Totally Fair Axe Spins

Fair and balanced.

Mattchew’s Dota Musings: Moaning on Morality

Anti-Fun

Do you remember the good ol’ days in school, when you were on your soccer/basketball/football/chess team? Don’t you remember when a teammate messed up a play, how you threatened to kill him and his entire family?

What? NO?!

Yet this seems to be the norm in treating fellow players in Dota.

Why do we do this?

And I don’t use “we” lightly. I’m just as guilty as the next person in dishing out the hate.

To better answer this, I think it’s helpful to first analyze a normal, in-person competitive team mentality. When you were on that club in school, likely many of the members were your friends, or you had some semblance of a relationship. Almost everyone had a sense of team mentality- if enough people were getting too down on each other, the entire team would suffer, which also harms the individual. Performance goes down, the chances of winning goes down, and thus the chances of you attaining those warm and fuzzy feelings when you beat a team in a game requiring skill.

I would say that is probably the biggest driving factor of why we treated in-person teammates well. We knew, consciously or not, that if we were too hard on too many teammates, we would suffer. Not only in the game, but out of the game. There was still a social life to be had, and not too many people would want to hang out with someone that was constantly berating them.

So passion and social acceptance are likely the biggest factors of what kept us (mostly) civil during and out of team games. And not wanting to get punched in the face.

But then, what happens when there is an environment that is almost entirely divorced from those two factors? CHAOS AND DESTRUCTION. You can now do the following!:

1) Punch the person in the “face” by trolling or feeding.

2) Tell your teammate how many times you had sex with his/her sister.

3) Go on a mentally raping rampage about how you feel about a teammate’s abilities (I mean, let’s be honest, that Sniper WAS a n00b).

All because there’s no relationship fallout!

And if we’re completely honest, some of us find that fantastically liberating.

Dota is, for a lot of people, a kind of psychological escape from real world relationships. This is not implying  that these people are necessarily lonely in the physical world or have no friends on Dota. It’s just that when you speak to a Dota stranger in a way that you would never speak to a stranger on the street, you’re likely doing it because part of you is always tired of keeping up that facade. Dota provides release (…not that kind of release, Michael Scott).

Some might say this is a good thing. Competitive online games that allow people to act in this way provides a kind of psychological purge. Better that people take their aggression out in a fantasy world than the real one, where damage can be done. In fact, there’s reason to believe video games actually have lowered crime rates (link), and that may be the reason why crime rates have been fairly low during this recession.

That very well may be the case. And, when it comes to violence, I’m glad if that’s reality.

However, I think that treatment of people is in a different category from violence when it comes to this theoretical purging. We’re always engaging with people relationally; we’re rarely engaging in violence. I believe we’re always on the bleeding edge of telling people what we really think in the bluntest terms; and, as a society, we’ve created manners to dilute that speech so there isn’t as many misunderstandings.

When we start to disregard those manners, they atrophy. It’s easier to spill over to that side that doesn’t care how we say things.

And I think that’s really, really bad.

We treat, for the most part, the random person on the street well because we would want to be treated well. If everyone just acted on impulse and passion, we know that would be the crappiest society to live in. And it takes constant work to maintain those “manner muscles”.

Not only for your own humanity, but for the Dota community, treat random pubs as if you were going to see them the next day. Remember that there is fallout when you treat random people harshly, even if it’s not apparent, and even when they deserve it. We don’t want Dota to be the poopiest gaming society to play in, because it’s one of the best games to play.

When all else fails, hit the mute button.

LIG: Ridal vs thebrotoss (TvT)

It’s been a long time coming. I’m not sure what happened. Well, I kind of know why there was a delay: Ridal actually broke his finger. So this is the make-up games between Ridal and thebrotoss. Will we see some hardcore gaming rage? Find out!

LIG Starcraft 2

Continue reading

Starcraft 2 – LIG ducK [Z] vs thebrotoss [T]

Duck has been dominating the League of Inadequate Gamers for some time now. And when I say dominating, I mean he hasn’t been number 1 since the LIG started. Will thebrotoss be able to take down the Swarm? Find out as they battle it out (videos after the bump)

Continue reading

Chaotic Thoughts: The Birth of a Gamer

Today, I’m happy to announce a true miracle of life: the birth of a gamer. No, I’m not a dad (thank God), but in a way, I did help create a new life in the gaming community. This new gamer to join our community of Cake jokes, interactive storytelling, and fanboy-fanaticism is my girlfriend.

