I have never been a big PC gamer, nor had I ever played video games online in abundance like I do today. I did play Street Fighter II back in the day online with the Super Nintendo using an online adapter, but that was as far as I got. I played the PS2 online at a few of my friend’s houses previously, but I never had my own PS2 hooked up online. The PlayStation 3 is the first console that I have played online in the capacity that I do, but I have played on Xbox Live also. I have had many good experiences with online multiplayer games of all kinds, but the one thing I notice is the amount of racism that goes on.
I can’t really say it is real racism, since it’s mostly just people dropping N bombs, but there are some people who deliberately try and incite anger by calling people derogatory names. I have heard every negative name you can think of against all races being said in online matches since the first day I booted up my PS3 and played online. I would have to say that this is not the norm and I have had many more good experiences than bad ones, but it struck a chord with me one day when I was playing Rainbow Six Vegas 2. I got so upset I even went on the PlayStation forums to see what people had to say. I got a few responses before my thread was locked and one response in particular made me understand why people choose to act this way. One of the people who responded said he uses the words because it makes people get mad and it throws them off of their game. Sometimes it works, other times it does not. At first I was more upset about it, and then I thought about it and realized he was using it as a tactic to gain an advantage by keeping his opponent distracted. It has worked on me before so I understood where he was coming from. He even said later that he wasn’t racist but he just liked to make people mad because he thought it was funny.
This has led me to believe that most people who do this, at least while playing games online, probably do it for that reason. There is also the flip side because there are people who are really racist that like to hide behind computer monitors and gamer tags and spew hate, but would never speak that way to a person’s face any other time. Regardless, even if a person tries to ignore the occurrences when it does happen, it will bother you from time to time. I was playing Killzone 2 last week and someone dropped an N bomb but it didnt bother me because I was in the top 3 on my team and he just used the word out of nowhere and never said it again. It was the first time I ever heard anything like that on Killzone 2, but it did not surprise me when I heard it. At the end of the day, we are all just playing games and the only damage that can be done by this kind of behavior is simply psychological and not physical, therefore I do not take it personally as I once did since I have a better understanding about why it happens. I also realize that no matter what myself or anyone else does, we are unable to stop people from speaking the way they want and saying the things they feel like saying, even if we don’t agree with it. I think the 18 to 35 age group now is much better at handling racial issues than the previous generations (at least in my experience I feel this is true, I can’t speak for everyone though) and I hope it keeps getting better, but I still wish people didnt feel that it was necessary to talk this way. I know and hang out with all different races, my family consists of different races and I was not raised to act or feel the way people who are racist do.
At the end of the day, anyone who has ever been bothered by some of the language they may hear needs to understand that we can’t stop it, and even though it’s not ok, it is better to do your best to ignore it. Do what I do, chase the guy down and make him pay, kill him online every time you see him and use that the same way they use the words against you. Trust me it works wonders because their plan didnt work and they wind up being the one who is upset and taken out of their game mentally. By the way, most games enable you to mute people so if all else fails just mute them and get back to gaming, that’s what we are really online for anyway. Now if only real life had a mute button