Video games and aggression

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya………….

Don’t let the title of this one deceive you. It’s not a deep-rooted psychological examination of the correlation of video games and aggression.

Hell, it hurt my head just to type those words. I’m not bright enough to pull off something like that. It’s just that I witnessed something yesterday that had me remembering how many times I’ve seen video games spawn violence. And they’re all funny memories to me. Nobody ever got hurt or anything. So the violence is funny, right?

Last night I’m watching the Blackhawks kick some ass (3-0 for their second consecutive shutout) with a buddy. Well actually, I was watching the game intently and he was half-watching it while he played World of Worldcraft. He’s a regular player of this fantasy world game where you develop a character and slay monsters and other evil beings in various dungeons. A few times per week, he connects with 24 other players around the country and they all go on a raid together to slaughter these terrible beasts. It is his “guild”.

I know ?? Right ??

I think the same thing. Usually when I see him engrossed in this game, I’m thinking, “Awwwww, for Christ sake !! Really ? “

So last night, he and his guild were out on a raid while the Hawks played. And about every two minutes he would pound his fist down on his desk and shove his chair away from the computer muttering profanities and waving his arms around. Apparently he kept getting killed right near the start of every battle. And didn’t know exactly how it was happening.

Next thing you know he’s looking at me all wild-eyed and going off on the game and the battle. All I could do was look at him with my mouth open and nod my head in agreement. It reminded me of some of the boys at Sunday football when Lovie Smith makes another asinine play call.

That reaction by my buddy over his video game was pretty tame though compared to some performances over the years. And anybody who plays video games knows what I’m talking about here.

When my brother and I were kids playing that Atari system my parents bought us for Christmas, there were some incidents. After a while you become such an expert at the games that anything short of your all-time HI score is unacceptable. And if you invest 2 hours into a game of Pac-Man or Space Invaders and then fall just 40,000 points short of your HI game……..let’s just say that things get thrown around. Such as the actual game cartridge that was ripped from the game console.

The king of throwing things has to be the guy whose house we go to on Sundays for football. He’s our generous host every week. But when we were a little younger and played football games like Madden ’98 or the old TecmoBowl (remember that ? ), no one could throw a controller like this guy. Me or my brother would complete a bomb for a touchdown and as his defensive player lagged behind on the play, he’d be screaming, “I can’t control this fuckin’ thing ! The fuckin’ guy won’t move ! Look !! I’m moving him and he won’t move !! “

Next thing you know, the controller is flying across the room until it’s cord ran out and it snapped to a stop. Many times he threw it straight at the television screen. We’d have to stop the game for two or three minutes to regain our composure from laughing. And the whole time we’re laughing our asses off, he’s going off on a raging diatribe about how the “stupid thing” wasn’t working right.

Don’t get me wrong here, either. I’m guilty myself of every mental breakdown shared here. But it’s funnier when other people do it.  

There’s another pair of brothers that are very close friends of mine. And I have seen these two wrestle around on the floor over just about everything. Arguments in Monopoly. Poker games. Everything.

But when we all used to play NHL ’92 , that’s when the real brawls started. First there was always an argument as to who would be the Hawks since they had a great team on the game. They were just coming off the NHL Finals in real-life and were loaded with players like Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Michel Goulet, Ed Belfour, Joe Murphy, Steve Smith, and so many others. What a great, great team that was. And so whoever played always wanted to be the Hawks. That’s when the first wrestling match started.

Then when someone scored the first goal, another one often took place. And heaven help us if someone was really getting an ass-kicking in the game. Then the two of them would be rolling around on the floor like Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. Hilarious.

In 1996, the movie Swingers came out and this exact scenario was in the movie. Vince Vaughn and his buddies would play hockey before they’d go out to the bars. Same as us. I couldn’t believe the scene when I saw it. But then again, Vince Vaughn is a Chicagoan. Right around my age too. I thought to myself that obviously this type of behavior happens everywhere because we were doing that in 1992-93. Until that movie, I thought it was just me and my buddies.

My brother can attest to my staunch belief that a video game is programmed to a point that when the computer needs a touchdown, there is nothing a human can do to avoid it. I’ve worked myself into a lather arguing this neurotic point. I’ve even had my brother watch some plays where I tried to demonstrate my position. Say I’m beating the computer 28-0 in the 4th quarter. And I’ve noticed that on the last three plays, I played the perfect defensive alignment to stuff the plays that the computer ran. To me, it has locked in to the “nothing you can do” mode.

I tell my brother to watch as I reposition all 11 of my defensive guys on the computer’s best wide receiver. I mean I have everyone on him—-lineman, linebackers, safeties, everyone. On his one wide receiver. The computer hikes the ball and throws to that one wide receiver who bounces off every one of my guys and waltzes in for a touchdown. No problem.

That’s usually when I throw something.

I tried to tell my buddy that if he wants to avoid all that aggravation, he should just watch the Blackhawks. There might even be a wrestling match just like with the video games. He ignored me and joined in on another dungeon battle.

For all of two minutes. Then came the fist pound again.

I just smiled and watched Marian Hossa score a goal.

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