Some people, let's call them "idiots", tend to dismiss everything about video games as something dorky and embarrassing. That kind of attitude is of course ludicrous, but all kinds of hobbies can turn embarrassing if the person with the hobby is embarrassing enough. After collecting a few awkward gaming stories from here and there, we decided to compile a list of this. Embarrassing gaming habits!
With a great interest of gaming the Gamereactor staff is of course regularly embarrassing themselves and we would, if we dared, plead guilty to several of the habits that are about to be listed. We won't tie any names to any part of the list (except for Bengt Lemne and nr. 2), out of respect of our sources.
Without further ado: The 10 Most Embarrassing Gaming Habits!
10. Portable toilet gaming
We're going to start off easy. Something fairly un-controversial. But sneaking your portable console to the bathroom for the slightly longer, entertainment-demanding visits, is perhaps not an activity you brag about for your friends and family. Or write in your resumé. We would just like to remind you that the choice of game before the session is as important as your diet; consume something light. A time-consuming RPG is a bad idea, speedy titles like WarioWare or Mario Kart DS are optimal. As a rule of thumb: end the session when your battery light turns red or when your legs feel numb.
9. Imitating game characters
It's fun to pretend. Leaving your everyday persona on the hat rack and being someone else for an afternoon. But it's easy to lower the bar from "cult-ironic" to "completely nerdy" and when you start quoting your gaming heroes in real life we urge you to be careful. Answering the phone with "it's a-me, Marcus!" is not recommended. Duke Nukem's "What are you waiting for, Christmas?" in the ATM line is not as witty as you think.
Complete extreme makeovers, when you actually hammer together that Mega Man-costume out of blue lightweight metal, is also a hot potato. Some people (technically adults), infected by a virus called "cosplay", do this regularly and have somehow given the dressing-up a right to exist. Yes, these people are greeted by smiles. But look closely, they are always crooked.
8. Solitary Guitar Hero-headbanging
A Tuesday night, or something like that. A pint of Pepsi. "My Les Paul", as you call it, is picked up and you get down to business. You start to "rock". If someone would peer through your closed curtains they would be startled, possibly traumatised, by the ambitious but painfully failed attempts at cool scenic moves in front of your Guitar Hero: World Tour or Rock Band.
Your headbanging looks like a hen getting a whiplash, your Pete Townsend-windmills get stuck in the ceiling fan and your Neil Peart-impersonation behind the plastic drums makes your arms look like two meat logs caught in a tropical storm. Nothing wrong about this, really. But terribly embarrassing.
7. Queuing longer than six minutes for the gaming store's demo stations
The demo stations, the gaming stores answer to the public restroom, are often popular and the cause of long lines. For how long is it OK to stand in line without looking desperate? The answer, for a human adult, is six minutes. Not a second longer. Regardless of how good the game is, how much you've longed for it, you always reach a point after 360 seconds that make you look like a disgusting urban pigeon, desperately waiting for a mouth-full of a german tourist's hot dog bun. Go take care of some other errands instead. Circulate. Strut around. (And get back just before the store opens the next day).
6. The use of the word "epic" without referring to grand narratives in literature, theatre or films
Don't do it. ...please.
5. Organizing your game collection
We have nothing against order. Storing the right disc in the right box and stacking your games neatly in your TV furniture is healthy and normal. It's when you use certain systems for organizing that the "ding ding" of the warning bells can be heard.
Show me your gaming sorting method, and I will tell you who you are - C.G. Jung.
Interestingly enough, you can actually distinguish certain character traits, namely different kinds of mental illnesses, by looking at how a gamer sorts his games. Let's take a look at some of the most common sorting methods and which characteristics they are connected to:
You sort your games by platform and/or alphabetically: you are fairly normal, may have some unreleased tension, you are shy on weekdays, don't say no to a nice cup of Earl Grey at nights and have all the possibilities of living a normal life.
You sort your games chronologically: you are attractively aggressive, suffer from megalomania, you probably have a criminal record and/or psoriasis and prefer to sleep under the bed.
You sort your games by developer: you're in the borderland between human being and animal, you think that Spongebob Squarepants actually exists, and you're planning a big, big birthday party for no one in particular.
4. Bragging about gaming achievements
Like a curly fry, this is a hot and twisted potato. Some things actually can be impressive; the world record on Donkey Kong, a huge gamerscore on Xbox Live or a 14 step-parry against Chun Li's special move in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike; and at the same time be extremely embarrassing to brag about. If you have a huge achievement you want to brag about, you have to be cunning. Steer the conversation to the game in question, without telling people your record straight out. To get people asking "what's your record then?" requires extreme skills in psychology, but when you succeed you have avoided the embarrassing part with elegance.
3. Picking your ear with the DS stylus
A look the right. No-one's looking. A glance to the left. All clear. A quick spring cleaning in your ear canal later and you feel like a new man, ready to deal with the next Dragon Quest-fight or Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars-mission. A reusable plastic stick is more environmentally sound then a Q-tip, something that will ease your shame in energy-saving times such as these, but you should be aware of how low you've sunk if you've ever tried this. When Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime talked about the multiple uses of the DS Stylus that day in 2004 he had a point indeed. A messy, embarrassing point...
2. Looking up the skirts of Soul Calibur-characters
Oh no. This is not embarrasing at all. You are interested in "character design". Clothes and stuff. That's why it's perfectly OK, in a Soul Calibur 4-fight between Ivy and Sophitia, to pause the game at the exact moment to try and get a look at their underwear. It's perfectly natural for a gamer of your age. It's when you try to find Yoda's private parts that we get worried.
Readers aware of gender issues will notice a certain amount of generalisation in this and will say "hey, it's not just guys who play video games!" Absolutely right, but we'll unleash a powerful queer-counter-move right back at you - it's not just boys that look up girls skirts either. Touché!
1. Stroking your new console
You've just polished your new console for the fourth time and placed it at the exact centre of its own shelf. The black or white surface sparkles, and you are filled with a sense of pride of the newest addition to your gadget family. Then it happens. You put your hand on the machine and stroke it. And it feels good.
Your understanding of the concept known as love in this moment is deeply disturbed. What should be a loved one, a friend, a house plant or a border collie has been exchanged for something dead, something fabricated. If you must fondle like that, think of this: stroking is only one step from kissing. Two steps for unmentionable activities.
But once again... we've done this ourselves.