Roxana-Mălina Chirilă

Computer games DO make you violent

Today I felt sort of like crap. I think there’s some sort of virus striking at random and it was my turn to feel as if I were hit by a particularly nauseating bus. So I wrote a bit and played a bit. World of Tanks, because it’s apparently what I play nowadays.

So here I was, in my amazingly fast and sort of powerful tank, dashing across the map like a mad motorcyclist in Greek traffic, feeling sort of gleefully suicidal (you play awhile more seriously and then you want to do something crazy, I suppose). So I went straight through the enemy lines (well, most of them had moved elsewhere, but still), past bigger tanks, stronger tanks, better tanks shooting at me and, for once, not hitting.

Near the enemy base, I saw their artillery, in the open – higher level than mine, I think, but they’re wonderfully weak in close combat, even if they’re amazingly annoying when they shoot you down from half the map away. So I head straight towards it, shooting and hitting just fine. Its health points (or whatever the hell tanks consider health) go down, lower and lower. 80%. 55%. 30%. 15%.

Oh, yeah. For once, I am totally acing this. My suicidal tendency is paying off and I’m not just, you know, dying. I get to take a huge annoyance out with me – and maybe even live to tell the tale.

And just as my gun is reloading and I’m about to shoot one final time…

I get this window opening in front of my game. Yahoo messenger. My nemesis.

Person: hey
Person: needs some help
Person: any ideea what this means?
Person: 択時


I keep the ‘w’ button down, to keep moving. Even if I can barely see where I’m going. I try to figure out how to close a damned window without changing the window you’re on, possibly telepathically.

No luck. Cursing and about to rip Google translate to pieces for not materializing in front of every person wanting to ask me a question related to Japanese (or English), I switch windows really fast and try to get back to the game.

Except my tank is dead. See, no matter how realistic a game like this might be, no matter how well researched, how good in imitating life and so forth, it will always have one feature that will never destroy a tank in real life, but which will destroy a tank in gaming: the edge of the map. I’d crashed into it, stopped, become a sitting duck and got shot down. Probably by the very artillery I had been about to shoot down.

Noob mistake, I suppose. I left my messenger on. And experienced the profound wave of violent feeling that computer games are reputed to have. I had never believed those rumors, but the messenger window proved me wrong. Curses!!!

(also, I have no idea what that means and my dictionary is shrugging at me; for some reason whenever people want me to decipher Japanese for them, they seem to have acquired really odd stuff)

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