I love multiplayer games. Being able to compete with your friends in a 4 player game of Goldeneye 007 or Bomberman on the N64 is amazing fun. Online connectivity has opened the doors to the world, and we can now test or skills against challengers from around the world, or even form a team with real time communication across the globe.
But the online gaming experience brings a new frustration with it. The absentee gamer. Are you guilty of this online gaming sin?
Asleep at the Controller
You know the guy – he sits in game lobbies, but never seems to hit “start.” Their name and avatar show up in game, but no one is at the controls.
If they are on the other team, or you are playing a free for all, they make an easy target. But if the game depends on them to move forward, everyone suffers. I used to run into the problem frequently while playing First Person Shooters (FPS) on my PC.
I also find myself wondering why players in Street Fighter IV set up a lobby only to leave it unattended. And of course, I keep ending up matched to them since they are consider “available.”
What about in real life? Have you ever been speaking with another person, and it feels like they are “not there?” More than just mental “lag,” it is as if they physically there, but they have projected their brain into another body and out for lunch. This goes beyond allegamy, they might as well not even be there.
Maybe they keep checking their phone while you are talking to them, or maybe you keep looking over their shoulder while they are talking to you.
But I know I do the same thing too.
Sometimes someone is talking to me, but I am still thinking about work, my plans for the weekend, what I am going to make for dinner, or long list of games that I own but have no time to play (1st world problems, right?).
Sometimes, it’s pretty obvious when we are not present.
Sure, your body is there, but you mind is in some other place and you are distracted.
Pause. Focus. Unpause.
Like a lot of you, I’m a parent and I have a busy schedule. I work full time, I’m a husband, a father, I am a member of a professional organization, I take my son to karate lessons, I read books, I’m involved with my church, I write, play video games, and spend time with friends…and much more.
When we interact with friends, family, customers, speak on the phone, or participate in a meeting, it is vital that we are present.
This means 100% of your attention is in the right place. Often times, when we let our minds wander, we engage in wasteful or even dangerous thinking. We stir up anxiety about things we cannot change or control. In a FPS, that’s a good way to get fragged. Don’t be guilty of this online gaming sin.
You’ve Unlocked a New Achievement: Showing Up
Focus has some other great benefits as well. Even if I am feeling in a down mood, I have found that if I put all my focus and energy into what is right in front of me, that if I try to do my very best, I see great results and I feel good too. In fact, this is one of the very best ways to get your mood back on track.
Take some time today to slow down, enjoy the moment, and be present. Time is fleeting, enjoy each moment for what it is. If you put this idea into practice, every relationship you have will be better for it.
And I suspect you will, too.
What online gaming sin bothers you most?