Headset etiquette for the refined gamer

Above: “inside voices”

%26bull; No texting while using a headset

We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve seen someone veer off the path in Left 4 Dead 2, get pinned by a special infected, and when we rush out to save them, they tell us “sorry, I was texting.” Headsets require your full attention and both hands on the controller. It doesn’t hurt to be constantly scanning at least 100 yards ahead at all time either.

Above: wat r u doing?

%26bull; You can talk to people online or in the same room, not both

If you have rich friends who can identify you by sight, not just your online avatar, good for you. And if those friends are in your living room and watching you play games, then it’s A-OK to talk to them. Of course, you need to turn off your mic first (see step two).

Above: These are my real friends

%26bull; No food or drink allowed

If you get muted for sharing succulent lip-smacking (or even sultry straw-sucking), you kind of had it coming. Perhaps the only flaw in the standard-issue headset mic is that, like Gears of War 2‘s Horde mode on Insane difficulty, Microsoft made it too powerful. It will pick up even the tiniest treats titillating your tonsils.

And just in case you didn’t know, hearing someone eat sounds gross.

%26bull; Speak using only your mouth

We can’t believe we have to say this, but... yeah.

Above: Where’s your microphone, sir?

%26bull; No mouth-breathing

According the Xbox 360 Headset Manual, your microphone should be at least 2.54 centimeters away from your mouth. Even with this in mind, it’s best to breathe through your nose, like a normal person.

Above: 2.54 cm

You should be concerned with this, because being aware of all of the sounds that you’re producing is a basic courtesy that you should have for your fellow gamers. Also, monkeys breathe through their mouths.

%26bull; Don%26rsquo;t hit on anyone on the internet

“Are you a girl?” is really only an acceptable thing to say if you’re talking to a cat.

Don’t try to tell us that’s not the first thing you say when you’re interested, because we’ve heard you say it. Unless you are a girl, in which case, hit on whoever you want. It’s fine.

Above: A girl?

%26bull; Mention landmarks

Here are some terms that are useful in real life, but not in games:

%26bull; Use restraint when talking about yourself

Reader, I know we all have moments of transcendental awesomeness, when plasma blasts seem to glance harmlessly off our avatar’s power-armor and we deftly avoid entering into the 16:9 viewable area of our opponents’ television sets until they’ve been hopelessly outmaneuvered. But that’s sort of the point: nobody else can see what’s going on in your screen.

Though you may want to describe how skillfully you’ve been sniping or just how cleverly you’ve pressed the x-button, try to refrain from bragging. Like describing the best part of a song or what you had for breakfast, the words won’t do the experience justice and will only leave the listeners bored. It also doesn’t help if we’re not on your team, jerk.

%26bull; Throw in an occasional highly-offensive racial slur or homophobic remark

Because everyone else is doing it, right?

Just kidding. Hate speech is never acceptable.

May 24, 2010

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