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The VGM Lover

Why do I hit myself when I fail at a game?

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The VGM Lover

2 years ago, I made the biggest mistake I could ever have made as a gamer, and that was to go competitive.

Smash Bros used to be among my all time favourite franchises, finding so much joy in unlocking tracks, characters, stage parts (Brawl), then in Smash 4, I decided to try the online features. All I wanted to do then was keep trying, and up my win rate. The more I did it, the less I achieved, the angrier I got at myself, and the more I hurt myself. It got to the point where I would have to warn people of how I normally behave when playing Smash nowadays, and I would spend far too long in such a depressing mood trying to decide whether or not I want to take the risk of displaying my 'normal' behavior again when I feel like playing it.

Now this behavior is extending beyond that game. A long time ago, I tried going competitive in 2012 and 2013 Call Of Duty games for the Wii U. The exact same behavior occurred, and it's worse here, because now I feel that if I can't accomplish something on hardened difficulty, I can't play COD at all. I deem myself unworthy of playing the game.

But what's really getting me to ask this question now is that this behavior is now extending to games that aren't even competitive.

It occurred to me a few minutes ago that I just hurt myself while playing what's supposed to be a fun and harmlessly challenging platformer called Shovel Knight: Specter Of Torment. I was now deeming myself unworthy of being able to represent my favourite character, Specter Knight, because I made too many mistakes, died too many times, and lost too much gold.

And now for the question: Why can't I stop feeling so ashamed of myself for failing?

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OneUnder

At the end of the day, video games are meant to be a fun outlet to engross yourself into.  Some may present difficult challenge, while others may convey more of a cinematic-like experience.  They're assuredly not intended for you to become so enraged that you begin to incur self-inflicted bodily injury as a result. 

Seek professional help.  I'm fairly certain that none of us are licensed or otherwise trained psychologists or behavioral analysts - you would probably benefit from one's services in this case. 

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Dr. Orange

Well the first mistake was playing Call of Duty on a Wii U. Like how do you even play that game on anything but a PC or Xbox/PS4?

But remember it takes 10,000 hours to get great at something. I've put 750h into TF2 and I suck something else.

Keep practicing and going at it and the rewards will pay out.

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Sylono

The only problem here is playing COD on the Wii u, bet you don't even go hard mode on zombies.

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The VGM Lover
 

But remember it takes 10,000 hours to get great at something. I've put 750h into TF2 and I suck something else.

Keep practicing and going at it and the rewards will pay out.

I will be DEAD, after too much head-smashing, before I can put in 10,000 hours. I don't believe in time equaling progress, as I put 2 years into practicing Smash, the first year being almost EVERY SINGLE DAY, and didn't make a lick of progress.

 

The only problem here is playing COD on the Wii u, bet you don't even go hard mode on zombies.

There's a hard mode in the zombies mode? Also, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? Modes especially, the 360 and Wii U versions are IDENTICAL to one another, except for one key factor: The Wii U version supports Motion Controls. COME AT ME!

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ArwingFan

Certainly know this feel. I thought my scores in SF64 were good, then I saw the monster scores posted online... 

My advice is ask yourself why do you want to go competitive? Would you rather go through immersive campaigns or co-op, or go against peers of the same skill level?

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The VGM Lover

@ArwingFan#1 To prove 'I can', and to finally stop feeling depressed and ashamed of myself. #2 The problem with that question is I would choose either anyways, based on what I feel like doing. The problem for me is that my desire to prove my skills, and 'properly' represent the skills of the character, and of course, stop dying, is resulting in a bar that's too far beyond what I am capable of, and don't want to lower.

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Snys93

Fear of failure is a common fear and losing is a depressing feeling. Believe me, I know what you're going through, I've been there.

I've often asked myself, "where did the fun end?" Games are supposed to be challenging but not too challenging when they cease to be fun. Otherwise it's not a game but work and I hate working. So why would I boot up my PlayStation just t get my ass handed to me? I'm in it for the challenge but I also need fun. Too much Dark Souls is unhealthy, so I booted up Crash Bandicoot...

I went back to Dark Souls...

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The VGM Lover

Perhaps... at some point, I will. Just, not where I'm in right now. :( 

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Terramax

Whilst not to the extreme as the OP, I found myself recently getting upset with ARMS online. I used to get pretty worked up and curse when beaten in some matches.

My method for those particular games now is, when I get defeated, to immediately put the Switch down, clap, and praise the winner for their good gaming skills. Also, I take satisfaction in myself for being able to congratulate and acknowledge someone else's talents rather than focus on my lack of it. There's something to be said for people who are humble enough to admire the greatness of others.

Similarly, for years, I used to play Mario Kart for the sole purpose of getting 1st place every time, and would get upset every time I was in 1st place, only to lose it because of the game's arbitrary weapon and rubber banding. But now, I've learnt to accept the game isn't so much about winning, but enjoying the unpredictability. Since that time, I've come to enjoy the game MUCH more. Generally, I'm happy so long as I reach the top 4. Again, a more humble way of playing.

I would say the first step is, before you go online again, make a plan what you plan to do when the inevitable happens. Take the neccessary steps, whether it be putting the controller down and taking deep breathes, congratulating the competition, eating a snack, squeezing a stress ball, reminding yourself it's just a game, etc.  Similarly, try tricking yourself into thinking and playing in a completely different mindset i.e. don't think about just winning. Think about other aspects that make the game enjoyable, whether it's the unpredictability, the rush you get during the best moments, etc.

Another thing to try is mixing things up by playing some other, non-competitive, non-online games between. OR, play the single player modes in Smash Bros, etc. Smash Wii U has a tonne of single player modes, right? Why not try to be a pro at some of those other modes? I always admire youtubers who tend to focus on being magnificent in single player campaigns.

Check out this youtuber:  

https://www.youtube.com/user/PiccoloCube/videos

This person rarely plays online, but he's absolutely god at the games he chooses to focus on. He has a whole bunch of Smash vids to take note of too.

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