** This blog was originally written and posted on February 26, 2009 at http://community.plus.net/blog/2009/02/26/love-thy-neighbour-or-catch-em-with-a-headshot/**
Working for Plusnet, there can be a lot of competition in the workplace: Who takes the most calls, who has the best quality of service (where our calls and tickets are checked to make sure that they are as good as they should be), and, you know what, competition is good, right? It actively pushes us to ensure that we are doing the best job that we can, and as a result, you guys reap the benefits by having a support team that are good at what they do and constantly strive to be better. I have always been competitive, and this doesn’t end at work. At home, my better half and I like to play Bomberman on Xbox Live Arcade. Now, I am a gentleman, but let my good lady beat me? I don’t think so!
Needless to say, Lisa doesn’t play me as much on Bomberman, so I need other people to beat. And for that I go online. There is nothing more humbling than playing online and getting beaten. Badly. And regularly. I have started playing Call Of Duty 4 online again, and when I first picked up this game, I played it through in one go. This is a fantastic game, and having completed it in around 20 hours, I thought that I must be pretty good. I paid for three months Xbox Live service, and immediately took it online.
For those of you who play online, you will know that there are people that play certain games online all of the time, and are therefore very good. I’m not one of those people, because I have a job, a fiancé, a child and a social life. I proceeded to get by bottom handed to me on a plate by these people. But I refused to give up, as my competitive streak kicked in, and the knowledge that, if you practice at anything, you will get better at it. So I practice and practice, and get better – in that I die less – but my bottom is still being served up. You see, as I am practicing, so are they. So what is a boy to do? You can always just set up a private game with people that you know aren’t on all of the time, and set a more level playing field, but that can be even more embarrasing than being beaten badly by people you don’t know. So I change games.
Over to the PC now, and about 18 months ago, around the time of the PlusNet Lan party, I bought The Orange Box on the PC, and immediately took a shine to Team Fortress 2.
This game is something else, a real joy to play and it has a very dark sense of humour twinned with cartoony graphics. Again, I get my rear kicked by people who play far more than I do, but given the right class (engineer or sniper) and I can just about hold my own. I once played this game for 14 hours solid, a combination of insomnia and a free weekend fuelling my efforts. Was I better at the end? Probably, a little, but combined with a beast of a headache and tiredness kicking in, it didn’t really matter.
Back to the Xbox, and friendlier games with friendlier people, I take Bomberman and Worms online against strangers, and can hold my own. I suspect this is because they are simpler games, and spending all day playing them won’t mean that you have specific strategies, but you will remain sharp. Even my friends are on the same level on here, John Dunning from tech support being someone that I regularly play online, and an old friend of mine, Belly (don’t ask).
In short, online gaming can be lots of fun. There can be downsides, like kids giving out smacktalk because that is all they can do, although you can mute them and they can vent until they are blue in the face, but there are also good friends to be made. My Xbox friends list is mainly comprised of workmates who like a game and people I have played with or against on games like Kane and Lynch, Pro Evolution Soccer and Call of Duty 4. At the end of the day, a lot of people who play online games are like you. Someone who wants to just play in a friendly environment with a healthy amount of competition. Feel free to add me on Xbox Live, my gamertag is Carl182. See you on there…..
This Community Content article was created by Carl182, a member of our community. Community Content is your way of getting long-form writing and opinion out to the Midlife Gamer audience, an open platform to get something off your chest. For full guidelines on our editorial standards and how to create your own post, click here. The views expressed within are those of the author and not necessarily the opinions of the Midlife Gamer Staff.