Gamer Rant: The Decline of Sportsmanship – By Sean “Blazek” Emes, Edited by Jordan “Doomhammer” Kahn
Competition is a funny thing. It can bring out unparalleled determination, the highest levels of skill, a passion for victory, and the very best in a leader. It can also bring out the worst in people: anger, frustration, blame and childishness. Competitive gaming is all about including an audience of fans and fellow gamers, so it should be held to the very highest standards of sportsmanship in competition. Sadly in the last year I have seen a very ugly side to gamers: an increase in blame, rage, and “insert meme” shouting, all of which highlights the decline of sportsmanship.
GL HF: “Good Luck, Have Fun”
I am amazed that this phrase is rarely seen in games today. Usually said at the beginning of a match, this acronym stands for “Good Luck, Have Fun” and is an important gesture, much like boxers touching gloves at the start of a match. It’s also a reminder to enjoy yourself, since you are playing a game after all. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, regardless of the outcome, then why are you even playing to begin with?
If you are playing an online shooter, it’s probably not necessary to say at the start of every single match, but throwing it in when you first join is a good way to start gaming, and may help everyone enjoy the game a bit more.
GG: “Good Game”
Most commonly seen in Real Time Strategy (RTS) games, the notion of “Good Game” is a recognition that the game was enjoyable and worth playing, similar to shaking your opponent’s hand at the end of an in-person match. The post-game handshake is one of the oldest and most important examples of sportsmanship, and if you’re not playing as a good sport you’re going to end up frustrating yourself. Even when you play poorly you should not beat yourself, or others, down for it.
This can be seen far too often when a match is over, most commonly in online competitive games. When one side loses the match they will start throwing around accusations on why they, or their team, lost the match. These excuses can range from lag to mechanical failures to teammates or family. This is not a productive way to handle any situation, and it’s a sign that the loser doesn’t have a firm grasp of either sportsmanship or successful competitive play.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like yelling at someone, before you start shouting “you lost it for us!” you should take a deep breath, shake your opponent’s hand (or give a GG), then step away from the game for a moment. When you come back, analyze the entire match, your own gameplay as much as anyone else’s. In many cases something very slight, a positioning error or a mis-click, will change the flow of a game but it may not always be evident unless you’re examining the game closely and objectively.
Dropping your Ego:
On the flip side of the coin, just because you won a game doesn’t mean you should brag about it. Being a poor winner is just as bad, if not worse, than being a poor loser. Not only does it make you look bad to others, but it can come back to hurt you, since your ego can give you a false confidence. Many times I have seen players gloat mid- or early-game, only to have it shoved back in their face a few minutes later. Instead, stay friendly throughout the game and be respectful to your opponent. Whether you win or lose, people will think better of you than they would if you’re a jerk.
This is important, because competitive gaming is still a very young industry. Everyone knows how important sportsmanship is in professional sports, and that’s doubly true for gamers. Communities like vVv Gaming work very hard to create a culture of gaming that will appeal to all kinds of people, and an important part of that culture is good sportsmanship. For gaming to go anywhere, everyone has to do their part. So stay polite and respectful and give your opponent a handshake. Or, you know, a GG.
(*Article reproduced with permission from the author and vVv Gaming. All rights reserved.)