Gaming Friends

Posted by Thomas Sun, 10 Sep 2006 00:03:14 +0000

The closest friends I have made during my time in Atlanta are almost 100% non-Christian and gamers. If you know me very well, you would know that I do not consider myself a gamer (neither in video, nor most real world sports). I have never been very proficient at games, which I am sure helped to contribute to my general disdain for them. And perhaps even more prolific in forming my opinion is the lack of value that I see in them. Not too unlike many of the procrastination tools of the average college student *cough*facebook*couch, gaming doesn’t add much value to my life. Especially when done alone. Seeing if you can beat the undead by using your hero and a whole lot of I don’t know what is an utter waste of time in my opinion. It can be argued that team gaming is a bonding experience, which it is, but gamers game much more than the not-to-oft game night at a friend’s house. I would much rather browse the web, or watch movies, or, gasp, watch tv. At least in TV or the web, I have the opportunity to be able to learn something or keep up with current events. Sure, you could say that there is value in succeeding at gaming, learning how to solve problems, create strategies, and defeat enemies, but as you may recall I suck at games, so it’s a lot of time spent getting my ass handed to me, not getting any better, and feeling really bad about it.

Which semi-brings me to the point of this post. For the most part, I try not to do stuff that I’m no good at. I can be very competitive at times, and it’s not usually something that I like about myself, because it’s not a very loving stance to take to be better than someone, even if you are. So, the way that I think that I’ve developed over my life to deal with this is to not care about a whole lot of stuff like this. Because if I don’t care about it, then I won’t be competitive and when I suck I won’t get down in then mouth about it. It’s a defense mechanism. An odd side effect of this is that I tend to either care immensely about something, or hardly at all. All the things I care about, I care about immensely, and everthing else I can’t care less about. Odd extremes, I know…

So, when all of my friends are gamers, what do they want to do? Game and talk about gaming. Which bores me to no end, but I can listen to them talk, because I’m their friend and I value their friendship, and I want (at some level) to care about what they care about, and show them at the very least the respect to listen to their conversation. But, I tend to draw the line if you “think that I’ll really enjoy this game”, or expect me to want to play games, even after I have repeatedly said that I’m not much of a gamer, and that I don’t play games. I might humor you, but do not confuse humor for genuine interest.

Man, I’m still not to my point yet… So, I have been playing games a lot recently, and am, what I would consider, honest-to-goodness good at one of them, namely Smash Bros. Now, my training was elite in the Man Cave, under the tutilage of Drew, Chad, Rob, et al. They all consitently kicked my ass at Smash Bros. I seem to recall them being able to dominate with their second or third characters. (Or that’s my perception of of how all that played out.) So, in accordance with how I deal with this stuff, I’ll try my best to not care about it, but when your friends care a lot about it, sometimes it’s really hard for you not to care about it. And sometimes impossible.

So, I was sucky then, but for some reason, I can play this one game way better than the guys that I play on a regular basis with. I don’t enjoy playing the for any length because it’s just no fun when it’s a slaughter. It’s not really a game at that point. So this is a boost to the confidence. But, there are other gamers out there who are better than me, and I’ve met a couple here, and I don’t like that very much, so I stop trying to play hard, because I know that I won’t be able to win consistently.

And there are times when an old game gets pulled out, and inevitably, there is a plethora of guys who have spent countless hours playing it. And so, since I’ve basically never played any games ever, and even if I have I don’t really remember any, I get slaughtered. Which definitely isn’t fun for me, and which I assume isn’t fun for them if they continually score on me. So, if I get irate and want everybody to stop checking me into the wall and want you to teach me some and let me learn, is that too much to ask in the middle of a game? And then only to be chastized for wanting to when I show no mercy in Smash Bros…

Am I being unreasonable here? Would I have stopped and taught them? I’d like to think so, and I even did. We were playing Mario Tennis, and I was acing this guy who is an excellent gamer, but hadn’t played Tennis before. Finally, I stopped and gave him some tips of where to stand when recieving the serve. I wasn’t a total saint, because I continued to not give him enough time to get into position, but I needed to win, because winning is all that matters to these guys. I needed to beat his partner, and his partner is so good, that I can only do it by picking on him.

They all portray it such that I am not even allowed to be good at one game, even when I suck royally at the rest. It’s like there’s no mercy or grace or love in these circumstances. In my experience there is this n-th degree of competition that rears its head that isn’t healthy for the relationships. Maybe I’ve been traumatized too much in my life for all of these things to just roll of my back and not be bothered by them and simply enjoy the ass kicking that they enjoy all too much.

And this is why I stopped playing Smash Bros with the gang at Wesley. I felt that it became detrimental to the relationships within the group. I can clearly remember arguments about who was unfairly picking on whom, and who was always getting punted off the map more, and there was always a perception difference that they were the one being picked on, and the other person thought the same. So, between that and thinking about the damned game what Max said was compulsively, I stopped and really haven’t looked back since.

I guess that I see similar trends happening here.

