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The Trionicus

Annihilating common sense one blog at a time.

Author: Trionicus

Game Vs. Reality Part 1: The Badass Gamer

Posted by Trionicus Friday July 6 2012 at 12:27AM
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The Badass Gamer

 

 

I’ve wanted to talk about this for a long time, back in the day gaming was semi taboo so I just stfu. We’re now in 2012 and I feel more than confident that I could have widely discussed this in any venue 5 years ago.

 

Veteran gamers are badasses through years of training. There it is, pretty simple. Gamers who have played a certain amount of RPG’s, regardless of the game’s difficulty are being trained virtually to handle similar situations.

 

Pilots can now log certain simulated virtual flights as real flight hours, a point I think should be both very scary and enlightening when it comes to the psyche of RPG gamers because… RPG games are centered around virtual scenarios that involve solving or executing solutions involving extreme situations.

 

In most games a goal must be achieved, usually, enemies must be murdered in all types of fashion, traps must be sprung that cause many levels of carnage and, decisions must made, hard decisions that may require many tough sacrifices. Some of those sacrifices, though virtual, are still emotionally real. All the experiences you gain during gameplay are absolutely emotionally real, maybe not to the extent that they are identical to non-virtual emotion but in a lot of cases your subconscious may not know the difference.

 

A great example would be when you develop attachments to characters, it also happens in books and movies. Sometimes when the character dies, you feel the emotional pain of loss, which would be sadness, anger etc… The difference being that in an RPG game, the gamer sometimes is in control of the choices necessary that amount to that loss.

 

When I was a kid, I cried when I saw Simba’s father die, Mufasa.  If any of you remember the movie The Lion King, and if you were younger at the time you may know what I mean. While I didn’t break down in slobbering tears, I still had some liquidity going on lol. Later in life I’ve seen grown men break down and cry during movies like Million Dollar Baby, even Titanic. By this time I had already been a veteran gamer and though I’m enough of an emotional person, I didn’t shed a tear during Titanic and I was able to hold my shit together during Million Dollar Baby.

 

What I am not saying is that gamers will break down and cry when deciding whether to sacrifice Kaiden or Ashley. What I am saying is that when that choice has to be made in real life, A LOT of veteran gamers will be prepared to make that decision, and make it in a timely manner.

 

Gamers will notice their new skills in action while in a “stressful” situation at work, or during another activity, maybe even recreational. They will notice these new skills when people start to freak out at work, over what the gamer will consider a trivial matter, one in which he or she may have even had a prepared solution.  It’s not that other people are less intelligent or that you are a Dexter type. The truth is, you’ve been practicing these scenarios virtually for decades. And even if you suck at something, you WILL be good at it if you’ve been doing it for generations.

 

Gamers are trained to make more intelligent tactical decisions, we are trained to execute plans, we are trained to learn fast on the spot, improvisation skills, fine motor skills, heightened anticipation, we learn how to identify patterns quickly. By the time I’m finished listing skills that we are virtually perfecting we’ll be halfway to Jason Bourne. 

 

Obviously there is going to be some loss in the virtual to real translation, especially in the physical prowess department but emotionally, as game writing gets better, I expect to see almost lossless emotional conversion.

 

The MMO genre is a tricky one. You have far more human to human interaction than any other game type. Most people do not even interact with that many consciousnesses for any reason, maybe at a football stadium, but not in any meaningful way.

 

In the end, when you’re thinking, “I know better than my boss” or “I’m smarter than that guy” chances are, you REALLY do and you REALLY are.

 

 

I will continue this later, for now here is part 1 0f 3 of my latest Skyrim espide for those who are interested;

 Part 1

 

Silverbranch writes:

One aspect to consider isnt' just the noble virtues, which you subscribe to fortunately, but the baser side of human nature which some revel in, and explore to the fullest in online gaming as well.

Sat Jul 07 2012 6:02AM Report
Trionicus writes:

I'm not guided by a moral compass IRL and, online I often lean towards neutrality. I guess we will be exploring the "darker nature" of gamers in part 2.

 

Thanks for the idea and for commenting.

Sat Jul 07 2012 11:18AM Report
Silverbranch writes:

Something else to consider is the idea

" . . . Gamers are trained to make more intelligent tactical decisions, we are trained to execute plans, we are trained to learn fast on the spot, improvisation skills, fine motor skills, heightened anticipation, we learn how to identify patterns quickly."

. . . as being false.

Over the past five years I've seen a marked decrease in not only the ability of gamer's to do this, but even the willingness to consider it.

