Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Perils of a Casual Gamer

It is kind of funny if you think about it.

The wife of an "Esports Shoutcaster", doing a blog about casual, noncompetitive gaming.

I get it. The irony is not lost.

Allow me, however, to explain. I love watching esports. I love hearing, first hand, the ins and outs of the tournaments, I love the set up, the hype, the community (for the most part) surrounding and supporting the game.

When I play however, give me a pace that is a little, well.... more casual. Maybe even just single-player, solo play.

Why? It is a mix. When I play, high-level stress does more harm to me than good. And unfortunately, it's because a few people are jerks.

There is such a focus and concentration on professional That they believe unless you are knowledgable and very frickin good at the game, you are not worthy to play in the first place.

Now, before you go all "NOT ALL GAMERS" on me, notice I said a few. It only takes a few jerky-jerky-boogerheads to ruin a good thing. Take Overwatch for example. I absolutely refuse to play competitive. It would be fun to see me rise in the ranks, and learn to play on a higher level. But I became burned out with the negativity and the in-team trash talking. What made it worse is that the moment I tried to use my mic to communicate, they found out I was a girl, which made it so much worse. Now, again, this wasn't all the time, but even once is enough, and two times is too much.

For someone who is in a field in customer service and making sure everyone is happy, having people judge and berate you can be exhausting and stressful. I just want to play the game for crying out loud.

So, you would think, more slow-paced solo games would be more my speed, right? You would think so. Yeah, Hearthstone is ok. I get friend requests from opponents, but because I use my original handle and, again, don't like stressful confrontation, I hardly ever, if at all, respond to those requests. So I can be more of my own gatekeeper, so to speak.

Pokemon Go was great. For a while. This instance is actually why I created this blog post in the first place.

I was playing on my lunch break, professional clothes and badge and all. I was approached by someone who could tell I was playing, and asked if I was taking this gym that was right there. I responded with yes, I was. I guess that opened up some kind of door, because he started talking at me about the game, and how only hard-core fans are playing now and why he joined (to which I couldn't tell you because he started spouting off words that honest-to-goodness sounded like a different language) I nodded and continued to grind to take this gym. Literally, buried in my phone, clicking like a madwoman trying to defeat 5 Valor Pokemon to get the gym for Mystic. He asked if I played Pokemon before Pokemon Go. I replied, no, not really. He scoffed. Then he asked what rank I was, to which I proudly replied that I just reached 28. Again, a scoff. The conversation ended when Breaky came up with our daughter and I defeated the gym, just in time. We headed to lunch, and I realized he had taken the gym the moment I placed my Snorlax.

I started playing Pokemon Go because it was something fun Breaky and I could do together, then it became the driving motivator for me to be more active, especially during my lunch breaks. I stayed because the quests were fun and motivating, and I was seeing progress not only in my game, but in my walks as well.

No, I didn't play it when I was younger. No I'm not level 39. No, I do not play with the intention of becoming any kind of professional. Does not mean I am any less a gamer.

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