I’d not been seen in the FPS online realm for a long while or, indeed, with any online game at all. As the single player selection on the screen would be bright and shiny due to much use and careful maintenance, the multiplayer would remain dark and dingy, only brightening up momentarily as I went to “Options” and back again. But, lately, there has been a change in the wind. I reinstalled Battlefield 2 and began driving at insane speeds amidst the sounds of bullets, bombs, and ballistic artillery hurtling through the air toward one side or the other. As I was reminded of the good things about online gaming, the dynamic nature of it, the excitement that comes from being set loose in a computer generated world to battle with other players in real time, I was also reminded of the darker side of it as well.
This ugly beast raised its head during my two hour bout in Halo 2 that occurred last week. The game, for me and my friend did not go well; as we got mashed into a paste faster then you could say pizza. But we got up again, and kept fighting, but the game inevitably ended with our defeat. The invisible major-domo of Halo 2 online guided us back to the lobby where we would, no doubt, plant our armored feet on comfortable ottomans while agreeing with each other that what had occurred was a “gg”
Sadly, this did not happen.
What followed next was possibly the most surreal and laughable thing I’d ever seen.
Upon entering the Team Score screen, our opponents began to pepper us with a myriad number of insults, well laced with sexual related comments and other comments that shucked their garment of restraint and stood there without fear of redress, and spiced with suggestions to “shut up.” This less then wholesome dish was hurled at us for several minutes during which, I was tempted to laugh at the utter absurdity of their repertoire. If you guys do read this, I suggest that not only does your mouth need to be cleaned out, but possibly the interior of your cranium as well. The rabbit that works the controls must be suffocating due to the small space.
I’m not here to suggest banning trash talking, gods no. I myself have stated things like “Yeah, how was that?” and “You should be more careful” during online games, when I’ve caught someone unaware and bashed my rifle butt against his head or sniped someone who popped up at the wrong moment. For trash talk is the grease that keeps the game going, spices it up, and as long as it’s kept within the realm of friendly competition it does no harm to all. But, when the spigot is turned fully open and the grease pours out in a flood, we all get drowned in it and those that survive leave feeling extremely dirty.
So, when you feel the need to bluntly question someone’s sexuality after a game that you’ve won, don’t. Being a poor loser is a bad thing, to be sure, but being a winner with no tact and no style is a good deal worse.