This is a feat that most gamers in a relationship can only dream of. Videogames are the point of contention in most relationships—a veritable TV hog, monopolizing the screen while favorite shows are missed. For the longest time, I thought she would never accept videogames outside of Flash games or PopCap creations for the iPhone.

But I realize now that I had approached gaming for her in a completely wrong way. I was asking her to jump into games that I liked rather than pick games we could both enjoy. The first thing we ever played together was Halo ODST’s Firefight mode. I thought this would’ve been perfect; after all, we would be on a team. What better metaphor could there be for a boyfriend/girlfriend gaming team?

Halo firefight

Not exactly a casual experience

Well, that experience ended badly. She was frustrated and angered. She fought with the controls. On top of everything, her pride was injured from the fact that the hallmark Halo announcer proclaimed my Killtrocities, while being frustratingly quiet on her side. This was such a setback that it would be a year before she played a console videogame again.

While she certainly didn’t suck playing Halo, I realize that asking her to play a game like Halo would be like asking a toddler to run before it could crawl. Gamers my age grew up as videogames did: we saw the Nintendo classic controller, the first ever dual-analog stick controller, and now motion controllers. I remember playing Ape Escape, the first game to really use the dual-analog sticks, and having the exact same problems as my girlfriend did: while competent with the controls, I lacked the fluidity required to perform well. It would take years of practice before I could shoot 10 Grunts in the head while on the move.

Ape Escape

DAMN DIRTY APE!

I think many people in my age demographic—the (once?) primary demographic for videogame developers—forget what it was like to start playing games. We expect others to play as well as we do now; we laugh at our parents and loved ones as they fumble with controls. Instead, we should embrace their first venture into gaming. Even if they never play a game again, their experience should involve fun and not frustration.

That’s one of the reasons why I think the Playstation Move and Microsoft Kinect (and to some extent the Wii) are great for the industry. Hardcore gamers can complain about the crappy games, but in the end, what these platforms are really doing is opening the door to the total gaming experience—what I define as a blend of hardcore and casual games. I think the videogame industry needs to open up. Not every game has to be about shooting or killing an enemy. Games like Heavy Rain, LittleBigPlanet, and basically every Mario game are popular because they offer experiences almost everyone can get into, whereas Halo, Call of Duty, and Gears of War simply cater to a small group.

Mario Galaxy 2

So this last time I introduced gaming to her, I showed her LittleBigPlanet. She loved the art direction and gameplay mechanics. From there, she started playing Super Mario Galaxy 2. I hopped in as the second player, but soon she was asking me to let her go it alone. I feel confident now she can play any game she wanted on any system.

When we were in GameStop the other day, she said something I never thought I’d hear. She was looking around the store and spotted a poster for Fable 3. Then she began to tell me why she wanted to play it. At the same time I thought about all the grief hardcore gamers give the Fable series, how we complain about Peter Molyneux’s typically exaggerated promises, and yet somehow I didn’t care. The only thing I thought of was experiencing a videogame with someone special, not some anonymous jackass on Xbox Live but a loved one.

Peter Molyneux

Thanks Sir Pete for everything (even if you never live up to your promises)

Written by Neutrally Chaotic

Bookmark          and Share

Chaotic Thoughts: The FUNdamentals of Video Games

Pretend someone started a new sport. To score points you have to bang your head against a wall. Sure, they may give you a helmet to dull the pain, but at the end of the day you are still beating your head against a wall. It’s not fun, but all your friends have jumped on board, so you’re game, but you can’t figure it out, and at the end you’re the idiot with a throbbing head.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is an allegory for playing video games that take themselves too seriously.

When was the last time you had fun in a video game? Chances are it wasn’t when you were playing Halo 3 or Modern Warfare 2. If it is, think really hard—how many times did you yell at the TV? Rage quit? Swore at someone? If your answer is more than once to any of these questions, why did you just lie to me? You clearly didn’t have fun; you had almost-fun.

Competitive video gaming has gotten way out of hand. Sign into a game of Modern Warfare 2, and you’re going to die from a grenade launcher or stabbed in the back by a lightweight knifer. You might not get mad the first time, but you’re going be frustrated by the third or fourth time. If this happens to you, stop and quit as soon as you can. You’re not having fun. You’ve been conditioned to think this is fun.

