A moment of self-indulgent whining.

I wonder what it is about us as human beings that every now and then we get a kick out of making each other miserable in small ways? I’m made to wonder about this after an annoying evening of playing video games. I love first person shooters like Half Life, Counter-Strike and my current favorite Medal of Honor, particularly ones that have modes that allow for teams as opposed to all-out deathmatch. I’m not a great player, but I can hold my own pretty well in most of the games I play and it’s a great way to blow off some steam.

That is, until someone who feels they need to cheat comes along. Sometimes they use external programs that allow them to gain an advantage in the game such as aimbots or hacks that make the walls transparent or highlight where people are aiming and such. Sometimes they just use model skins that are brightly colored so they’re easy to spot. Sometimes they just take advantage of exploits in the game itself. For example, one of the maps in Medal has this one ladder that if you jump off of it in a certain way will shove your player model halfway through the bottom of the map, or even totally under it. This makes it near impossible to kill that player while he’s still able to run around and attack other players. Another exploit in Medal is on server that don’t have friendly fire turned on it’s still possible to toss a grenade at your team at the start of the round and then quickly switch to the opposing team before it goes off, when it does you’re now an enemy and as such it’ll kill any former teammates in the immediate area. Now you do the same again in reverse and you can wipe out a good portion of both teams before anyone has a clue of what’s going on.

We had an idiot on last night that was doing these sorts of things. The game has a provision to vote to kick players who are being assholes like that, but most players don’t know how to vote properly or don’t care enough to bother so it’s rare that someone gets booted for cheating. Not that it matters as they can usually get back on right away anyway. As annoying are the players who actively work against their own teammates. One map in MoH has these gun emplacements that the Allies are supposed to bomb. Once the bomb is set you have a certain amount of time that the Axis players might disarm them. One of the Axis players would go to the bomb and start to defuse it, then stop, then start again. This causes the disarm timer to start over and he’d continue to stop and start until it was close to exploding and then he’d run off. Basically, he was allowing the opposing side to win by blocking his teammates from defusing the bomb.

All of these players know they’re being jerks and they all seem to get some sort of perverse enjoyment out of ruining the game for everyone else. I’ve never understood that sort of mind set. I have my own evil streak and I don’t mind annoying people from time to time, but I don’t go out of my way to ruin people’s enjoyment of something just because I can. I know that in the great scheme of things this is really nothing to whine about, but it does still bug me. So if anyone knows of any sociologists who have good papers on this sort of topic, drop me a note, eh? Perhaps I’d feel better if I had some understanding of what makes people act like that.

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