What Not To Do With Player Two

Teabagging Master Chief

Hi. I'm Player One. This is my friend, Player Two. He can't say anything because he doesn't have a mic, but I assure you: He's sitting right next to me on the couch. Player Two doesn't own an Xbox, so he comes over to use mine sometimes. I'm generous like that, because -- and let me whisper here -- He's kind of poor.

I'm a gamer. You can tell I'm a gamer because I have a fat stack of games over there, and the hardware to play them with. Ownership is access. Access is practice. And man do I practice.

Check out my Gamerscore. Yep, I earned all of those points. Except for the co-op achievements, which Player Two helped out with. When I say "help", I mean that he usually gets lost and falls to his death in a bottomless pit somewhere while I complete objectives. But he's getting better. Under my supervision, Player Two is almost ready to graduate to normal difficulty. I'm so proud -- It's like he's my very own newbie-baby.

Sadly, I'm not sure you can call Player Two a gamer, though. Are you a gamer if you don't buy any games? I haven't read any reviews lately that gush about "a stunning experience for the dude who drops by after school." Exciting multiplayer action is an important bullet-point on the back of the box, but we all know who those reviews are for: me, Player One, the guy who may-or-may-not break out the credit card at Future Shop next week.

Oh, now Player Two's all mad, says he knows way more about video games than I ever will. He reads Kotaku every day, like a big nerd. Well why aren't you any good then, huh Player Two? What's your Gamerscore?

Enough chit-chat. It's Halo time. Player Two, you'll be using the bottom screen as usual. No, your controller isn't broken. That one is just a little ... wonky. From the time I got robbed in Peggle. Accidentally threw it against the floor there. You can see the divots in the hardwood. It still works fine, but you need to make sure to always aim a bit to the left.

It's not like you ever get the sniper rifle anyway. You don't even know where it is.

Okay, let's go. No, we're not going to play co-op. I've played through the campaign like a billion times already. And we can't play local multiplayer because I'm a pro and you're a creampuff. No contest. We have to play on the internet.

Sign in as my guest. Press the A button. No, the other A button. What are you doing? Okay, there you are: Player One(1).

Just don't embarrass me this time. Don't shoot any teammates. Every time you do something stupid, people will remember my name. You know, you're lucky you don't have your own identity and reputation to maintain. It can be stressful. Sometimes haters give negative feedback, and it can be pretty devastating to see those five stars turn into four-and-three-quarters stars.

Let me set up your online profile here. You'll be a Master Chief in shocking pink armor, with a little heart for your insignia. Yes, I know pink is rarely useful as camouflage, but that's kind of the point. You're supposed to be a distraction. That's what guests are for.

It's your job to stumble around and draw enemy fire while I work on boosting my stats. 2.1 kill-to-death ratio, baby! If they're killing you, they're not killing me. Guests don't even have stats, so it's not like you care, right? You're a blank slate every game, just waiting to be inscribed with new mistakes. Think of yourself as a palimpsest of failure and Halo will be a lot more fun.

Okay, we're connected. Look, these players have guests as well! It's like we're all shepherds, bringing our sheep to hang out together. Except the shepherds on the other team are also wolves and you happen to have flamboyantly pink wool.

We've played this map before. You might not remember because you only ever get to see it split-screen, but it's a good one. I play it full-screen all the time when you're not here and the architecture is f*cking glorious. The sniper rifle is underneath the obsidian homage to Gloucester Cathedral's famous depressed arch, in case you were wondering. Yeah, that castle thing, you Philistine. Squint harder.

Here we go! What are you ... ? Oh, that's right. You need inverted controls. You want to fly Master Chief around like he's an airplane. That's ridiculous, but whatever. I don't know why it doesn't save your control preferences. I guess the developers at Bungie didn't figure you'd be coming over to play more than once.

Triple kill! Stupid guests didn't even see it coming. Where are you going, Player Two? We're playing Oddball. You have to chase the guy with the ... You know what, it's so obvious, you'll figure it out. Just watch my screen for pointers when you die. Oh look, you're dead.

Don't use that weapon. Nobody uses that weapon. It's nerfed and underpowered. You look like an idiot. Don't bother going for the sniper rifle, because I got it while you were waiting to respawn.

