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Does Competitive Gaming Affect Community Quality?

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By wubDate: Feb 19 2017 Views:

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Ever since video games created the idea of a "high score" there's been a competition instilled within players to be the best at whatever game they play. Racing games, fighting games, shooters, it doesn't matter. If there's a chance for competition, it often is going to happen.

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But as time marches on, an unfortunate trend began to form. While friends and family could compete with no severe casualties, gaming communities weren't so lucky. In fact, the need for competition, and for fair competition has turned many rational gamers into full-on toxic people. Ones that spew out hate and nonsense for reasons that either don't make sense or aren't right at all.

Now yes, some complaints are very justified, even the developers admit that. But this goes beyond that. This is about a person making a post on a forum, then someone replying and telling to stop whining. Or someone in-game via a microphone gets very angry at their teammates because they're losing. This is the "toxic community" that a lot of gamers fear. Because in them, opinions aren't respected, and everyone has something to say.

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Is this truly because of the competitive gameplay? Yes, in a way it is. Gaming can bring out both the best and worst in people, especially when they're facing off against other people. Whether its human instinct, gamer instinct, or something else entirely, we just don't like to lose. And sometimes, winning can be just as bad when you're arrogant and like to flaunt what "skills" you have. Then cry foul when they lose fair and square.

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Not all communities are like this. Some fighting game communities like Smash Bros or even Street Fighter are more fun than toxic. And the Pokemon community is very supportive of one another because of their desire to help other "trainers". But even in those communities, there are detractors and haters. Is there a solution to this? Honestly, I don't think there is. You can't fight human nature at times, and even if you personally can, others can't, or won't. Video games are an outlet for them, and they want to be "free" to do whatever they want. It just so happens that comes out more when they're playing against players they can't see and feel they can't be touched by.

The moral of the story? If you want to change a community? Start with yourself, then work outwards.

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