Since a few days, I’ve been back into the free-to-play, MMOFPS called Planetside 2. If you’re even remotely interested in shooters with a mild RPG aspect, and you don’t mind being just one person amidst hundreds during epic battles, you should check it out. However, plugging this game to you is not the reason I’m writing my first post on this brand-new website. No, ladies and gentlemen, Planetside 2 was merely the source of inspiration for today’s topic: aggression. More specifically: video game aggression.
If you call yourself a serious gamer, you will have experienced it. You will be familiar with the feeling of rage, building up inside of you and coming to its culmination in a burst of spontaneous violence. Some people yell at their screen, while others grab their controller and throw it out of the window, knocking the neighbour’s cat unconscious in the process. I belong to the first category, and my forays into Planetside 2 have proven that again. If you’re playing a shooter with me, and you’re either within earshot or on a voice communication server with me, you will learn a few exotic new curses and “bad words”. My specialty is international cursing, and by now, I’m able to use filthy vocabulary in English, German, Dutch, Danish, Spanish and Latin (just a little). I will damn you and your so-called “skill” as long as it pleases me, and until my well of anger has run dry.
Of course, we all know that cursing isn’t nice, and feelings of aggression aren’t the best feelings a person can have. However, I am totally convinced that a good dose of video game aggression is actually the best medicine against more dangerous forms of anger. I’d rather shout at pixels than at my girlfriend, and from my own experience I can tell that a bit of digitally vented frustration can help me after a long day of disappointments and conflicts.
Scientists might argue that video games are the source of aggressions, but I beg to differ. True, many video games have frustrated me with their mind-shattering puzzles and hard boss encounters, but that frustration was gone as soon as I shut down my console, or turned into a great feeling of triumph once I succeeded. On the other hand, the “real life” has given me many reasons to just turn into a cheap, not so muscular version of the Hulk, but a few hours in World of Warcraft while chatting with my guildmates always soothed me. To me, aggression caused by video games motivated me to try harder, while those same games always found a way to ease my mind.
But hey, that’s just me. Maybe there are people out there who take their video game aggression (can we just call it “VGA”?) to a dangerous level. Maybe their existing frustrations get amplified by some twelve-year old yelling at them during Call of Duty. Maybe some of you readers are just like that. If you are, and even if you aren’t, share your VGA stories below. How do you deal with annoying teammates or hard in-game puzzles, and do video games calm your nerves? Share your tales below!