Christ, how did you do that? You just killed three of our own team with a sticky grenade. No, I'm not going to say sorry for you. There are no apologies on the internet.

"Hey Rofflecopter or whatever your name is, my guest says that if you get in the way of his grenade again he's going to come to your house and blow up your dog instead." Hah!

Did he just shoot you in the back? What a bastard. The crouching thing he's doing, that's called "teabagging." It means he's your internet boyfriend now. He must like your pink armor.

Game's almost over and we're taking these guys apart. I have nineteen kills! I can't help but notice that you're doing very poorly on the scoreboard though. You're the worst out of all the guests. You're getting out-guested. That's like coming last in the Special Olympics.

Hey wait! Where are you going? Don't slam the controller; that's my controller! Are you going home, Player Two? I still need somebody to play my girlie-girl sidekick in Resident Evil 5!

... Player Two?

Fine, I'll just go it alone. That split-screen nonsense was messing up my aim anyway. It's a real handicap. How do people expect to get better, playing like that? Barbaric.

Comments

All the inverted control freaks. I'm only flying when I'm flying, not when I'm on the ground and looking around.

I pissed myself about the inverted controls. Why the hell is it that each one of my "non-gamer" buddies want inverted controls? Last time I checked they've never owned a copy of Falcon 4.

Nice article.

So do players 3 & 4 experience an exponential growth in unpopularity, too?

Congrats on reaching the front page, Clem. Unbridled success and love await!

Great article! Welcome to the fold. I really like the narrative articles, but keep the variety coming!

Congrats!

For you inverted players, when I want to look up, I move my eyes up, not down.

Also, I lift up my chin.

So Player One is a total dick and Player Two doesn't know where the sniper rifle is.

Yeah, I'd rather be Player Two.

Great article!
I am an inverted player, and I believe it comes from playing flight sims in my youth. I solved my problem with Player Two by having him set up and use his own Gold Account. It works great because Player Three, and even my girlfriend Player Four, get to use it as well.

This article reminds me of a lot of my own interactions with my non-gamer friends.

Unfortunately, I do have a bit too much "Player One" in me. Not to the point of being a dick, but definitely to the point of getting frustrated. I have no problems with helping someone trying to learn to get invested in the long term (I've coached a few people in Demigod very nicely thank you), but a casual encounter with a diletante doesn't really interest me. The situation is best resolved for everyone involved by avoiding it altogether.

That being said, inverted FTW! It's all based on what you're used to. For a mouse, up is up because that's how it was in windows 3.1 For a joystick, up is down because that's how it was in flight games. That simple.

Congratulations Clemenstation, nice article.

I'm an inverted player as well. I think that it comes down to Wing Commander and Freespace, but it just always felt more natural to me.

A lot of Japanese games tend to have the default inverted for horizontal movement as well; I can't get on with that at all.

When I played Halo, I used inverted. I never really played FPSs on the PS2 and XBOX other than a little Halo with some friends. When I picked up COD2 for the 360, I used the default and have never looked back. Sometime in that time, my brain was able to make the switch from inverted to non-inverted. Maybe it was the hundreds of hours of Counter-Strike I played in those years.

Haha, great article. Hit a little close to home though. I remember in the old days, when my big brother would play Atari with his buds I'd get stuck with the wonky controller.

Looking forward to reading more of your stuff, although the bar may be set unrealistically high now.

Oh, I've been Player One - and Player Two.

Fortunately, using inverted controls has solved my P1/P2 identity issues, world hunger, and cancer. It also keeps me from getting tea bagged, which is a nice bonus.

-Great article.

Clemenstation wrote:

It is! Lucky winner! Take a screenshot and send it to Quintin_Stone. He will be performing the 'services'. :)

That is just a lie created by my political enemies. I am not a quitter; I am a fighter!

I am Player Two when I use my friends' consoles. For example, when Kurrelgyre and I were trying co-op Gears of War 2. In my defense, I never asked for inverted controls.

This is awesome. Very "Shouts & Murmurs."

Funny stuff Clem! Looking forward to reading more of your work.

Grats Clemenstation. T.O. represent!

Awesome article. I look forward to many more.

I, for one, didn't have to look up "palimpsest" and now I feel very special. Congrats, Clemenstation, a read worthy of GWJ front page!

