Toby's terrible sleeping habits drive him towards some interesting observations.
By Toby McCasker on April 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm
I’ve decided to start sleeping on the gross old couch in the lounge room because a) Emergent alcoholic, and b) Closer to gaming systems. What this means is that sleep, ha, sleep. Sleep doesn’t happen anymore. And so I have become a sparkly vampire like mother always suspected I would, and with these unconventional new sleeping patterns comes a new way of experiencing my git-yer-gun online multiplayer shenanigans. A time to kill, sure, but depending on what time it is that might be easier said than done.
Friday nights are usually where I know I’m not gonna win. This is where the diehards live. They have all the best stuff and know every inch of everything, and many of them will never be happy. Sure can shoot the crap out of me, though. I don’t have to deal with this, though. When you’re playing circa 4am Sydney time, it’s about… 2am in Japan, which goes absolutely no way to explaining why, all of a sudden, so many obviously Japanese players show up with their staid, all-smalls screen names that are pleasingly devoid of any dumbness. They are just living kanji: hosuki-snipe, jp_gun_man, etc.
The way our closest server-mates play their shooters is, I’ve noticed, markedly different than the way AIDS-MONKEY from the US and st0p_t3h_g04tz from AU play their shooters. Those dudes will run and gun no matter the sitch, generally speaking. They are always, always likely to shoot first and ask questions never, return crazy fire even when they’re sure to lose, and you can almost set your watch by the fact a lot of them have weird inferiority complexes and, if you ace them spectacularly, will devote sociopathic amounts of time to trying to “get you back.”
By Japanese contrast, there is a permeable kind of finesse and patience at work that I’ve learnt a lot from. It is almost the diametric opposite of how victory! in FPS shooters is popularly thought of. I have seen them wait, unflinching, for minutes in an advantageous position, knowing full well some opposition are in the process of trying to sniff them out. They’ll wait, and they’ll strike when the frustration of their pursuers has mounted to the point they’ve let their guard wander. I’ve seen them refrain from taking shots that are not guaranteed (but seem likely enough to hit ‘n slay) in favour of keeping their position a secret. Even their loadouts seem geared for subtlety, not explosiveness.
It often reminds me of a game of chess, and is, I sometimes think, maybe a cultural hangover of gamers raised on the considered pace of the turn-based and even the static (visual novels et al). This is what happens when this play philosophy is applied to rapid-fire kineticism, and what it seems to boil down to, ultimately, is the element of surprise. Playing with these guys and gals, the element of surprise seems to trump the element of just-shoot-everything-always nine times out of ten. Resisting the itch in twitch is the real challenge here.
Header image from Amused Pony.