I really don’t appreciate being told to dodge and fire, or whatever obvious objective is going on. Do you really take me for such an idiot that I don’t know what I am supposed to do, and recognize that knowing what to do and being able to do it are two different things and the general objective of tasks like that, to figure out how to rub your belly and pat your head, except with a joystick, a, b, x, y, l, and r buttons? Don’t patronize me and don’t state the obvious because I won’t take it well. Being the butt of conversations like “man I hit you a lot”, “I’ve never seen anyone get hit that much”, “damn, I can’t believe you got hit like 6 times!”, “I’ve never hit anybody that much”. Man, that pisses me off, and did, and I basically said ‘night at that point and jetted. Because what I hear is “you suck, you suck, you suck”.

I really don’t appreciate it, either, when you say “I’m no good at this” and then beat me. I really don’t appreciate it when I get compemented as being a contender in one breath, and then get this trash talk 2 seconds later after you beat me. I just love that you can turn on me on a dime. I really find that trait attractive in my friends.

I have for a while been feeling a really wierd vibe coming from these guys. And maybe last night was when it finally clicked for me that maybe it is a lot about how much love and compassion and mercy that they have for each other and for me. It’s a very disturbing thing to me to think that people would have friends solely for the perks. That the major reason that you would make a conscious decision to talk to me and be my “friend” (which there apparently is a definition for), is for the stuff that I’ll give you for free, or the questions that I can answer for you about building your house, or the answers I can give you about how to wire up your new arcade cabinet, or the cat5 I can pull for you in your new house, or the soldering that I can do for you.

It’s beyond me how you could only have friends for the things that they can give you and not for their intrinsic value as a friend. And it may not quite be to that exteme, but man, I think that it’s close, and that’s disturbing to me. Love at Wesley was palpable, and even when there was disagreement or competition (especially when there was disagreement or competition) you knew exactly where you stood with that person. You knew that they didn’t hate you, you knew that they loved you, you knew that they would do anything for you, and you knew that they respected you. Maybe that wasn’t your experience, but it definitely was for me. If ever I recieved criticism, I knew that it was out of love, and it becomes hard to argue when you know the other person is guinuely looking out for you best interests out of love. Maybe that’s what’s remarkably missing from all of this, genuine love.

So, for anyone still reading this, I appluad you. I did a word count, and it’s 1900+. Not terribly big by my standards, but I think it might be the biggest on the blog. The length would also imply that this has been really festering in me, and that I needed to vent. A bunch. Not sure exactly what this yet means for me and my so-called-friends. I would doubt that much will change in the short-term, but as a general rule, me being more concious of my concerns causes them to grow, and so they are probably on a collision course now. To all the single women who’ve made it thus far, there should be some decent material up there for how my mind works. But, if you asked me to try to explain it more, you probably wouldn’t get very far, and you would probably just make me mad. (Which is something that I wish weren’t true (me getting upset/mad at you), but that’s what I think would happen.) Here’s to hoping that there’s at least one girl out there who can trick me into talking about it without making me mad in the process…

Posted in General | 2 Comments


  1. bigbrother0074 said on September 11, 2006 @ 4:35 pm:

    thomas thomas thomas. i feel guilty because it seems that lately i’ve been ‘using you’ for your expertise and not doing very well at being friends with ya. when i’ve asked you questions, i’ve thought that i need to take some time and catch up with him and see how things were going. but that chat doesn’t seem to materialize very often. i don’t want to forget about you and let our friendship fall by the wayside as often happens when people go off to different places to follow the paths their lives take, nor do i want to be that guy that’s always annoying because everytime he talks to you he wants something from you. honestly, i think its because i’m just not good at long-distance relationships. ask loulou. when i’m on a trip or something our phone conversations suck. i’m just not that good at talking or something, i dunno. nonetheless, it’s no excuse. sorry if i’ve let you slide by the wayside. you’re an important friend to me.

    in other news… umm.. well what’s your church situation like? it would be a great thing, i think, if you could find that kind of support and love in a christian environment. of course, noone will ever find another wesley once they leave here, but christian support, love and brotherhood are very important things. nevermind, i’m gonna stop harassing you about that, i know you get that from max quite a bit. and i’m not in your situation. i don’t need to give advice, i just need to be a friend. it’s hard to do that a lot of the time. i think guys in general have a fix-it attitude. when loulou tells me problems its really hard for me to just listen and let her vent. i want to tell her to stand up for herself or something and try to fix the problem. anyway, uhh i guess i’m done rambling. take it easy man.

    ps. sorry i’m not a single girl. i’ll let ya know if i hear of any in the ATL area, though.

  2. Chad said on September 14, 2006 @ 2:04 am:

    Sucking at video games is winning at life. Except for Smash Bros., that involves important skills. I do hear you though, Wesley is a community that is difficult to recreate, and it will almost certainly be on a smaller scale. I’m beginning to feel that way about the Newman Center here; it has a similar feel, although folks do not hang out there as much as at Wesley. I do think the fact that it is based on faith makes a big difference. Also, I’m not a single girl and I don’t know any in Atlanta. I don’t know any in DeKalb either.

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