The Doom Mindset

The Steam Summer Sale is here!

RIP my wallet…

As I scrolled through the seemingly endless titles up for sale, one in particular caught my eye: Doom. Obviously I’d heard of it before and even played it a bit back in the day, but I didn’t know much about its recent remake, so I decided to look up some gameplay.

Watching the Achievement Hunter guys play Doom hit me pretty hard with a message that should be obvious but can sometimes get lost in the heat of competition: Games are supposed to be fun.

For me, the example is best illustrated by Rainbow Six: Siege. When I play Siege, I play for keeps. That is, I’m here to win, and when I don’t, I get pissed. Now, I’m not any kind of MLG pro, but I can hold my own against similarly skilled opponents and even sometimes show a flash of brilliance. That said, I cannot carry a team, and my flashes of brilliance are too far and between to consistently rely on. So when I jump into Siege trying to climb that rank ladder, and we lose? I get pissed. Not at my teammates (usually), but at myself and the game in general. Add in the fact that Siege is a one-life per round game, where mistakes not only result in your death but also your inability to play the rest of the round, and you get a punishing experience capable of inducing the worst kind of rage.

Now, it’s important to know that I love Siege. It’s one of my favorite games and I highly enjoy jumping in with a full team of friends where simple communication enables advanced tactics. It’s not the game I’m criticizing, it’s my mindset while playing the game that needs to change.

So, what can we draw from this? Well, I don’t like losing. But who does? The real lesson here is that maybe I no longer enjoy the hyper-competitive gaming environment. When I play, that’s just it, I want to play. It’s a mindset issue before anything else. When I go into Siege, or even Destiny or Overwatch, I put my silly competitive hat on and it becomes all about winning at any cost, even my own enjoyment. If I’m having an off-night and playing poorly, is it still fun to sit back and let my team do all the dirty work that I so desperately love to do? Maybe for some, you snipers you, but not for me. I want to get in there, kicking names and taking ass, guns blazing with grenades and explosions going off all around me. But when I start to care more about winning than having fun, I forgo this style of play in favor of sitting back with a lesser chance of dying. (Ironically, this can often lead to me being the last one alive on my team, pressured with the task of completing the objective alone versus multiple opponents with everyone watching my POV. Woof.)


So, what about Doom? Well, Doom looks to serve as the best counterexample yet. When I watched AH play Doom, they were having pure, unadulterated fun. It was fast-paced and absolute chaos. Spawn, grab whatever demon-slaying weapon you like best, run in there, blow some shit up, inevitably die, and then do it again. And in the particular mode in the video, become a soul-eating demon, chase your opponents down, and literally rip them in half or light them on fire. If you die, so what? You just come back again and again until the match is over. For me, this is fun.

Like I said, I love Siege. I love Destiny, Overwatch, and many other games that fuel my competitive mindset. And like I said again, it’s not the games that need to change, it’s me and the way I approach playing them. I need to care less. I’m not saying to not care at all, just a little less. Care enough to want to win, but not so much that you won’t try that crazy flank from the ceiling or be afraid to charge in and just start swinging. If you’re even an average player like me, it’ll work sometimes! And for the times it doesn’t, just shrug it off and wait for the next epic opportunity.

This is the mindset I’m going start transiting to in all the games I play, even those in which I’m trying to climb the ladder and be competitive. The Doom Mindset. If I’m not having fun because I’m losing or playing poorly, I’m not going to just stop playing but instead change my mindset and start playing in a way that’s more fun for me, regardless of the outcome. I’m going to go for the crazy plays, the ones where I know death is the likely outcome, because eventually, it’ll work, and it’ll be awesome. This is how I have fun.

Now you need to figure out how you have fun. What’s your Doom Mindset? Not just in games, but in all aspects of your life. When you lose, when you fail, don’t just stop playing. Don’t just give up. Instead, find a way to make it more fun for you. Change your mindset. Stop caring about the outcome of everything you do and just do it. It’s okay to be shitty. If you keep having fun, you’ll keep doing it and eventually, you’ll be less shitty, and then eventually maybe even sorta good.

The Doom Mindset. Tell your friends.

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