internet that allows us to so easily cast of standards of good behavior?”

    This is, indeed, the crux of the problem. There are two approaches to this, that I know of:

    1: Anonymity provides a secure blanket under which it is possible to “experiment” behaviors we would never have otherwise.

    2: Anonymity acts as a release valve. It that case, the individual cannot explain why they behave so outrageously (or even be conscious of it).

    So, once side says that we enjoy being proverbial pains when we know we can get away with it while the other, more worryingly, says that we’re a bunch of neurotic accidents waiting to happen.

    I think there is a field open for us, gamers and for psychology researcher to explore sides of the human minds that were unheard of only 15 years ago. Let’s hope we don’t waste that chance!

    Nice post!
    Have a great day.


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