I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words casual paired up with the word dirty. As if playing a game casually is a bad thing…
What’s going on here?
I think the issue lies in the very definition of casual gaming itself. It would seem that it depends on who you are.
To some a casual gamer is someone who only plays mobile games…like Angry Birds…or The Sims, also known as “time wasters” as I like to call them…
To others, this means someone who plays games and doesn’t ‘try hard’. My best example of this, is when I myself play Call Of Duty multiplayer. I’ll play the objective, and do everything I can to help my team win..however I’m not putting 100% of my effort into the game as if it were a paid tournament match…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make it sound like I’m some amazing COD player, quite the opposite in fact. My skills are pretty mediocre, I’m OK with that though…that’s why I’m playing on a public server, and not practicing with my clan for the next ever-so-important match against the clan from down the street…
Whatever way you slice it…is playing a game…a game in a casual fashion, simply for enjoyment, and for some relaxation a bad thing? I think not.
If you want to play competitively; and better yet are really amazing at it, then good on ya! I actually really enjoy watching competitive matches, just not competing in them.
My best example would probably be a game that is infamous for it’s ability to easily ruin friendships (or at least put them on hiatus)
I’m talking about Super Smash Bros.
Let me start off by saying that the Smash Bros. series is amazing, and I absolutely love it! From the original N64 title to Brawl (which is as far as I got, because I stopped buying consoles after the Wii…more on that later…). I also want to say that I’m really half-kidding about the ruining friendships part…this game has caused some tension though, and I know some of you out there know what I mean.
I can always tell when someone is just a little too into the game, when they start talking garbage about my character choice…Link…I love Legend of Zelda, and it’s green clad hero Link. He’s been my go to character from the very beginning, and to be honest I’m not terrible with him. I can surprise some people, mainly because they underestimate his potential.
Next come the insults and further garbage talk during the match. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always down for a little playful banter during a heated 4 player free for all timed match on battlefield with no items…as long as it’s just that…playful banter. I have however seen many a Smash player get personal with it though…to the point to where it’s simply not fun anymore, and I’d rather just throw the match and leave their ego intact, than hear any more excuses as to why they get knocked out (often blaming the controller) or accusation of being “cheap” or cheating.
I play games to have fun, and if someone is being overly competitive, or even aggressive that’s not my particular brand of fun.
Play the game to win, of course…but don’t be nasty about it…an overly competitive attitude can easily suck the fun out of anything…
The last time I visited hometown in California, I stopped by to visit a good friend of mine. It just so happened she had acquired a Nintendo 64 since I had last seen her, with a copy of Super Smash Bros! She asked if I was down to play, and I said of course!!! I had also met her roommate who also wanted to join in.
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit wary, not because her…we’re way cool! It was the roommate I had never met before that night. What kind of a player was he? Is he a bad loser? Or worse, a bad winner? Is this going to end badly!? I was stressing out a little bit…over a video game!!
The match ensued, and it was actually really fun! Until the point where the game decided to freeze! By then it was down to me and the roommate, we were both on our last life stock, and nearing the 100% range. When the game froze, we both let out an “aaaaaaaawwwww…” In unison. I turned to him and said “That was a really good match we had going though!” To which he cheerfully replied with “I know right!?”
This is what gaming is all about to me! It was probably my single greatest Smash Bros. experience I had in a long long time.
The point I’m trying to make is this…casual is not a dirty word, and there is such thing as playing a game casually while still being able to engage in friendly competition. Also casual gamer does not mean iPad gamer…
You can still be great at a game, and be laid back about it. When I have enough practice under my belt with any game, I eventually can get to a point where I can play without having to try insanely hard…again not bragging…this is simply being competent.
This doesn’t just apply to video games…pretty much anything in life can be ruined by an overly competitive spirit, especially things that aren’t even a competition in the first place!
My advice to all the competitive spirits out there who can get a little too into it…take a breath, and remember…It’s just a game