Some people have a naturally higher competitive edge than others. This article isn’t for you, then. Ignore this and go back to your almost-fun video games. But it’s important to note that I love competing against my friends, but I don’t like being frustrated. If I lose, I want it to be because I did something stupid, not because the game is stupid.

That might be a little harsh. But let’s face facts, folks. Getting your ear drums broken from the screams of a ten year old is not fun. Getting stabbed in the back or being shot by someone who knows how to exploit a map glitch also isn’t fun. Getting called a “bitch” because you had a bad game isn’t fun.

Read on after the break.

Continue reading

5 Tips For Being a Functional Gaming Addict

As it so happens, my Xbox 360 is still dead. The white unicorn is on its way to a secret location where the priests at Microsoft will try and cast a resurrection spell upon it. So while the little crack demon inside of me is suffering from withdrawal, I will be taking a different path, once again.

This week I will be talking about the serious matter of addiction and how to avoid letting it ruin your life. As gamers, we risk the chance of our inner crack demon taking control every time we pick up a controller. Until science invents a way to play video games remotely, while doing other things, using special signals that beam from your brainium to the virtual world, we must find a way for our gaming habits to coexist with the other elements in our lives.

Tip #1: Eat healthily. Do you ever find yourself sitting in the same spot, playing video games, and you are out of breath? Do you get the runs on a daily basis? Well I have the solution for you! Its called eating food that has this magical thing called “nutrients” in it. Nutrients are like mana, only instead of being fuel for casting spells, they are fuel for not dying. Put down the Doritos and pick up an apple! It also would be helpful if your fat ass got up and exercised! Which brings me to my next point.

Tip #2: Moving. If you plan to sit on your ass for extended periods of time, you should probably take a few 10 minute breaks and move around. I recommend taking a few laps around your bedroom aka pit of shame (no, the walk of shame is something entirely different. You will most likely encounter it every time you have sex). I especially recommend making a weekly thing out of moving. That is, if you want to avoid gaining a billion pounds and looking like Kirstie Alley aka Shamoo (remember when she was hot? Kirstie Alley, not shamoo). Moving is also a great way to avoid blood clots. I’m no doctor, but I am fairly certain that if your body stays at rest, then your blood doesn’t pump very hard, ergo you make it really easy for clots to form and kill you in your sleep. Just kidding! You will probably be awake.

It's Science!

Tip #3: Girlfriend over gaming. Now, I know many of you do not have girlfriends and that is okay. I do not either, but you should learn this now before it is too late. Those hormone riddled drama queens that we call “girls” tend to not like when you ditch them to play with your “friends” on Live…or your friends either. If you are adding furniture and the choice is between a loveseat and an Xbox racing seat, for the love of God choose the loveseat! As Chris Hardwick says in his stand-up, “you will never be inside a woman who sees that in your living room.” He’s right! Put down the damn Modern Warfare and cuddle with your woman! Take her to a fancy restaurant and then tell her to thank Not Judas and be sure to give her my phone number if she is attractive.

Tip #4: Prioritize: Does this sound familiar? “Sorry, Professor! I stayed up all night fighting space pirates and then I spent all morning thinking of excuses that would make me sound like less of an idiot!” to which the professor responds, “Epic Fail.” Don’t let it happen to you! If you are staying up late at night and you think “that essay is due tomorrow, but it is in no way as important as this game of MAG” then SLAP YOURSELF IN THE FACE! That is a surefire way to end up working in Mexico for a guy named Pablo, who sells fireworks and sodomize children. Just do what you need to do. The games aren’t going anywhere and neither are your deadlines. Gaming will give you fun tonight, but the panic attack you have tomorrow will be the exact opposite of fun. It will feel like another metaphor involving Pablo, the sodomizing fireworks’ salesman.

Tip #5: Stop drunk dialing your hot friends. I know this has nothing to do with your gaming addiction, but it still needs to be said. A drunk dial can only mean one thing– pathetic and wanting to hook up. Now I know to a guy this sounds like a good thing. If a girl drunk dialed you and wanted to hook up, that would be awesome, right? WRONG! Because if she is hot, then she will be calling her ex-boyfriends from the football team in high school. So stop it you creepy drunks!

That is all the knowledge I have to impart this week. Every one of those tips I have personally faced and had struggles with. If I can do it, so can you…maybe!

Written by Not Judas

Bookmark and Share