Online games: A toxic toll on my soul

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Online games, from my own experience, are among the most rewarding types of games to play. Being able to immerse yourself in a fictional world full of real players is a truly awesome experience, especially if you have friends to play with. However, there is a dark side to the fun that comes with online games.

Online games encourage grinding (playing for extensive or excessive amounts of time in order to gain a new level and/or item), and also encourage chat among players. Which, like so many other facets of the internet, has turned into a toxic, hostile environment. This toxicity has actually led a number of people in many countries to their deaths.

My experience with online games has honestly been quite mild in comparison to other hardcore gamers. In fact, I try to limit the amount of times I play any online game, because these types of games can trigger some weird anger within me. Generally, it comes from being killed by someone else in that game (or I if I have a bad team), and in super-competitive, team-based games, (League of Legends and Dota, to name a few) that anger reminds me a lot of angry sports fans. “We lost the game and it’s all your fault,” to put it mildly.

I find myself slamming my desk really hard out of anger whenever I have a really bad game. I’m not even remotely that angry in general, but these kinds of games give me a lot to be angry about, even if it isn’t real life. Why does that make sense?

That doesn’t even include the amount of anger I’ve encountered from other people in online game chats, which has included many insults, some of which were highly racist and sexist. They didn’t directly offend me, but it mystifies me just how casually such hate was thrown about, in a naval arcade game I was playing, no less! That is but a taste of how some online games can be.

In general, if you want to be a happier person, don’t play online games. It doesn’t do anything positive for me and likely won’t do anything positive for you. There is rarely a time where I feel like I can shut down my computer after a long online gaming session, sit back, and say “Ah, that was nice.”

Usually, I turn off my computer, curse up a storm, chug a glass of water, and try to go to bed. Except I can’t because I’m still mad about whatever happened.

When I play with friends, however, it is much more relaxed because I’m not playing against or with a bunch of nameless people. I’m playing with people who won’t cuss me out with offensive slurs over something minor.

Do yourself a favor: play online games with your friends, or don’t play them at all. Throw a Frisbee around, anything else is better.

Reed McCoy can be reached at [email protected] or @ReedMcCoy6 on Twitter.