Video Game Sociological Study – Written October 7, 2002

I live in an apartment. My two mates and I have a few pastimes, one of which is substance abuse, as we are in a college apartment complex. The true tradition of our house, however, is the video game.

Throughout the last month that we have lived here, furniture has been moved around numerous times to accommodate wall decorations, other furniture, plants, and the like. Furniture placement in a living room full of movies and video games is particularly important. Our most recent (as well as most drastic) change has been viewed by all that have seen it as, “Phat.” The furniture is now arranged so that everyone can view the television with ease, and a full four players can access the Nintendo 64.

As it is the year 2002, the N64 is somewhat outdated. Bigger and better systems have moved in with the PlayStation II and X-Box. However, the N64 has one thing that makes it one of the best systems. It has 007 James Bond Goldeneye. This game creates an atmosphere in my living room that is virtually inconceivable if one was not to view it with one’s own eyes. Testosterone leads to machismo and instinct takes over in what can sometimes be a vicious melee between men who normally are allies.

007 James Bond Goldeneye, which is simply called “Bond” in my house, is an entirely different game. In this game of cat and mouse, players attempt to shoot each other in a “first-person” view in what amounts to very dramatic situations and violent death scenes. At first, when one considers two players, it sounds rational. When three or more players are involved in a game of Bond, it is all-out war. Depending on the Bond connoisseur, style will vary greatly. There are two essential styles: pissed and chill.

Pissed is when one yells and screams in some sort of strange attempt to scare the opponents, which doesn’t work. The real payoff is when opponents begin to yell back, which in turn distracts them and they subsequently are murdered.

Chill is when a player is completely calm in what he is doing. I have few friends that consistently play this way, but it is a true skill envied by many. Emotion is totally kept at bay and the player plays simply for the game. No grudges occur and no threats are made by this style, and it is arguably the best playing style for the game.

The first type of game is what is known as “a massacre.” This occurs when playing one good player against three medium-level or worse player. The good player will almost never speak, but the proletarians do not shut up. This is a phenomenon that is very difficult to understand because the expert is killing everyone, but the three others who only get a few kills in scream and yell at each other, but never the professional. However, if there are four or more players who are proficient enough to have twenty or more kills in ten minutes, the battle truly begins.

In a ten minute game with four players scoring an average of twenty kills each, there is one kill every thirteen seconds. That leaves about fifteen seconds between death and another potential death to find the opponent, trick or psych him out, and kill him. This allows for faster game play and much more distraction. Players can get on a streak and kill for five to ten straight minutes without dying. The violence is out shadowed only by the noise, which often gets the people above us banging on their floor.

In other games, however, the mood changes entirely. If two Bond Elitists are matched against each other, regardless of style, a true game of honor can occur. Instead of “I’m going to rips your arms off and beat you with them,” one can hear “Good shot.” Compliments are not frequent, but real trash-talking is rare. Usually the worst is, “I’m coming for you. You’re dead. Don’t even try. You’re de-” and then someone dies. The game is played by professionals as a professional game. It ceases to be a video game and becomes a tool of communication, easily paralleled by two rams butting heads. Granted, it is more civil, but the foundation is the same.

007 James Bond Goldeneye allows for a method of recreation that is unparalleled in contemporary America. What is better than being angry at someone and getting to kill them over and over again? Yes, Bond is truly a method of therapy for me, but for my house it’s just another tradition.

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