Cooperative, Competitive, Whatever – It’s All for My Friends

It’s been a long time, spoons. So long, in fact, that I don’t even have a working title for what I’m about to write. I’ve been here for the podcasts, sure, but anyone who knows me knows my written word is superior to my spoken, so I think it’s about time we get back on this horse. And Jake’s newest post, A Community of Gamers, in accords with his recent crusade for cooperative gaming, has given me the inspiration to do just that.

When Jake first messaged us after his probably unintentional week-long hiatus from gaming, he said this:

“I feel a lot less angry. I think I’m having a crisis”.

This resonated with me, as I’m sure it does with many of you who play games consistently, especially competitive ones. I’ve definitely felt my fair share of rage both during and after sessions of Rainbow Six: Siege, Overwatch, Rocket League, and many others, and it’s the reason I posted this just over a year ago. In it, I stated my frustration and sometimes overly-competitive nature when playing these games and talked about how it’s a mindset issue before anything else.

“It’s not the game I’m criticizing, it’s my mindset while playing the game that needs to change.”

I wrote this, sure, but did I practice it? I tried. It was easier said than done, and while I did experience some success, I quickly fell back into old habits. Just hopping into a few rounds of Quick Play instead of Ranked in Overwatch, playing Rocket Labs or Hoops in Rocket League, running around throwing mindless Nova Bombs in Destiny’s Mayhem Clash…these were all good solutions – if I had my friends. By myself? I missed that sense of progression that comes with gaining/losing rank. I didn’t want to miss it, but I did, and it’s opened my eyes to the real reason I play games.

I play for my friends.

I play to hangout with these guys. With the “okay, now everyone move really far away from each other” explosion that comes after college, what better way to spend my leisure time than talking with some of my best friends like we’re all still living less than a mile apart? The same goes for my non-spoon friends, a few of which I’ve known since I was 7! We use games to keep in touch, and I’m always down to buy/play whatever, because it’s not the game or even the genre that keeps me online.

Now, I’m not going as anti-competitive as Jake, but I am done playing by myself. Solo queue is thing of the past. I still love getting a whole team together for Heroes of the Storm or Rainbow Six: Siege, and with the upcoming Destiny 2’s PvP now focused on 4v4 rather than 6v6 combat, I’m looking forward to jumping in with a full team of spoons. Because for me, competitive is only fun when it allows me to play a role and work together with my friends to beat random internet scrubs. Except we’re almost always the scrubs. But we have fun, and as I said in my post linked above,

“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.”

– Mangos

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