Nerd Rage: When “It’s Just a Game” doesn’t quite cut it

Nerd Rage. We’ve all been there. Even if you’re not a geek or nerd in the classic sense, everyone has something that they are passionate about, that brings about equal amounts of frustration. But anyone even remotely close to the geek culture knows truly what I’m talking about. For example, yelling at the one DPS in your dungeon party that can’t seem to get their crap together and makes your party wipe 5 times on the same boss. Throwing down your controller when someone with a gamertag that screams 12-year-old has shot you in the face for the 10th time in a row.  Lamenting to the powers that be who decided to give you consistently crappy draws with no mana, while your opponent gets the mana he needs for that one card that will slaughter you, within the first 3 turns. Yup, that’s what I’m talking about.

As a girl geek, I really try to rein in the rage as much as possible, but I’ll admit that I get super frustrated just as much as anyone else. Though for this girl geek, sometimes the rage does not manifest as anger.

It comes out as tears.

I guess, being of the more sensitive (and sensible) persuasion, crying out of frustration could be acceptable. It could even work to my advantage, if my opponent sees me cry and feels bad. Though I wouldn’t want anyone to let me win, just because they feel bad for me. That’s not a true victory. But if it throws them off their game, then that’s okay 🙂 When it comes to playing online though, this goes completely out the window. Your teammates and opponents cannot see you. Depending on what and how you are playing, they may not even hear you. All they see is your dead body crumpling on the ground over and over, or your low DPS recount, even though you’re over here mashing keys like a fiend.

This week Modern Warfare 3 came out, and of course Team Ultra claimed a copy right away. The other half of Team Ultra has been playing pretty consistently, even though (in both our opinions) the graphics and setup just aren’t as good as Black Ops. Several times I have played multiplayer alongside him, and it’s been really hard not to let the rage overtake me. I kinda suck at these games. Really. I’m not horrible; I can at least kill some people here and there. But for the most part, I’m not all that great. So when I’m the only level 14 in a full group where the lowest of the other players is in the 40s, yeah, I’m going to die. A lot. A whole lot. So I just have to breathe and accept it. And when it gets too much and I am particularly sucking, I step away, and go to something a little lighter. Like Picross (for the DS). Because in the end, while having your heart rate up and playing something exciting can be fun, if you adrenaline rush starts going the wrong way, you’re just putting undo stress on yourself, which is not healthy.  For the most part, I try to channel my inner Buddha and just let it go. It’s just a game. Which is what I get told when I start to rage. It doesn’t really work, which is proven when Natty gets killed a bunch and looks at me with that “did you see that guy make an impossible shot on me?” look, and I respond with the “isn’t it just a game?” look.

It’s just a game, no matter what. But whatever it is, it can still incite the rage. And we are entitled to that rage, because we are passionate geeks. It just comes with the territory. Even single player games can incite the hulk transformation. When playing Batman: Arkham Asylum recently (gearing up for the new one, Batman: Arkham City!) I could not get past this one battle, and it was driving me crazy. I try not to slam the controller lest I get a stern look, but slamming a controller on a soft chair is okay, isn’t it? Okay, maybe not. Anyways, in this instance, there was no one to rage at, no 12-year-old or bad connection or anything. The only person to blame was myself, for being too slow, or the game for being diabolically hard. And the game wasn’t that hard (well, I had it on normal mode, so maybe it was a touch hard).

All in all, nerd rage comes packaged with being a nerd or a geek. Express it wisely.