Psychology: Coping with Being an Angry Gamer
Last month I discussed various types of “Angry Gamers” that may exist and it certainly does not include them all. I hope that each of you took that opportunity to see if any of those traits reside with your inner gamer. I do believe we all are prone to the stressors of achievement hunting, game completion and multiplayer competition so with that in mind, here are some coping strategies to relax your “Angry Gamer”. Please try them as needed and for as long as it takes to ease your mind.
Take a Break from Competition
Gaming these days has developed into a world wide E-Sport which has many people practicing relentless hours to hone their gaming skills, often with one particular game. This routine can become quite daunting and stressful. Taking a break from the competitive scene may help “recharge your batteries” so that you can focus on improving your skills with greater ability. This could mean not playing that particular game, playing with only your closest friends so it is more fun than competitive, or playing with the mindset that you are not trying to win. If you take the goal of winning out of your gaming experience it allows you to focus on other things like supporting your team members, practicing certain skills you would otherwise not use (bringing a knife to a gunfight for example) and hopefully having a more pleasurable experience. Switching game genres can also be a great reprieve from the monotony of working on improving in one particular game.
Game in Front of Others
If you are fortunate enough to have a gaming den where you can hole up all by your lonesome and game uninterrupted for hours on end, then congrats to you. However, this gaming isolation can lend itself to developing habits that one may be ashamed of if others were to observe. Rage quitting, cursing, throwing and breaking objects are examples of this. If possible, game with other people in your life who may be in your environment. Allow them to see you in your element and if they care about you they will make observations of their own to steer you to different behaviors. For example, comments like “it’s just a game” or “you don’t have to get so upset” sometimes stoke the anger fire even more and yet they are so true! Games are games and games should be fun. Don’t allow yourself to be convinced otherwise. Putting your gaming behaviors on display will hopefully allow you to be accountable more often and keep them in check.
Understand that You May Not be the Best
Before you get all defensive let me just say that I’m sure you are a wonderful gamer, you may even be the best among your friends. You are most likely very good at what you play. But you’re not the best, you’re not perfect and you will lose in games and that’s ok. As Stewart Smalley from SNL liked to say “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it people like you”. With video games being a worldwide phenomena there are so many people to challenge your gaming skills it is ridiculous. Game developers come up with more challenging game mechanics and balancing patches to modify multiplayer experiences so that the playing fields are more even and single player modes are more difficult. This means that you will fail and for some of you, fail often. The beauty in this is that with failure we learn how to grow as a gamer and as a person. If we all expect to win at everything we do we will find vast amounts of disappointment in our lives. Growth as a gamer is what I argue should be our highest achievement, not who is the best or atop the leader boards.
Give yourself a reality check if you find yourself rage quitting because you’re an adult and you just got quick scope sniped by what sounds like a 10 year old in chat. It’s probably good for your ego to lose to someone for a change. Learning that expecting success all the time discredits your opponents skill and dedication while simultaneously bolstering your own worth will help you grow as a gamer. As this community knows, taking a MrMcspicey walk to cool off, making a year long goal to gain a specific amount toward your gamer score like JordthemanXOB, and spreading positivity to all like XoneBros, these are great steps to keeping your inner “Angry Gamer” at bay.
Finally, remember to game often, game with a purpose to have fun and be a positive addition to the Xbox community. Of course listening weekly to the Xonebros podcast, leaving comments while reading blogs from this site and participating in Discord, Facebook, Patreon, Beam and anywhere else the Xonebros and community are represented helps too! If you’d like a more technical blog post on “psychology coping skills” like meditation or breathing, leave a comment and I’d be happy to get more clinical. Hope you all enjoy this read.
I love gaming! I love being a Dad to two young children! I love being a husband! What's great about my life is I've got kids who are interested in gaming and a wife who understands my need to game. I grew up in the 80's playing Nintendo classics and dabbled a bit with PlayStation before seeing "the light" that is Xbox. I love everything about it and am looking forward to sharing my experiences through the lens of a gamer, dad/husband and as a gamer with a Master's Degree in Psychology. Let the analyzing begin!