Here I was thinking, "If I just stay on the front page, I won't have to listen to that stupid Clem guy." You haunt me no matter where I go.

P.S. Good writeup.

Dysplastic wrote:

That being said, inverted FTW!

Damn straight! I kick ass online and it's always...

IMAGE(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3426/3699591548_761a9b8bfe.jpg)

Welcome Chris!

And for the record, two things I will be stealing in the future:

There are no apologies on the internet.
Palimpsest of Failure

Congrats Clem! Very funny article.

Tuning in on the inverted controls, I just realized I play inverted because I first played Halo at a friends house (as player 2) and the controls were set that way.

Man player 1 is kind of a dick...

Clemenstation wrote:

...I read about a cognitive study once upon a time that found the average female takes a bit longer to come to grips with the FPS perspective (comprehending their relative location within a 3D space) than the average male. Thought that was a bit weird...

Do you have any more info on this study? I would love to learn more about it.
As a female that primarily plays (and prefers) FPS games, I'm curious as to what the 'norms' are regarding the genre. I'd have never thought that there could be a difference in the experience of playing various games between the two genders.

I would totally teabag player 1.

Amoebic wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:

...I read about a cognitive study once upon a time that found the average female takes a bit longer to come to grips with the FPS perspective (comprehending their relative location within a 3D space) than the average male. Thought that was a bit weird...

Do you have any more info on this study? I would love to learn more about it.
As a female that primarily plays (and prefers) FPS games, I'm curious as to what the 'norms' are regarding the genre. I'd have never thought that there could be a difference in the experience of playing various games between the two genders.

I would totally teabag player 1.

I saw something similar about architecture. Apparently women do struggle with 3D perception more, it isn't debilitating, it just means that some retraining is necessary. Obviously you have done this for yourself, so it no longer applies.

Inverted, non-inverted. I suck equally at either. I barely notice when I pick the controller up, but do prefer non-inverted.

I would be player 1 back in the days of null modem cables. I would invite my nephew over to play C&C all freaking night. We would play 1 or maybe 2 games. Filling time by creating staged skirmishes on screen. But I would always win. Always, I don't think he ever won. I also would not let him win because that is the player one I am. He would still come back every time tho, so he must have had some fun.

And congrats on the article.

Amoebic wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:

...I read about a cognitive study once upon a time that found the average female takes a bit longer to come to grips with the FPS perspective (comprehending their relative location within a 3D space) than the average male. Thought that was a bit weird...

Do you have any more info on this study? I would love to learn more about it.
As a female that primarily plays (and prefers) FPS games, I'm curious as to what the 'norms' are regarding the genre. I'd have never thought that there could be a difference in the experience of playing various games between the two genders.

I would totally teabag player 1.

You could do worse than to consult scholar.google.com. I did a quick search and found a book called Interacting With Video by Patricia Greenfield et al, scholar will link to it. There's some discussion about testing males and females with a video game (Empire Strikes Back) and also about the inherent problems with such testing. Self-selection is a big one, as is social norming. The chapter that can be found in Google Books also has references. I also found a freely available paper by Geary, Saults, Liu, and Hoard, published in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology in 2000, that looks like it covers some of this as well. Google search should find that too.

I haven't done much reading on this sort of thing (my interests in cognition lie elsewhere), but I do know that many studies involving male vs female characteristics are quite controversial. It's exceedingly difficult to prove that even if a difference is found, that said difference is somehow inherent to XX vs XY chromosomes, as opposed to being the result of years of conditioning or anything else. These studies must necessarily be as anthropological and sociological as anything else.

For any in-depth studies, you'd want to consult your local university library resources. Sadly, what gets reported on cognitive science in the popular press tends to be no better than their treatment of, say, video games. There is a fair bit of interest in such research though.

All that being said, I'd be all for teabagging Player 1. I've been Player 2, and turned and walked out, never to play video games with Player 1 again. I'm not generally good enough at video games to have found out if there's any Player 1 in me. And flying Master Chief like an airplane sounds like fun, especially if you want to really annoy Player 1 - maybe Player 2s could make swooshing noises too. "Neeeeroowww... oh, I died again. Respawn... ok, TAKEOFF! FWOOOSH! shhhh budda budda budda enh enh AHHHHH! CRASH! Respawn..."

I don't have anything to add, but nice work Clem