How to Be a Proper Video Gamer

Video games are just games ... but man oh man are they also breeding grounds for highly improper behavior.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #348

The world of first person video games (the kind where people shoot, hunt, and/or kill one another in battle) is a multibillion dollar industry that feeds off its users’ ability to challenge one another for ultimate domination online. In fact, there are worldwide tournaments, one-on-one matches, and conventions celebrating the “sport” of gaming to further up the hype factor. However, it seems that these online games are a breeding ground for not only heavy competition, but also incredibly rude behavior.

Although I’m not a gamer, I enlisted the help of some friends who are to let me watch and listen to their gaming experiences. Friends, I was blown away with the improper activity that took place. I mean, isn’t this supposed to be fun? Could have fooled me! So, let’s press START and check out my top three tips for how to be a proper gamer.

Tip #1: It’s Not Real

As a former professional wrestler, I could very well be a foremost expert on comprehending the difference between reality and fantasy. I mean, the whole point of professional wrestling is to make believe that what you’re doing inside the ring is not make believe. However hard we fought in the ring, once one got into the locker room, he dropped the whole gimmick of “Hailing from Parts Unknown…” and go from “The Masked Bandit” to his real name, Steve. See, this requires properly understanding the difference between something that is pretend and real life. It’s okay to get really into what you’re doing—that’s why you play the game—but it’s not real life! And to think anything other than that is a highly improper. However, in these particular video games where people are on teams against one another, you would have never known this wasn’t an actual fight to the death.

Now, I’m all about getting into the game but man oh man was this intense. People yelled at each other, and they shouted random military terms as if real lives were on the line. Some of the terms I don’t even think are real and if they were, you had to be a Navy SEAL to understand them. You could tell there some “Alpha Players”—guys who literally play 24/7 (and probably still live in their parents' basements in their 30s) and insist on taking the lead as if the entire “digital platoon” is under their command.  They were the worst. They’d rudely boss people around or bark orders like a drill sergeant. It made for a disaster game.

Look, folks, this is pretend to the greatest degree. Sure there are such things as “professional gamers” but even that is not make you a real soldier. Take a chill pill, guys… it really is just a game.

Tip #2: Holy Language, Batman!

As I said in Tip #1, these first person shooter games get super intense. I mean, they border insanity—and that’s being polite. But during my time shadowing these games, you heard everything from threats of physical violence, cursing, racial and religious slurs, taunts of harm to other players’ family members, and so on. During this symphony of gunfire and curse words, I don’t think one minute went by without someone dropping a four-letter word. Also, the players who displayed this bizarre and unmannerly behavior weren’t just teens and adults. No, no, no, some of the most foul players were little kids whose voices haven’t quite changed yet. Great game to play for kids, right? In most games players competed against and with complete strangers, so maybe that’s why people think it’s okay? Maybe? Well, it’s not.

First, let me just say, I’m hardly a square. Sure, I live the life of a proper gentleman and preach the gospel of treating people with respect, but I’m human, and I curse. Not all the time, not around my kids, and not in public, but it happens. I also play sports, and always try to win, however, I do so with class. Competing is simple; play with class, win with grace, and never belittle someone with such penetrating foul language like these players do. It doesn’t take a manners expert to point this out. However, I think that some people (aside from taking the game way too serious) believe that because they are alone in their home and will never see them face to face that they have a “pass” on being this verbally abusive. Folks, we need to tone down the language. Get heated if you must and still try to win, but you never know who is on the other end, and or in the background. As well, no one thinks your tough because you bark expletives at an eleven year old… playing a video game!

Tip #3: Play the Game Correctly

Ironically during these games (and let me reiterate, it’s just a game) one thing that happened often was watching certain players go rogue and mess the game up for everyone. Not like, “I’m taking my ball and going home,” but more like, “I’m taking the ball and kicking it into the woods so no one can play anymore.” They would kill their own players, or block a pivotal event from occurring.  I asked my friends about this and the only thing they could come up with was, “They’re just being a jerk… doing it for laughs, I guess?” Apparently this happens a lot. However, no one seems to be laughing. Even though these games are a hobby, they’re meant to be enjoyed and played by the rules. Rules keep the competition moving and make players try their best. Breaking them simply crushes the entire spirit of the game.

I know they say, “rules are meant to be broken,” and I understand this saying for a philosophy towards pushing yourself to truly live a precious life. However, if you view this saying in a personal way of living, that’s fine. Yet a proper individual plays by the rules in a social competition. No cheap shots in a game of flag football, no hovering over the base when playing second base, traveling during a game of basketball, or running around shooting your teammates in a video game. These are not ways of being “rebellious,” it’s just an example of being a complete schmuck.  Video games are only a game, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. So if you’re in it for jokes, try participating in a game that only requires one player.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

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About the Author

Richie Frieman

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