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Monday, February 8, 2016

Learning to Hold Those Ls

So you wanna be the very best like no one ever was. You want to be the best that's ever done it. Nothing wrong with wanting to be awesome. One teeny, tiny thing, though. Lots and lots of others have the exact same goal, meaning Ls are inevitable.

Shocking as this may sound, lots of people are good at video games. Now that should be a given, but the thought that there do exist players that are as good, or flat out better than someone else is mind blowing. This really hits home when you go up against someone that's more advanced than you are. It isn't something that's comfortable to think about. "I enjoy losing." Said no one ever.

Winning feels good. It feels really freaking good. It fills you with confidence, empowering you. All the time and effort you put into the game is paying off. And then it happens. You come across someone that absolutely wrecks you. What they do to your in game character reflects what they're doing to you mentally.

Losing, however painful it may sting, is a natural part of gaming, especially in any type of versus game. Every one is going to get their butt cheeks handed to them from time to time. How well you handle defeat says a lot about your character. It should go without saying that some people take loss better than others, but the sad fact is, we don't always handle our defeats with grace.

If you've played on For Glory in Super Smash Bros., you know that the salt levels there can get pretty high. Enraged players change their names after being defeated to "Stop Spamming", "Tier Whore", "U R CHEAP" and derogatory terms not fit for this blog. Rather than accept the loss, they choose to insult the victor or make up excuses as to why they didn't win. "Shiek is too strong!" or "Zero Suit Samus' down smash is safe on shields, I can't counter that!" I'm no Smash wizard but  I do know some characters are better than others but rather cry "OP!" or "Please nerf!" We should be thinking of why we lost and how to overcome the oppositions strength.

Typical, salty For Glory player. 

When Splatoon came out everyone and their mother was using the Splat Roller because of how much turf it covers and because it can roll over opponents and Splat them in one fell swoop. Players began to cry about how overpowered the roller weapons were and that they gave users an unfair advantage. The reality of the situation was that we were still learning about the game, hence we hadn't found good counter measures for dealing with Rollers. Now? Roller users aren't anywhere near as feared as they once were, even before updates.

Son Goku is the poster boy for Shonen manga/anime. He's one of the most recognizable characters in the medium. When people think of Goku, they think of a someone that always wins, someone that is invincible. Rarely do they think of all the times, Goku took a beating. Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, Goku has had his fair share of Ls throughout his fighting career. One of his most brutal, humiliating defeats was at the hands of Demon King Piccolo. Goku even states that he felt completely helpless when facing him. The gap in power between the two was just that great. Goku eventually did become stronger and he did defeat the Demon King, but it seems as if Goku's loses are seldom discussed among fans. But why take about Goku's Ls when we can bask in the awe of stuff like this.

Many of us want to be Goku, but few of as are. When we are on the receiving end of a video game beat down, it can be easy to react like Nappa did in the scene above. The thought that Nappa, an elite Saiyan warrior, can be outclassed by a low ranked fighter really gets under his skin. With each successive blow Goku deals Nappa, he loses more and more of his composure, which weakens his fighting ability. Meanwhile, Goku, while being very angry at the loss of his friends, doesn't let that anger cloud his ability to fight. Sure, Goku is considerably more powerful than Nappa, but its this same calm attitude that helps to infuriate  Nappa even further.

In a lot of ways, the brief fight between Goku and Nappa perfectly mimics how fights in gaming can go down. A player of considerable skill level comes up against an even better player and the player on the losing end doesn't take that well. Rather than hold that L, they take their toys and go home, pouting about why the winner sucks. Nappa was so salty about that L Goku made him hold that he tried to kill Gohan and Krillin, who weren't even involved in the fight.

Batman is often seen as a god among his fans because he's almost always prepared for any situation, thus making it impossible for him to lose. Rather than ponder on the times Batman has suffered Ls, fans like to let selective memory be their guide and only remember the times Batman has been victorious. Batman can  and has been beaten. Bane, is mostly known for being the villain that Broke Batman's back but unless you're a comic book nerd, you may not just how we went about doing it. Bane came up with the plan of breaking all of Batman's foes out of Arkham and using them to weaken Batman and studying him while he operated. Mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with so many of his adversaries in a short amount of time, Batman was easily overwhelmed by Bane when he attacked him in his home.

It isn't just Batman and Goku. Himura Kenshin, Monkey D. Luffy, Spider-Man, some of the most famous fictional characters of all-time have suffered some pretty bad loses. No matter how unbelievably good someone may be, they are not infallible. ZeRo, who is one of, if not the greatest Smash players can and will be defeated someday. Will he let that L be the end of him? Doubtful. Before he was the champ he is today, he took a lot of Ls but he kept going.

When Naruto fought Neji during the Chunin exams, one of my favorite scenes is when Naruto, in so much pain after having all 64 of his chakara points shut off, slowly, but surely, gets back on his feat, much to the amazement of his opponent and the eyes of the crowed. What's more is, Naruto is the "I never give up!" ninja of his village. He was hurting so bad from Neji's attack that he was considering staying down but it wasn't until he remembered Lee and Hinata getting back up after some nasty beat downs that he decided he was gonna stand up as well. Fall down seven times, get up eight.

You can either stay salty and place the blame on other factors for the Ls, or you can just admit the painful truth that you lost, the other player was better, take the L and keep going. That player that soundly defeated you? There are a ton of players that are much more skilled than he/she is. Those winners with huge egos? They'll have to answer the door when the ego checking comes calling sooner or later. Losing isn't the end of the world

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