‘Gaming is not a real sport’
This is the mother of all mistakes, and opens the floodgates for endless arguments. Not only will these cursed words send your gamer into a fit, it is also not true – gaming is a sport. An eSport to be exact.
These organised competitions have been a part of the gaming culture for a long time, but has only gained popularity in the late 2000s. [Neat titbit I discovered writing for this post]
Depending on which game it is, there are national and international tournaments, small divisions, big leagues, million dollar first-prizes, sponsors, and commentators. All the nitty-gritty stuff you’d find in a ‘real sport’.
For those who still doubt me, I present to you The International [TI] Dota2 Championships.
Hosted by Valve Corporation and broadcasted live, TI is the largest tournament to ever take place in eSports with 16 international, professional Dota 2 teams competing for a prize pool of over US$18 million.
Do your own thing
Don’t hover in the background, pawing for attention, when your gamer is playing.
It’s not worth it and it won’t work.
Use this time to do your own thing – explore your hobbies or catch-up on work. Just being there is enough support for your gamer and the occasional ‘good job baby’ will suffice. When your gamer’s character dies, a simple sad expression or a shake of the head will do.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discouraging you from watching him/her play. I’ve found the occasional game-viewing quite fun and I know my gamer appreciates my showing interest.
There are a few things that are as infuriating to a gamer as lagging.
Lagging is generally caused by a slow computer, a slow internet connection, or too many people using the same internet line simultaneously. This causes a delayed response in the game which leaves your gamer powerless for a few milliseconds.
This might not seem so bad, but it can be the difference between life and death in a game.
Don’t be too eager to jump on your gamer with soothing words and affectionate hugs when this happens. Sometimes they need space. Sympathy can come across as patronising.
You know your gamer. Go with what he/she will find most comfort in.
‘Can you teach me?’
Consider carefully before asking.
This can result in as much enjoyment as it can evolve in to a disaster. For a start, I can guarantee you the game is much harder that it seems.
Depending on your gamer’s patience and encouragement, the process of actually learning the ropes can be quite frustrating. Of course this does not apply to every game or gamer, and there’s the serendipitous chance that your casual flirtation with gaming might turn in to a solid relationship.
If so, good for you.
Some gamers are embedded with the will to win. This is not something you can change and neither something that they will set aside, even if the first-time gamer is their partner.
If you manage to outplay your gamer, bear in mind the damage this does do their egos.
If you manage to find the right balance where you’re competent enough to join in play, be advised that they will never forget this.
Win or lose
Ah, the outcome of the war.
This is tricky as what can be considered a ‘win’ might not have the excited or celebratory aftereffect, and in turn what might seem as a ‘lose’ could in fact be useful to your gamer.
Watch your gamer’s reaction carefully and act based on that. If he/she is seemingly happy, show your own excitement in their victory. If they are too silent or clearly not satisfied with the outcome, be wary.