Gaming Steve

February 18, 2008

Is Gaming Really to Blame? The Videogame FPS vs. The Real Life FPS


Gaming has recently been attacked yet again in the media following another terrible America school shooting. Mainly, games are being lauded as training tools for the perpetrators of these crimes, so I thought I would take my FPS skills into the paintball arena to see if games really have conditioned me to deal with shooting people and dealing with the consequences, and thus prove if they are to blame for society’s ills.

After watching FPS Doug on Pure Pwnage, who had a hard time comprehending the difference between gaming and reality, I was all set to go and test the respawn times and lag in real life.

From the beginning to the end of proceedings, it was a dangerous affair with what can only be described as a menagerie of vicious characters who would continue to shoot you when you were trying to get off the map.

Firstly, getting your friends altogether and organized is much more difficult in real life than in games, especially games with a decent party system such as Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3. Our group took a whole hour to finally get together.

Moreover, getting to the indoor arena took a solid fifteen minutes, which is a massive difference to the quick loading games we experience on our consoles.

So far, I was not impressed, and this mood did not improve when I discovered that it would cost me £31 of my own money for the pleasure, and a minuscule amount of ammo that I would normally use in the first five minutes of any FPS.

The worst was yet to come, as we were all handed Killzone-esque masks, a big boiler suit, and was forced to stuff my poor coat into a locker and wear some incredibly muddy shoes. How anyone could fight in this attire, I do not know.

When I play FPS, I just wear whatever I want and sit down in front of my glorious TV; I don’t have to dress up. However, I’m reliably informed that some fanboys and cosplayers wish to dress up in the attire associated with their favourite games when they play them, which I can assure you is not my bag.

Then, just as I thought we would be going to lay the smackdown in the arena, the “Marshall” took us into a bizarre little classroom to teach us how it all works. The controls are actually pretty good in real life actually, a lot of the stuff such as jumping and getting into cover are done automatically, and there’s only a trigger when firing a gun, and now pesky grenades to worry about.

However, reloading is completely flawed, you had to actually open each canister and open the cartridge to fill it up. When I discovered this, I was suitably outraged, but carried on in the name of good journalism regardless. This “Marshall” business was not what I was expecting though, if a game tried to bark orders at me during a multiplayer showdown, I would just ignore it and dish out my own brand of justice.

Going on to talk about the respawning system, I did inquire about this to the aforementioned “Marshall”, and was informed that there are no respawns, at least not in his religion. Moreover, there was not a lot of lag during the games, but we were only playing with 10 players, and we were all interfacing over real-life connections.

Also, the rumble and force feedback seemed to be much more pronounced in real life, and you could actually tell where you have been shot, which proved to be a vocal point of discussion. “That one in the head hurt” said one person, “I’m sore after that one” proclaimed another. Is this really a good thing? Surely us gamers enjoy games because they don’t kill us.

Furthermore, there were yet more differences between FPS and real life. Did you realize that you don’t get a HUD when playing paintballing? You have no indication of ammo, no on-screen reticules, and your helmet gets incredibly dirty and fogged up.

However, the difference in graphics and definition was so pronounced that it proved gaming has a long way to go to match their real-life equivalents. I’ve heard that real-life runs even better than the 1080p 24 Frames Per Second pinnacle of technology, and the screen size is simply incredible, offering a maddeningly expansive panoramic format.

The sound was also pretty good as well, going beyond that 7.1 barrier and achieving full 3D sound. All this contributed to the amazing atmosphere, which was much more involving, scarier, and fun than that of Team Fortress 2, for example.

So what did my hundreds of hours of gaming teach me about fighting in the real world? According to the media, I should have been a fully-trained one man army, having powers akin to that of Rambo.

In actuality, I was scared, tired, bruised, and actually terrible at shooting my enemies. I was so bad that other people had to humour me after my pitiful performance. I used up all my ammo over the course of one round, I couldn’t hold the gun right, I couldn’t take cover properly, and I was shot. Jack Thompson would probably be better at paintball than me.

The media has lied to me once more, and I am quite disappointed actually, and I guess we have to look in different places for something to blame.

Posted by Chris Holmes at 9:00 PM | Comments (9) | Posted to Culture | Feature |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

Yeah, I had a similar experience a while back, and was sorely disappointed with my own performance, I'm usually quite adept at FPS games.
I have to agree that the graphics are amazing, as well as the sound. Textures are amazingly detailed!

Anyone have any RL Cheats?

Posted by Psilontech at February 18, 2008 11:10 PM

I really like how you described that. Thanks for the article.

Posted by Ben M at February 19, 2008 1:19 AM

I can't imagine how it would be living in a place where videogames apparently kill people and guns save them. Twilight zone, anyone?

Posted by Sonny at February 19, 2008 5:22 AM

Really nice article... I really like it...

In real life, i'm quite a good sportsman. I have above average reflexes... and by gaming, I only improve my hand-eye coordination. I'm not a very good gamer, although my reflexes and hand-eye coordination help a bit in my gaming skill.

In relation to you article, I would say gaming and RL are truly different, but they can live together in harmony... and contribute to each other...

Great work, Chris

Posted by Dee at February 19, 2008 8:20 PM

Games can make a person insane, but that person is mentally instable.

Such a person should not be allowed to play games.

Still, it's horrible how someone can kill people for no real reason.

Posted by Holiace at February 20, 2008 9:02 AM

It's the parents duty to make sure that their kids play or not.

Posted by Holiace at February 20, 2008 9:03 AM

Games are not to blame for making someone go insane... the insane person is... or at least the people responsible for the aforementioned insane person

my point is: you shouldn't go insane from playing videogames, and if you do... well, that's all your fault

that's how i see it

Posted by HarvesteR at February 20, 2008 3:20 PM

I’ve felt your pain... After watching the report from Jack Thompson, I realized with all the counter strike I “train” on, I should be a perfect shot, gun master. Because of this I headed down to my local range… needless to say I walked out the laughing stock of the entire place. I could barely carry the gun let alone make any shots in. I felt so cheated by Jack Thompson and I will never be able to show my face at that range again. Curse you Jack Thompson, look what pain and humiliation you have caused me. Curse you!

Posted by Hanin Nymus at February 21, 2008 10:56 PM

Hmm... I'll have to try this "real life" you speak of. Is it similar to that one game on the HUM-AN console called Laser Tag?

Posted by mythicalmonk at February 22, 2008 11:10 PM
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