The stock strat is:  See a mob or mob(s), run at it face first and mash buttons frantically to crush it/them, then rush over to the next pack, rinse and repeat.

This monochrome approach to any challenge is endemic nowadays fueled by the desire to simply reduce everything to a farm-it routine, achieved by reading all the spoilers, mechanically identifying best gear, grinding that up, then reducing every challenge and run to a farm-it speed clear.

Little tactical thinking, evidenced by a forward gear direction only and if you wipe, it's "the build's fault, player(x)'s fault, etc.  No attempt to adapt/adjust with tactics and strat, but more often simply abandoning the challenge until better geared and/or good-friend Frank is on with his mambo character that can just speed clear for them.

Little situational awareness of team mates, evidenced by blind rushing forward in  instances to satisfy farm-mode speed clearing with no dialog about people maybe needing quest objectives in the instance.

No ability to think on the fly and adapt to a challenge based on party and/or skill makeup, evidenced by the group simply disintegrating on the first wipe because the face-first-faceroll-farm-it-speed clear approach didn't work the first time. 

Gaming, particularly MMO gamers (as opposed to true combat sims designed with actual response metrics involved) don't make people more badass or able to react to things irl better, because they can as easily promote the opposite, which in my experience is far more prevalent.

Gaming is simply another of many activities humans may participate in, and each individual will react / act according to their nature and talents (or lack of).  Meaning they will already have that tendency or not irrespective of gaming.

The truth is online gaming is based on fantasy and fiction and imagination.

This means the vast majority of gamers THINK they are badass, and better trained than everyone else.

Because the pallette of an MMO is designed to promote that fiction, and of course we all are legends in our own minds.

Tue Jul 10 2012 9:31PM Report
Trionicus writes:

Some scientific research supports my theory. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the studies but, at the very least, it does train the skills required for critial thinking. If you examine the study and reference my blog, I'm basically saying what some of the studies say. Paraphrasing: If the game you play trains a specific task, you'll become better at it.

 

http://lifehacker.com/5881205/in-defense-of-video-games-more-than-just-an-entertaining-time-sink

 

Fine motor skills have been proven to improve through most video gaming activities, especially PC gaming for obvious reasons.

 

While your observations may be absolutely correct, are they based on a majority cross section of all gamers globally: As I can't determine how many games you've played and with how many people you've observed this behaviour. Is it possible you could cite any scientific study that would support your theory?

 

If you also think about the nature of PVP in MMO's or even regular Multiplayer games, even street fighter, gamers get their egos checked on a regular basis. They know they're not the top of the pyramid resident badass because someone else just pwned them and won the match, team or duel.

I have seen gamers deny their losses due to a plethora of reasons besides their own failings, like you've said, but even if 50% of them verbally deny inferior skill, is that what they really think?

 

1 thing I can vouch for is the mental and visual acuity of SC2 grandmasters and above. I guess what also must be taken into account is that for anyone to become really good at anything, they must have a certain level of intelligence and dedication. Dumb people rarely become awesome at anything.

What do you think?

Tue Jul 10 2012 11:10PM Report
Silverbranch writes: It has been my experience that in the past five years I've seen a marked decrease in the ability if gamers to "think critically" while instead falling back on a single pattern of behavior to beat challenges. If that pattern fails it is far more common nowadays for a gamer to abandon the challenge, go grind up more gear to "power up" so the challenge can simply be steamrolled. That's the observed trend. It is my opinion gamers are far less "critical thinkers" than they are "frontloading spoiler farmers" for lack of a better way to put it. As to the idea of enhanced motor skills, etc., all I can say is: I knew a fellow once, a manager, who was really great at telling people what to do and incredibly enthusiastic when doing it. He was however a horrible boss and a terrible manager. Wed Jul 11 2012 5:57PM Report
Silverbranch writes: Apologies, I forgot a paragraph: I've no doubt there are exceptions. I'd be silly to say otherwise. In my personal experience however, the general rule is as I've described. Wed Jul 11 2012 5:59PM Report
Hluill writes:

Sorry, but I take issue with Gamer-equals-Badass vocabulary.  It's like the use of Hardcore to describe types of gamers.  My life experiences give much different images when I hear the term Badass or Hardcore.

Sat Jul 21 2012 4:40PM Report
Trionicus writes: I won't argue the definitions of the words but there is a difference between gamers that play for 10+ hours a day and ones who play less than 10 hours a week. Also, most hobbies don't provide the kind of experience gaming does, especially combat oriented games. Sat Jul 21 2012 7:17PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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