You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

I’m generally a mild mannered polite sort of chap, a person who is considered shy and quiet preferring to sit and watch the crowd instead of participating. Yet put a controller in my hand and something terrifying happens, I become easily frustrated and prone to outbursts. I go from lying back relaxed playing a fun game with friends to Basil Fawlty-esque moments, me crouched onto all fours screaming notes only heard in the fiery depths of hell. I did it in Halo 3, did it in Geometry Wars 2 (many, many times) but nothing quite incites the badness inside me like football games.

It’s a much more personal experience than playing as an identikit marine on some alien land, you’re playing as your club and it adds a level of passion to gaming that is missing from other genres. If I lose at Halo (which if I’m honest is pretty likely) then I have let myself down, but if I lose at Fifa or Pro Evolution Soccer then I’ve let down the century of history that’s behind my club along with all those fans that pay good money to see the club. That’s the level of stress that comes with playing online with your club, you go on with an inherent responsibility to uphold the values and traditions of the club… it sounds amazingly stupid but ask any football fan what it feels like to lose online and they’ll tell you it hurts like no other game. One notable moment came when playing my own sister at Fifa 97 on the Mega Drive back in the day, I made a comeback of herculean proportions and turned around a five goal deficit to win in the last minute. My joyous moment was short-lived though as she leapt around screaming in my youthful face before tearing a magazine I was absently flicking through in half, today we’re lucky though as mute buttons means your moment of hate can be hidden online. If they can give me immense anger though it follows through that they can give me the greatest joy possible. I’m currently playing Football Manager 2009 on the PC and finding myself being cheered up after awful days by my team playing well. I’m lying awake at night grinning thinking of how my inspirational team talk turned around that European game and how I have a cup final to look forward to at the weekend. It’s perhaps a testament to the madness of the fans that even fictitious representations of football inspire the same emotions and dreams as the real thing. In 19 years of gaming I’ve not seen another genre come close, and I doubt I ever will.







6 responses to “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”

  1. Emily avatar

    Hello John!

    I’ve discovered by now that, basically, I throw myself into game rage at any game, any genre, unless it’s Mah Jong.

  2. Lorna avatar

    Welcome John, great first post ๐Ÿ˜€ I think we’ve all had those Fawlty-esque moments when we’ve wanted to whip our consoles with a broken tree branch ๐Ÿ˜€

    I don’t play sports games but your blog reminds me of my feelings towards some games where you can give things your name etc. I could never make a character in X-Com, either me or a loved one…what if they died?! It would be weird…same with the Sims…I can’t do it!

  3. John.B avatar

    Thanks guys ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yeah, it’s funny how often games ignore making that personal link to you. With sports games it’s because it’s your team, as you said Lorna it can be assigning your name to something. I guess “clans” could do it if you felt strongly affiliated. It just adds a layer of emotion to the experience that can be missing often.

  4. Laura avatar

    Yay 4 teh n00b! He made the team pictures even again! Great blog John, you may be a virtual football hooligan but you are very welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Barry avatar

    I rarely get angry playing games/competing, its usually me who’s turning the screw and making others angry >:D

  6. Michael avatar

    I rave a fair bit when playing games, as some here could attest (I think I once said Jesus so many times on CoD4 that Tony answered yes… well, I’m quite sure it was one of the English regulars anyway!). But I don’t get angry. I’m actually quite like yourself, John, going by your intro.

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