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Nice topic, at first thought it seemed that it'd be quite shallow but I've been thinking about this myself a lot actually. Just when do you put down a competitive game?

It's a tough decision, I end up drawing comparisons between these kinds of games (Crimson Skies, Unreal Tournament, Counter-Strike) and established meat-space ones, like baseball, football, chess, or igo. A lot of these games are easy and fun to play in the beginning but can really take a lifetime to master. They all seem to end up turning into that same boring grind after a while. Granted as a pro any-of-these player, you'll get payed a lot of cash (and not so much so as a pro video game player), I guess the decision comes to whenever you decide to throw in the towel.

For me I've been wondering the time to put down Counter-Strike. The game has gone through quite the metamorphasis over the years and has turned into a pretty involved game. I started out wanting to get good and eventually play competitively. I did get pretty good, not exceptional, but not all together terrible, and there of course was room for improvement. However it all just became so mechanical. I set it down for a while, but after a month I began to play it with a new set of friends, and that brought a whole new meaning into the game really. Counter-Strike wasn't then about winning, or doing well, as much as it was goofing around and having a good time with friends. That's what's great about these sort of competitive games. Sure you and don't play chess as habitually as we did Crimson Skies or Counter-Strike, but now and again someone will throw out the option to play again and we'll say "why not?" I still accept chess and go challenges, even though I'm the worst player on the planet at those, but I still play them. If someone asked if I wanted to play a game of backyard baseball or touch football, I'd give it a go. Simply because they are pick up games that can be fun. I'm just beginning to feel that for me the line that seperated interactive electronic entertainment and meatspace gaming is blurring so that I just tend to place every type of competitive game on the same level. Counter-Strike is football, Warcraft is chess.

I guess I just never really put these games down for good, just always keep the option open to play them with friends, like a friendly game of chess.


I have been playing a game called Subspace, which is an online-only asteroids like combat game. I've been playing it for about 7 years.

I have experienced a lot of tediousness while playing the game.

I want to offer a different perspective though: Saying that you will never beat 100 rank is a guaranteed decision that you won't.

Second: You aim for a different kind of pleasure when the game becomes 'tedious'. Yes, there's work involved. But when that work translates into results, new moves, new skill, new ability, you feel enriched beyond measure.

Multiplayer competetive games seperate the winners from the losers, that's for sure. :)



I've found that when I started playing Halo competitively, at first it was about getting better. Eventually people plateau and everyone becomes a known quantity, to the point where we balanced teams based on players' skills. At that point the thing that made me keep playing was the camraderie and cooperation, to the point where I get frustrated when I can't coordinate with teammates.

Similarly, I and many of my friends don't play on Xbox Live unless we're with people we already know in real life; we prefer not to deal with the more verbally abusive players out there.

David Sirlin has really good articles on competitve play, mostly from the perspective of fighting game tournaments.


I've come to the conclusion that my enjoyment from games is maximized by tasting many rather than mastering one. I don't feel that way with all activities, but in this hyped, diverse media it suits me best. Realizing that, I tend to "grind" less with any one title (especially online) but tend to enjoy them all more even when I'm not the BEST. It's increased the value of some of my titles as I'm unwilling to part with a LIVE enabled game if there's the chance it's time might come around again. Now looking at my game shelf is more like perusing a good menu rather than a checklist.


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