Friday, October 15, 2010

Radar? No.

Look. There's a serious debate that is currently waging in the small, but fiercely devoted, segment of our society who regularly engage in multi-player combat simulation video games. And by "small segment of our society," I mean a vast majority of males between the ages of 6 and 45. The debate is centered around a critical philosophical issue that may, to the untrained observer, seem trite and inconsequential. I can assure you, however, it is anything but.

Imagine you're in the game. Your weapon is at the ready. The landscape resembles something you've seen in a movie like Blackhawk Down, but this time you're controlling the action. You hit the "circle" button to crouch and take cover. You scan the horizon with your head on a swivel. Then, out of no where, you're knifed down by a player you didn't even know was behind you. Shocking? It happens more often than you might think.

Why didn't you know the player was behind you? Simple: The radar was turned off. The truth that may surprise you is that some players actually prefer this... and yes, I'm one of them.

Some players rely on the radar - like a metaphorical crutch - as this allows them to see where every player is on the board. This enables them to approach the action with a sense of knowing and readiness. They lurk around the corner fully aware that you're hiding behind a dumpster on just the other side. The benefit of this injustice is that it speeds up the game, and provides more opportunities for the frenzied exchange of bullets and explosives - thus raising the kill counts well into the double digits (in a 10 minute game).

By turning the radar off, as most purists and skilled players prefer, you level the playing field a little more. With a little stealth and patience, even rookies have a chance against the veteran-psychos, who we'll call "Jared." As you can imagine, however, there's a lot less action, as most of the time is spent with players carefully navigating the map in search of their enemy... and their next kill. Granted - the kills are fewer. But there's also an increase in satisfaction with each one.

Radar on or off? Which side will you take in this heated debate? I don't care.

But I've said too much.

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