Online gaming is completely different to offline play. There's a tangible buzz and quickening of the heart-rate when you're leading a race on the last lap or sniping some guy in Australia, which you simply can't get from a single-player experience. But this experience can be so easily ruined by a few small things. Technical or man-made, these obstructions threaten to tip otherwise well-balanced men over the edge of madness and into the pits of frustration-fuelled rampage mode. And these are they.
The phone's ringing. Your girlfriend's at the door. The cat's brought in a live bird. You've got an itch. You need to pee. There's a swarm of bees and the window's open. Your pizza's ready. Your baby brother's reaching for the flex that dangles from the still-hot iron. There's a UFO hovering outside the window and the aliens are posing for a photo.
But you can't pause the game! What's it gonna be?
If there's one technological issue even more frustrating than the game taking ages to create a match, it's lag. This is where players with a slow internet connection jump around the screen as the game tries to calculate their position and actions in relation to everyone else. Modern games are very clever in their methods of concealing lag, but these often compound the issue. For instance, driving behind a laggy car, you'll see it flicker around, jumping from a short distance ahead of you to about a mile down the track, and back again in a second.
This is fine, until it materialises halfway through your own car, immediately making the game think you've hit it at 3,000mph and destroying your vehicle. Keeerrrunch!
Above: The mystery is finally solved. This Ferrari was the victim of lag
We've got a full game – this is it. 8 vs 8 team deathmatch. All players are ready. Let's start the countdown. But wait - people are dropping out. Where are they all going? Now it's 4 vs 5 and we need another player. Nope, now it's three on three. Game starts in 5… 4… Oh, now it's 2 vs 3. Someone leaves. Game starts in 2… two more leave and now it's just us. Game start? Yes. Let's play single-player team deathmatch.
Above: GamesRadar, I've told you a MILLION times not to exaggerate
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