My best friend and I play this game, it doesn’t matter which one is it, the important bit is: it’s combat-oriented, you gain gold for killing neutral monsters and player champions, it requires timing and knowledge of the character you are playing play/are playing against. He asked me to play me versus him, in order for him to practice, while I share some advice on how to get better and what he should change/when it’s obvious he’s about to make a move/when is the right time to react etc. I’m playing that game far longer than him, it’s normal that I’m better at it, but I always feel really guilty because it seems he gets really frustrated and down because of it. He falls even more into his insecurities and becomes down-spirited, although he says it helps him improve (and it does) – yet I always feel bad.
Today, I was really tired and sleepy and was not paying attention nor fully concentrated, plus there was another player watching he wanted to impress (in order to prove himself), basically, we were even, but in the end the match ended being in his favour (for the first time). During it, while he was ahead, he said „This is fun :D From now on we always play when you’re sleepy lol“. And for the first time he said „Good game“ when the match ended, while before, when he had a worse score than me, he’d say nothing in that sense. I wouldn’t say „Good game“, I was doing it because he wanted me to help and I didn’t really have fun playing against someone who is trying his best yet still failing just because I had more time on my hands to get better at it. Nor was I having fun since I felt my friend is feeling bad because of his lack of skill, which he shouldn’t feel bad about in the first place, it just takes time. Not like games are designed for 190+ IQ.
I was incredibly angry and sad at the same time. I felt as some sort of a toy in order to boost his ego, a puppet in order to impress some random guy he doesn’t even know nor should care about what he thinks of him, and now it was fun – but before? Not it was fun when he was winning, being better than me, superior than me? All those other 1 versus 1 matches, what? They weren’t fun? Why are we playing –a game-, if it’s not for fun? To prove ourselves? Honestly? What do we have to prove to each other, we’re already friends?
Then I realized, at some points in these matches, I too would stop thinking about fun sometimes and would kill his champion in order to prove my superiority and how I can win against him easily, to make myself feel better or give an excuse to myself for a mistake I’ve made. I’d advise him what he could’ve done to prevent me killing his champion etc., but still, I had that feeling inside of me, even for a short time.
Why is everything about being the best and winning?
Mortal Kombat or Tekken 3, the narrator: You win!
Pokémon opening theme: “I want to be the very best”
Your teachers: You need to be the best in class in order to get into whichever college you want!
Your parents/Job adviser/Anyone: You need to be the best worker so you get recognize and become provided with all the material needs you want/require!
Yourself: I need to get better at <insert>, so people will notice me.
Is it really that important to win? Couldn’t “Hope you had fun!” have sufficed? Is showing superiority against somebody/to somebody what really motivates us?
There are 6 billion other people on the planet. You are not going to be the best. Stop proving yourself to someone, stop proving your worth to yourself. You are worthy. Be you. If it’s fun, if it’s what you want, do it. When it stops being that, stop doing it.
Yes, you have to be the best in class in order to get into whichever college you want, that’s how the system works, but not if it’s making you feel bad and affecting you negatively in general. You’re smart, you’re young, no, you will not end on the street if you don’t get into UCLA. No, you don’t have to be the best worker, you have to be a good worker. Good, in general, in all qualities, not excelling in one particular field.
Society, stop turning everything into a goddamn competition.
Stop planting subconscious ideas into my head which make me compete against my friend(s). They’re my companions, my allies, not my opponents or someone I have to prove my worth to. I don’t have to prove anything.
I think, therefore I exist. I exist, therefore I’m proving myself to everybody.
They wouldn’t be my friends if they didn’t think I’m “worthy enough”.
Why does everything have to be measured?
It’s an unnecessary and a negative system. How do you define best, in a field such as photography for example anyway? 6 billion people, those are 6 billion brains, who will pick a different photograph from 6 available ones and grade it as “the best”.
Who then decides which one is the best?
Or do they compete against each other?
Fight in the mud?
This world is barbaric. And they say we evolved. Spinning in circles, tip-toeing in one place.
[More questions than answers, really.] ~ Luka