Video games can be a fantastic way to unwind. They let players explore new worlds and experience a range of challenges. Gaming can take you to new places and allow you to test your reflexes and your brain. It’s much more interactive than just watching TV, which appeals to a wide audience. However, what happens when it all goes wrong?
Sometimes a level or puzzle is difficult to beat and other times there’s an online opponent who you swear must be cheating. It doesn’t matter if it’s lack of skills and knowledge or just plain bad luck which has caused it, losing, especially repeatedly, is frustrating.
When we get caught in the cycle of things going wrong it’s all to easy to lose control and rage quit, sometimes even throwing controllers across the room in frustration. So how can players and their partners, friends, or family recognize this ‘gamer rage’ and, more importantly, how can it be controlled?
Recognizing The Signs
Everyone who games will have different triggers for what makes them fly into a rage. Recognizing these is an important first step in taking back control.
For some losing a Battle Royale match is a trigger, while others don’t mind losing if it’s fair, but if they get camped then the red mist descends. Often a specific type of game, level, or puzzle will be much worse than others, with difficult to beat bosses or confusing puzzles driving players to the brink.
Try and stay conscious of the signs of frustration. These include erratic thoughts, raised heart rate, faster breathing and sometimes shaking, sweating and even dizziness. There’s also that unmistakable feeling of anger, which begins to bubble up.
If it’s a partner or friend who is having difficulty then help them to recognize these signs. After they’ve exploded it’s too late, all you’ll get is the frustration aimed at you. If you want to help them control their rage it needs to be tackled before it reaches boiling point. Have a sensible discussion about it, outside of their gaming time, and work together to solve the issue.
Fixing The Immediate Issue
Once the signs begin to show, players need to take a break. While this is more difficult when playing online games, it's essential to maintain control. Stopping will immediately calm you down, since you are removing the source of the frustration, even if only temporarily.
You can go for a walk, grab a drink, stretch or take a comfort break. Anything which moves you away from the screen and changes your focus for a few minutes.
Taking regular breaks and keeping active while gaming is recommended anyway and can also help stop frustration building. Stretching while in a queue for a new game, taking a couple of minutes away from the screen completely every hour or so and doing hand and wrist exercises have all proven beneficial to gamers health, both physical and mental.
There’s also evidence to suggest that taking a break can trigger what’s know as the incubation effect. This is when you take a rest and end up coming back more focused, finally able to beat that challenge.
Long Term Ideas
Sometimes frustration comes not from others but from your own perceived failings. If you find yourself struggling with a level, challenge or boss, don’t be afraid to seek help in defeating it. This can take one of many forms. You can look up a walk through, watch a video of someone else playing, or it could be as simple as lowering the difficulty level.
Many gamers feel that they aren’t “playing properly” if they adjust the settings. This is total nonsense. Not everyone has quick reflexes or amazing puzzle solving abilities, and even the best of us get stuck sometimes. It’s much better to lower the level of the challenge, defeat it, and carry on that to rage quit the game and never open it again. After all you can always go back and play through again on a more difficult setting, once you’ve got the hang of the encounters.
Remember that gaming is supposed to be fun. Becoming a ball of rage isn’t fun. If you can make some adjustments to stop that then why wouldn’t you? If you don’t do it for yourself think also of others in your household. Screaming and swearing down a headset is never a good look, nor is it a good example to any kids you may have. Everyone gets angry sometimes but learning to control it means gaming life becomes more enjoyable and far less stressful, for everyone.
If you are someone who is also quick to anger in others areas of your life then you may need to check out some anger management techniques. These will encourage you to really think about your anger and where it stems from, recognize your triggers and better control your reactions.
Recommended calming techniques include breathing exercises, mindfulness, releasing anger safely, and distracting yourself.
There are a number of online resources about anger management or you can see your doctor for more advice.
It’s Just A Game
Frustration and anger are common when people are passionate about their hobbies. A sports team losing, failing to finish a race, and other similar occurrences can also induce the same frustration felt by gamers. Being passionate about something is great but just keep things in perspective.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s just a game. Often people will say “but it’s not just a game.” This is wrong, it is. No matter how much you love it, a game is a game and I say that as a lifetime gamer.
There will always be another round, another level and another game to play. Playing something easy and relaxing can be another way to head off rage.
Remember that the frustration is only temporary, and taking steps to calm yourself before you explode can help keep your mental health, and your controllers, in good shape.
This article was inspired by a Quora question. Click here for the original.