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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Being a Missional Gamer Part Three: Keeping a Cool Head

Building off of the last discussion on Game Chat, a huge way we can be a Christ-like witness in our gaming is with our attitudes. The first thing anybody realizes in game chat is that plague of the gaming community: raging. Born out of the competitive nature of gaming and nurtured by the relative anonymity and lack of consequences, raging in the gaming world reaches levels of inappropriate that would make sailors run for their mothers. Ragers are legion, and chances are you won't enter into too many lobbies where there isn't at least one hardcore rager. So what is our appropriate response?

Our first response should be to check ourselves. Here's a good test: have a spiritual mentor of some sort (who doesn't game themselves) sit in on a mutiplayer session. Chances are if you, them, or both are made uncomfortable by the things you say (or if you're uncomfortable with just the idea of them being there); then there are some things you need to change. Raging takes many forms and doesn't always require a high decibel level. Raging doesn't have to be loud to be inappropriate. We as Christians should instantly stand out by the things we say. More importantly, we should stand out by what we don't say. Our first witness to almost everyone we come into contact with while gaming is our attitude. So we have to first examine ourselves and deal with our own attitude problems. Finding partners to play with who can hold you accountable is paramount to changing the way we play and what we say.

Taking a time out here: this doesn't mean we can't be competitive. The very nature of multiplayer gaming is competition. It's as much about winning as any other sport on the planet (yes it's a sport. another discussion for another time). But there is a distinct difference between tense team talk and call outs, and yelling at our opponents about their dubious parentage. There is a difference between helping our teammates and legitimately discussing how the team can get better and what needs to happen next time, and belittling them and insulting them. At the end of the game, nothing should proceed from our mouths except respect for our opponents and teammates alike.

Okay, so how do we respond to others who are ragers? Honestly this is simply going to have to be on a game-to-game basis. Every person is different. The key is not to be disrespectful orbelittling ourselves in addressing ragers. "Real nice kid. You're so mature." is bound to get nothing but continued rage and just feeds the fire. Meeting rage with disrespect also lessens our own witness. The correct response is to calmly address it and ask them to stop. Depending on the person, the reaction is going to be different. If that's met with continued rage or disrespect, then about the only thing you can do is tell them that Jesus loves them and mute them if you wish. Engaging in arguments with ragers benefits no one, so disengaging is probably the best idea for everyone involved after a certain point.

So examine yourself and listen to yourself the next time you're playing. I'll be the first to admit my mouth is my main problem with my gaming witness. If you have a problem, treat it like any other sin: kill it. Do whatever you have to do. Play with friends who will hold you accountable. Avoid certain games and gametypes if necessary. But kill the sin. Then your attitude alone can aid your Christian witness whenever you load up your multiplayer game of choice.

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