Friday, 30 July 2010

Do kids add anything to online gaming?

Toolbox 24

By kids I mean adolescents. I mean annoying brats. I mean American Kids. I quite often play Red Dead Redemption on the PS3 along with da Monkey, and we often find ourselves in funny, albeit annoying, sparring matches with Yank kids who are – let’s be honest, thick as pig shit.

But don’t get me wrong. It’s not just the Americans. The amount of underage (for certain games) kids we play against on different games from the good ol’ U of K are also thick as pig shit, and lets be perfectly honest – not very good. Occasionally getting 1 kill after I’ve just killed them about 20 times then bragging about how much better than you they are. It’s just pathetic.

Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto IV (and EFLC), CoD, are all blinding games, but when you get some little punk who thinks he’s Gods Gift to Gaming just because mummy and daddy let him play online for an hour, it ruins it for the men and women who are legally allowed to play the game. They’re rated 18 or 15 for reasons, it’s the graphic content, it’s the language, it’s the themes.

My step-son (11 yrs old) plays the new Call of Duty games, and loves them. Plays them to death. But I find myself in a bind between allowing him to play these games – especially MW2 with it’s now infamous Airport scenario – and not allowing him to play them. The main driver behind him being able to play these games, I’m ashamed to say is almost peer pressure. “But Boy 1 and Boy 2 are playing them, and they always play online.”* – I’m not surprised by this comment, the pair of them are little shits. And I can quite imagine playing MW2 online and shooting the fuck out of the pair of them, or kids like them, because they get right on my tits. As do most kids.

So he is allowed to play them, heck, I played 18 rated games when I was under 18. Sure I did. Not many, because when I was under 18, most games I WANTED to play weren’t 18 rated. X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, Civilization II, Championship Manager (before the Eidos/SI split), etc to name but a few. But he is allowed to play these games, because kids are getting older, quicker. 11 years old can play them, because it’s cool. Like smoking, drinking and having sex. It’s cool. I challenge anyone to not know someone who lost their V-Plates WELL under the age of consent.

But to the point. Do kids add anything to playing online? Yes and no. Yes to the point that they become a common enemy to adults playing online, most people like to teach kids a lesson, and I’m no fucking different. And No. Because they aren’t good enough. They lower the level of play. And they almost never fail to annoy.

HAVING SAID THAT! I’m not one to tar everyone with the same brush. Some kids are actually really good gamers, compared to adults, some kids are genuinely funny. Like this one Canadian lad I once played online, who kept referring to me and my chums as “GOD DAMN WILLY WONKAS!!!”

A line that still has me in stitches. But then, kids aren’t very good…how will they improve for when they are legally old enough to pop a cap in yo virtual ass? I don’t mind my step-son playing CoD. I don’t mind him and his younger brother (8 yrs old) playing Left 4 Dead 1+2 together, or with me or their mum (possible guest writer Carriecakes). Just like me, I used to play FPS when I was growing up, I used to play 3rd Person shooters as well (GTAIII, Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, Doom etc). But these options were limited online. Jedi Knight I’d play with my mates only, through connecting via IP addys. GTAIII I’d play with my brother in law but it wasn’t online. And Doom I’d play on my own. In the dark. These games and others like it built a generation of gamers.

Kids now, are jumping too quickly from being allowed to simply play the 18 rated games, but play them publicly. Time will tell if it improves them as online gamers, or bores them by the time they’re old enough to be real gamers – able to buy their own games without asking mum or dad. “Online gaming? Nah I did enough of that when I was younger…” possible?

I’ve strayed here and there with the point, but my honest opinion is no, kids generally add little to online play. Games like CoD are mature themed games, which yes are beautifully crafted works of art, and fun as anything to play – but are rated 18 for a reason. But even though they add little to nothing, I think that they should still play, because they are in the vast minority, and those kids that do play online usually play with friends from school. And whenever I come across one in the virtual pastures of RDR or in the post-apocalyptical landscape of L4D, and they give me all the cocky lip that only an unseasoned n00b can give. I’ll blast the little fucker into next maths lesson.