Nobody likes to admit it, but gamers are different people when they're playing games. Those normally sweet and considerate boyfriends, girlfriends, housemates, sons and daughters are not so accommodating when the console's switched on. These are the worst things you can do when someone's playing a videogame. Innocuously, of course - setting fire to them or selling their cat on eBay is malicious. These are not.
The television is a wonderful device. The modern iteration much more so. It’s capable of displaying modern and classic cinema in eye-bursting explosions of HD colour and detail. It’s able to relive your happiest memories in the presentation they deserve, via ultra-detailed, vibrant, 42 inch displays of your favourite photos. It makes it possible for you to explore any world or life that our most creative game developers can dream up, in detail so vivid that it’s almost real.
Yes, the television really is a wonderful device alright. You’ll note though, that amongst that list of activities we haven’t mentioned actually watching TV. Because TV is 90% shite.
Above: The world should be more honest. Seriously, it would save time
Yet some people still watch it. Not just in the “Find the odd few good shows a year and watch them in a chunk” way. Some people actually default to watching regular, unfiltered pap on a daily basis, with little to no consideration for either the shows’ quality or their own self-respect. Or the fact that they may be wasting the miracle of existence on a daily basis and will inevitably regret everything they’ve ever done (or not) when they lie upon their deathbed, tearfully ruing their decades of accursed stupidity.
Above: YOU HAVE TIME TO CHANGE!
So it’s incredibly galling when they demand the use of the TV when you’re playing games. Because they’re not using the TV. They’re abusing the TV. What they’re doing is like hiring a Michelin starred chef and making him cook £1 value bag burgers (50 of the buggers for a quid, and you can taste the cartilage in every bite!) on a clapped-out barbeque in the rain. And then feeding them to their dead dog.
Even if we - gamers - fail at everything else in life, at least we know we'll always have games to be good at. Lovely games. Our comfort zone. We might have friends that are naturally gifted at sports or music or having sex. And they can occasionally make us experience feelings of inadequacy. But that's just how it goes. C'est la vie as they used to say down at the old Moulin Rouge. So one of the most heinous crimes a non-gamer can commit is to beat a gamer. At a game. ANY game.
Above: A typical gamer in his comfort zone savouring victory against a child. This is how it should be
You know the scenario. It's a family gathering and the Wii/Kinect/Move is getting some love. It starts out all laughs and giggles. But then mum/dad/gran/puny sibling actually starts winning. You try to act like you're not bothered. "Hahahaha. Honestly. I'm not bothered. It's just a game. Hahahaha." But your smile is slipping and you don't sound convincing. There's a dirty evil feeling in your gut and its eating all the rational thoughts from your brain like a big angry whale sucking up all the krill.
Above: After losing the first round of Carnival Games, Tommy could feel a Hulk moment coming on strong
Yes it's casual nonsense designed for plebs and works on an arbitrary scoring system that has no idea what actual genuine gaming skill looks like. But it's still a game. That's what we're good at. We're expected to win. We HAVE to win. Otherwise the delicate balance, the natural order, the yin and the yang, the light and the dark, the good and the bad and the ugly, it's all screwed. Everything we believe in. We might as well pack up and call it a day. Game F*cking Over.
Footnote: Losing to another gamer is not so bad. That's just fair dos like. Just as long as they don't beat us at something we consider to be 'our game' and it's the first time they've played it and they're not even playing properly. Then it can be annoying.