Article by Tim Dekowski | Photography by John Morin | Owl Staff
Have you ever had someone at work chew you out and all you wanted to do was to go home and play some video games to get your mind off of your job? Then the next thing you knew you had some kid yelling at you saying you have no talent, and they want to kill your family?
To a gamer, this scene is all too familiar.
As a hardcore gamer who spends 20+ hours a week playing video games, I have noticed a trend while playing online which is making me less likely to turn on my console as time goes by. The absurd amount of horrible ethnic, racial, and sexually explicit slurs in online gaming has made me contemplate letting my Xbox Live subscription expire. Even the usernames are just as explicit to the point where I can’t print them in this article without offending numerous demographics (often all in one name, no less.)
While playing Modern Warfare 2, I witnessed a bunch of kids whose voices and mannerisms placed them at around 12 years old, calling my friends and I: “Lazy, slow to comprehend African-Americans that sit on their bottoms and throw grenades across the map like little female dogs.” Note: I did slightly censor it from the original version.
While playing Split/Second, a racing game, I was accused of cheating. Of course, I asked how I could possibly be cheating. That opened the flood gates of angry insults about my ancestry and some comments here and there about my mother’s extremely high weight and her extensively promiscuous nature.
I will admit I have contributed to the rage-fest that is online gaming once or twice. I have gotten desensitized by what is said online until after the game is over. Then I sit back and think for a second: Am I actually going to meet this person and do what I just said to them or their family? Just imagining what your mother would think if she heard one of your Xbox Live tirades is enough to shock most gamers into considering the weight of the words they throw around so casually.
I know online gaming can be very intense, but can’t we stop and think before we turn our mics on to yell at the other player like a bunch of five year olds with the vocabulary of a racist sailor? You need to remember it’s another human being with feelings on the other side.
For all you know they could be a great person with a lot of things in common with you. I met my friend TJ on Xbox playing Modern Warfare. Our playing styles clashed, and we would not stop bickering like an old married couple. We eventually got forced on the same team, and from there TJ and I became very good friends, and still are to this day.
I think it’s time everyone hits reset and thinks before they speak, because I’m sick of having to get ready for a UFC fight every time I turn on my console.