We Vs. Me

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Signs of the Times

A website complains about software patches that turns Unreal into an automated killing field.

A trivia team brings computers stuffed with encyclopedias every week to beat the opposition.

Two presidential campaigns give lip service to accuracy and democracy, but do everything possible to include “our votes” and throw out “theirs.”

What do they all have in common?

It’s the triumph of “Me” over “We.”

Sportsmanship = Sucker?

Winning is not everything. It is not the only thing. You can’t have a game if it is.

A contest is meaningless unless it is played within a set of rules agreed upon by the contestants. Some rules are written. Some aren’t.

I’m sure there is not a single rule for any major sport that says, “Murder is not allowed.”
I doubt any fishing contest has as a rule, “You cannot use dynamite.” The contestants don’t need to have that spelled out to them. They know there are limits, and they have brakes to their competitive engines.

Until the retarded show up.

Somebody’s Got To Ruin It For Everybody

By retarded, I don’t mean those with true mental disabilities or challenges. I mean those otherwise normal people who are so emotionally handicapped by their egos that their brains will not or cannot comprehend what a contest really is.

Have you ever played with a small child who tells you, “Let me win!” All he understands is the winning part, nothing else? Well, these people haven’t gotten beyond that.

Having watched and attempted to reason with one such group for an extended period, it seems to me that this is how they think.

  • The contest exists so they can win and you can lose to them. Period.
  • All that matters is winning; it doesn’t matter how.
  • If it isn’t prohibited in writing, and there aren’t cops all around to enforce it, it’s OK.
  • “We are the champions, what aids? You’re cheating us of the fruits of victory!!”

    Some Personal Observations and Opinions

    It’s important to understand this mindset, because it’s impossible to reason with it.

  • Concepts like sportsmanship just don’t compute.
  • Explaining that the use of artificial devices makes the game meaningless doesn’t compute.
  • Explaining that only those unwary of what they’re doing might have some respect for them doesn’t compute.
  • Explaining that their actions ruin the game for other people doesn’t compute.
  • Explaining that they’ll drive away other players doesn’t compute.
  • Explaining that in the long run others will just do the same thing and take away their advantage doesn’t compute.

    Because none of that matters.

    Only “I won” matters.

    (BTW, we’re talking about middle-aged people here. This is not “our youth are going to hell” at all; the Presidential campaigns aren’t composed of juvenile delinquents, either. Well, the triviots do come from LA, where “image is everything” is nearly a religious doctrine.

    You have to wonder what these folks do to celebrate. Do they carry their computers around on their shoulders? Do they name software packages as “MVP?” Actually, that would make more sense than what they actually do, congratulate themselves on being so smart.)

    They’re oblivious to anything else. The only cheating they see is you cheating them out of their glory by talking about their little helpers.

    One person who was involved with using computers in that trivia game justified their use with “it enhances our enjoyment of the game.” Left upspoken was “and screw everybody else.”

    This particular game is broadcast via satellite to thousands of places in the U.S. and Canada. The company that does this obviously cannot afford to hire the Trivia Gestapo to enforce any rules that can’t enforce themselves, so they don’t do anything about this.

    Over the course of a couple years, a few places have gone “Borg,” as the practice is now called, and they usually are on top of the leader board or very close to it each week. Despite literally years of abuse from others, the originators keep doing it (and apparently literally can’t comprehend why anybody sane might complain about this. Really.)

    The place I play with doesn’t use computers. Could they? For God’s sakes, they have me, that’s hardly the problem :).

    But the people who want to play (including me) were attracted to the game in the first place because they got to use the heads attached to them to retrieve information, not the heads attached to some hard drives.

    And now they, and hundreds of other places, can’t realistically compete unless they take actions that rob the game of any personal meaning.

    What Does This Have To Do With Online Gaming and Presidential Elections?

    Same mentalities, different contests.

    On-Line Gaming

    For online players, if you think you’re going to talk people who want to use these devices as more than a lark, you’re not.

    It also looks like players may be faced with the same problem with game servers that we trivia players face with the originating company, the powers that be don’t want to take action that prevents such cheating.

    And yes, this is cheating. Maybe not in a strictly legalistic way, but according to the spirit of the game. It should be your skills, not your software, that count.

    Now what would be a fair contest would be everyone equipped with these automated firing devices. But how much fun would that be after a couple tries, and what would it prove?

    I think it says something when those trying to keep these game-busters away don’t even attempt to appeal to the good sense or sportsmanship of the players seriously*** using them.

    Information in the trivia game I’ve been talking about moves very slowly, most places with the game are probably unaware that a few places use computers. That’s not the case in the online world. The effects of this cheating are instant, obvious, and detrimental.

    It will be interesting to see what happens. Will game servers put in the code necessary to stop this? Will the manufacturer of the game do something about this? Will the people who need this to compete try to stop this from happening, and how will they justify it?

    Finally, if nothing is done, what will the regular game-players do?

    Presidential Elections

    We’ve found out some bad things about the two American political parties the last couple weeks.

    We’ve found out that winning is more important than getting an accurate count in some places for one party.

    On the other hand, we’ve also found out that winning is more important than counting the votes of people who are serving our country overseas.

    We hear rumors about one party thinking about using a legislature to come up with the “right” decision, even if the vote total disagrees. We hear about the other party thinking about seducing or pressuring people morally pledged to the “wrong” candidate to change their vote.

    No matter which side you are on, let me ask you this: do you think the average American’s faith in his government has been strengthened by what’s going on and what may well go on the next few weeks? Don’t you think that’s more important than who sits in the White House?

    It’s the same mentality: winning is everything. However, like the trivia or online game, you may find that what you’ve “won” isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit.

    Today Is Thanksgiving, An Example of “We” rather than “Me.”

    Americans celebrate Thanksgiving today. The initial roots of Thanksgiving came from a 1621 celebration of a good harvest between the Pilgrims who had arrived the year before, and helpful Native Americans who taught them and kept them from starving to death in a foreign place.

    Thanksgiving is a symbol of “We.”**** If the Pilgrims has just emphasized “Me” to the exclusion of all else (and some early American colonies like Jamestown did just that, until they ran out of food, that is), the only Thanksgiving feast would have been had by the vultures. Some cooperation in an unknown land, and help from some unknown people, made the difference between feast and famine.

    This is a lesson we all need to learn. Competition can be good, individual striving can be beneficial. But within limits. If everyone conducts a scorched-earth campaign against everyone else for the sake of “Me,” pretty soon, all you have left is scorched earth.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

    ***I know a lot of people who’ve tried these automated killers just did so to try it out and had no intention of using them permanently. Voltaire was like that. After participating in an orgy and being invited back the
    very next night, Voltaire declined with the following explanation: “Once, a philosopher, twice, a pervert!” Voltaire understood limits. 🙂

    ****Some people want to rip apart Thanksgiving. I even saw one website that said, “The Pilgrims were fascists!” Well, everybody was a “fascist” back then, the only question was which type.

    If you think the message of Thanksgiving is “America has always been a welcoming, tolerant place,” well it still isn’t perfect, and it often hasn’t been even good. But on the whole, it’s been better than most, and its ideals have inspired both Americans and nonAmericans to get better than they were and are.

    But American failings are irrelevant to the concept of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a symbol of certain ideals. If people don’t live up to those ideals, knock the people, not the ideal.

    P.S. Scroll down the page at www.ipkonfig.com to see the discussion of Unreal and this software patch.

    If you’re interested in signing a petition to ask Epic to incorporate anti-cheating code to Unreal, you can go directly here.

    Email Ed


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