Gaming is supposed to be relaxing, a way to release steam after a hard day’s work. You come home, kiss your spouse or your dog, have a nice relaxing shower followed by a sumptuous dinner, and finally, game time! You pick a nice role-playing game and you’re off on a quest, killing goblins and collecting coins and items until you come to the final boss which unfortunately proved too strong for you. No matter, you try again. Second time, no difference. Third time, same thing. Your blood is starting to boil. You made your character stronger with temporary boosts and have a go for the fourth time. This time you manage to hold your own and the boss is one strike away from dying. Just as you about to unleash the final blow, the power goes out. Next thing you know, your controller is smashed, your keyboard is broken in two and you find yourself shouting at everything and everyone around you. Does this happen to you often? Don’t worry, you are not alone.
Game-induced anger is nothing new and it can affect even the calmest of gamers. Casual gamers may scoff at this because come on, why waste your time getting angry over a game? Just get over it and move on. If only it was that simple. I have had my fair share of ridicule from friends and family over the years whenever I lose my temper over a game and believe me, it was not a nice feeling at all. It became so bad that at one point I was actually losing sleep because I was full of rage over a game and it was taking its toll on my health. It was not long before I realized that I have a serious problem and I have to get to the root cause before it escalates further. After doing my own personal research, I am sure fellow gamers will agree with me when I say that one of the main causes of this rage is when you tried (and failed) to complete a game task or quest repeatedly. Infamously difficult games such as Battletoads and Dark Souls force the gamer to apply fast reflexes and forward thinking just to pass a stage and that alone is enough to induce anger and rage especially if you failed to complete a stage no matter how many strategies you tried.
Playing a game is fun, when you have things going your way that is. But once you are stuck in a level after trying and failing multiple times, it no longer becomes fun. Instead, it becomes a grind, and you will start feeling helpless because you can’t think of anything to get out of that God-forsaken level. Continue on repetitive gaming stress
Sadly, this is not the only reason why people get upset over a game. Online trolls and bullies have made their way into the gamers’ conscience with the advent of online gaming. These people will go out of their way to make the lives of fellow online gamers miserable with their constant harassing without thinking of the consequences. This is especially prevalent in team-based online games where each member have to depend on one another in order to achieve an objective or goal. Since each member is a stranger to the other there is bound to be some misunderstanding and when the disagreement reaches fever pitch, the bullying starts. But if you think that the only ones to feel angry are the victim of online bullying, you are wrong. I have known people who used be online bullies and each one of them said that the reason why they harassed people online is because they will start feeling angry and upset when things don’t go their way and will take it all out on the so-called weakest link of the team, the victim. Bullies won’t think twice before harassing others because they do not know the person behind the game character and thus will not hold him or herself responsible if something happens as a result of this harassment.
Some of you might think that getting upset over small things like these is ridiculous and yes I admit it probably is but before going any further, ask yourself this, have you ever gotten yourself upset over small matters like forgetting your phone or missing the exit on the highway? Must be stressful, right? Well, the stress levels generated from game-induced rage is similar if not higher and it must not be underestimated. I have read reports of young kids committing suicide because they couldn’t handle the constant bullying and harassment from online gaming and it has become so serious that debates on whether or not games are safe for kids nowadays have been going on for years. It is easy to overlook this problem when it happens sporadically because the stress generated is not enough to cause any ill effects but once it starts happening to you on a frequent basis and you start to feel the strain, you know you are in trouble and you need to find a way to nip it in the bud before it becomes worse.
Here are some of the ways to reduce gamer rage:
Take Short Breaks
Once you start to feel the strain and frustration it is always a good idea to take short breaks to gather your thoughts and come up with strategies with a clear head. It is often not a good idea to continue your session in a state of anger because you will tend to make hasty decisions that will lead to mistakes and thus make you even more pissed. There is no time limit in a gaming session (unless of course you are in an Internet café) so why not take breaks between gaming and use these breaks to calm yourself before continuing. You will be able to make sound decisions and think more clearly once you calmed down. A 10-15 minute break every hour is recommended for you to have a healthy gaming session, physically and mentally.
Game Research and Walkthroughs
If you think that the game is getting tougher for you and that you are unable to pass certain levels or quests no matter how hard you tried, you should make use of the short breaks mentioned earlier and do some research on the game in order to learn more about it and find ways to beat it. There is no shame in doing so because in the end, you are gaming to have fun. If you start to get frustrated then what’s the point? Gaming forums and blogs are the best places to find people who have similar problems as well as those who have solutions. Walkthroughs are also helpful and you can find tons of them on YouTube.
Mute and Ignore
Some online games like DotA2 have the Mute function so gamers can use it to mute offending players. In online games, trolls and bullies are ever-present so if you feel offended by certain players, it is always a good idea to mute them in order to have a peaceful gaming session. Muted players will not have their chat messages displayed on your screen as well so if you cannot read or hear them, you will not be offended by them. Ignorance is bliss so if you are ignorant to the trolls, you can be ensured of a blissful session. If in the event that the game do not have a ‘Mute’ function, you can always report the offending players so that developers and mods can take disciplinary actions against them.
Reduce Game Difficulty
There is no shame also in reducing the difficulty level of the game if the going gets tough for you. Remember that you game to destress yourself and have fun so if reducing the difficulty allows you to pass a level then by all means go ahead. Many games nowadays allows the player to switch difficulty while in-game so that you do not have to restart the whole game just to reduce the difficulty level. I am also aware that some games award trophies if you complete them at the highest difficulty level so if you want those trophies, complete the game first in any level that you are comfortable with and then replay it with the highest difficulty to try and win the trophy.
Play Relaxing Games
Remember the short breaks I mentioned earlier? You can utilize them to play games that are less stressful to help you calm yourself. Games such as Cities: Skyline which was released in March last year not only helps you relax but as the same time gets your creative juices flowing by planning and building your city and to make it as beautiful as possible. I will be talking about this game in my next post. Besides Skyline, other games that you can play to de-stress yourself are the Euro Truck Simulator games, Kerbal Space Program and Besiege. If you can think of any other relaxing games please leave a comment below and I will update it here.
Play with Friends
When gamers start to play badly in an online games, they often become the target of constant harassment from online bullies and trolls. I mentioned in my previous post that bullies harass because they are playing with strangers and thus do not care about the victim’s feelings. So, one way to minimize this is to play with people that you know personally, your friends or family members. Your buddies will always have your back and they will not hesitate to lend you a helping hand when you need it most especially if you are struggling in games.
If you have any other suggestions on how to reduce game-induced rage, please leave a comment and I will attend to it as soon as possible. Thank you for your time and I wish you a happy and relaxed gaming life.