We revel in its ease of use. The colourful menus; freshly renewed content pampering our experiences as we run amok in our online fun bubbles. However, Xbox Live certainly can have its darker moments. Unfortunately I stumbled across one such moment this weekend.
So there I was chilling out on a Saturday afternoon, thinking of how to test my new internet connection; well what better way to test it, then to play a few games online! I fired up Halo and did some standard death match games. It was running ok. Not great, but not laggy. The games came and went, my finishing position staying in the centre of the leader board. Then I struck a problem.
The next game I fired up had some guy camping in the same spot with the sword. I don’t know about you, but nothing pleases me more then spending an entire game trying to remove said camper from camping spot. A few attempts went by and he caught me out each time. But instead of leaving my stationary corpse to rest in peace, he insisted on tea bagging my lifeless Spartan.
So it became a tea bagging war; a little bit of in game fun. He’d kill me and tea-bag my corpse, then I’d kill him and repay the favour. This continued for the duration of the game, which concluded with him in last place and me one place above him. Two minutes later, a message is in my inbox, from him which read: “Man you suck at Halo. You stupid – Yankee idiot. Go get a life.” Now, I’ve got no problem with a little bit of in game banter, but when it gets to private message level it becomes a little annoying.
“I’d suggest reading where my profile says I come from, oh and check the scoreboard whilst you’re at it. You came last – bitch”, was my ‘tactful’ retort.
Why couldn’t I just have ignored it?
The next few hours consisted of rather more abusive messages flying back and forth. I was getting so angry at this idiot, yet playing into his hands by lashing back at every response. It even got to a point where I was checking xbox.com whilst walking around town to see what he’d come up with next. I mean what the hell? I was getting stressed out up by probably a 14 year old child, somewhere in Coventry. I seriously wanted to go up there and rip his head off. It was dropping me in trouble too; every message had me swearing more and more at my phone, as the missus hung her head in shame that she was in the vicinity of this hot headed idiot. I got the last laugh, a speech about how filing a complaint will soon get him banned. I then blocked his account.
After the steam cleared from my ears, I got on with the day. Feeling a little embarrassed by how easily this fool had wound me up. But it leads me to think about whom else would be subject to such madness, such as children. Our children that just want to have fun online, but potentially could run into some people you really wouldn’t want them interacting with. I know it’s certainly made me feel about how online gaming will play a part in my children’s lives. Have any of you dear readers got younger kids who play online and communicate with other players? How do you censor them from all the hostility and idiocy that rears its head during most competitive games online?
I understand how there is parental controls in place to block communication, or online play altogether, yet it doesn’t take much thought to appreciate how many parents would be oblivious to these features. So where do we go from here?