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The Angry Gamer: “I Only Have Fun When I’m Pissed”

It may sound strange, but you might be surprised at how many people enjoy being angry.
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

Silly me; I always thought this hobby was about fun.

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You know, entertainment. I always figured that those who lose their sh** when playing a video game obviously aren’t having any fun. I mean, nobody screams in rage and throws things if they’re having a good time, right? Isn’t that backwards?

And yet, I’ve just recently come across a previously unknown (to me, anyway) group of gamers who are really only happy if they’re pissed off. I’m not making this up, either.

A friend of a friend has explained how and why he plays video games: Because nothing excites him more than when he becomes completely incensed.

… yeah, I don’t get it, either. But it’s true.

Okay, I have questions

I understand that in all forms of competition, things can get heated. One of the reasons I don’t really play games online is because very often is it simply gets too competitive, and I just play games to relax and have fun. However, I can easily comprehend a heavier drive to conquer and win. What I’ve never understood is the desire to lose your mind; how that equates to “fun” or “entertainment” is just beyond me.

But this guy was pretty adamant. He said that if he finished a game session and he didn’t get “into it” enough to start telling people to go “die in a grease fire” because they suck at playing a game, it was a waste of time. So, I just figured, “Okay, he’s a loon. I’m sure he’s in the minority.” And maybe he is. However, it seems his friends are very much the same way, and – perhaps not coincidentally – they always play online.

They also exclusively play shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield, but I won’t comment on that. Maybe it speaks for itself.

What I don’t understand is how this is fun for them. They insist that it is.

Immaturity? Type-A personality? …screw loose?

I just want to know what causes this. I don’t really believe it existed a few decades ago in the video game world. I knew plenty of very competitive people; I knew gamers who busted up controllers, systems, even TVs. But afterward, they were never happy. Some would swear off games for a while just because a certain title pissed them off so badly, they couldn’t even look at another game for a week or more. Okay, I get that. That makes sense. When you get mad, you’re not having any fun… not sure there’s any other way to interpret that.

Then again, maybe it’s an extension of masochism. Maybe it’s not just immaturity (despite the fact that far too many gamers have yet to grow up) and maybe it’s not personality or general craziness. Maybe it’s just because there’s a minor twist in the brain that associates failure and red-hot rage with some form of real entertainment. You know, like people who enjoy physical pain.

I hear that’s getting more popular these days, although I’d rather not know why.

Well,  it explains a lot of the behavior online, anyway

Online forums and communities are infested with a similar behavior. And again, for the longest time, I always wanted to ask: If you’re always so angry, and you hate everything so much, if you’d rather bash games than support them, if you’d rather bash people than speak with them, then you can’t be a very happy individual. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this is exactly what makes them happy. Again, it’s some weird psychological twist that hints at other problems, but perhaps this really is the explanation: Being pissed off excites them.

I’m just wondering if anyone else out there has experienced this sort of thing. Are there really a lot of gamers out there who actually prefer to be angry when playing…?

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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.