Playing A Game That Pisses You Off And Makes You Question Your Sanity Vs One That Doesn't

I quite like fighting games. I don't play them too often without a friend involved though, because just being completely alone on a ranked ladder (or lobby, or god forbid Discord channel) that doesn't really matter can get me frustrated when I don't perform to my expectations. That's how it is for me. I also once chucked my Game Boy Advance at the wall when I was eight and the Hoenn Elite 4 was kicking my ass. I was seven (or so), but still. I remember like it was yesterday!

I mention those things just so that I'm not talking down to you. I've been there. A lot of us have. Let's not treat it like an embarrassing secret. I have gotten mad, and maybe you have too. For some, rage and frustration at a game (electronic or not) is a completely foreign concept. For others, it's a life long battle. I am here to tell you the ultimate secret that has worked for me for years.

If something pisses you off, simply do something else.

Yup, that's it. Seriously. Our time on Earth is limited. If something is not engaging or entertaining you in a positive way, what's the motivation to continue? Yes, sometimes challenging things can be rewarding. Overcoming a challenging video game especially and the release of tension in the body can be a fantastic feeling. A few years ago, I managed to beat Henry in No More Heroes on the hardest difficulty (note: this is not my video or gameplay). I think I was sweating for real.

But what if I had gotten pissed about trying to beat his ass? Like, hair pulling and keysmashing? Would it have been worth it then? I would argue no, not really. Because what I would really end up remembering today is that I was pissed, and sweet victory would turn sour. Take my above example for Pokemon Ruby. I literally do not remember when or how I beat the Elite 4. I only remember being upset that my Groudon couldn't sweep everyone.

This doesn't have to apply to just video games. It can be anything. It can be any game with a human opponent, or something else that might frustrate or cause an anxious stir.

I promise that no one is standing over your shoulder telling you that you're not good. No one is telling you you're a quitter, or a failure, or a screw up. I am here to tell you that life is fluid, our interests or skill level ebb and flow like the ocean tide. That is to say, sometimes you put something down, sometimes you pick something up. That's what I am encouraging for you to do. Have the strength to put something down, and you'll be able to pick something new up. Do that at your leisure, not under stress.

Maybe you feel the ghost of shame or embarrassment behind you, when you think about dropping something or giving up. Ask yourself, have you ever shamed a friend or ally for putting something down? Of course not. You also don't stalk your friends wondering when they're gonna be a "good player", or when they're gonna be "a real artist", or whatever. I could think of a million examples, it literally doesn't matter, you do not judge your friends based on their interests and emotional response.

So why should you do that to yourself? You are your friend, too. So be nice and treat yourself.

I (unfortunately, maaany years ago) used to be a lot more argumentative online, and just generally be shittier to talk to. To which I would often find my cheeks would get hot and red when I was stressed and anxious. My rule for a long time has been, if my face gets flushed, it's over. Time to put the phone down, or turn off the game console. Maybe you could use a rule, or something to fall back on to relax.

Personally, playing a game I'm very familiar with can be a great de-stresser. Metal Gear Solid 1, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, almost any Mega Man game, familiarity will bring me some comfort. Same with movies. Any Godzilla movie will put me in a good mood when I'm down.

Being around other people is another factor that keeps me happy. When I go out to play the Pokemon Trading Card Game, it's never a bad vibe. We all lose, make misplays, or brick (out of our control!) sometimes. It's just as much a social event as it is a tournament. We all enjoy the game and that elates everyone.

The next time you're not enjoying a book or comic series, try another one. No need to push through to the finale, or the last book. If a game is bugging you, give it a rest and try another. Sometimes you just don't vibe with something. If you're feeling frustrated at trying to "get good" at something, take a step back and cut yourself some slack. Be your friend. You wouldn't tell anyone you like that they're not learning fast enough, or that they're not playing well enough, or that they're not justifying their own existence precisely enough.

Do you see what I mean? Be willing to be nice to yourself, there's often not a magical reward for getting through something aggravating. Help yourself when the heat is on by turning the burner off.

To put it all much more shortly...take it easy!