Overcoming gaming anger

Image: Headphone Meditation by Illusive Mind

Playing Steel Diver has got me thinking about a problem that some gamers undoubtedly tackle at times: frustration or flat-out rage. My brothers and I can’t play Super Smash Bros. Brawl together without screaming at each other at some point. Being the older, more mature one, I generally try to keep my cool, but the unpleasant feeling (like a flame in the gut) inevitably comes, whether I let it out or not. Steel Diver is another example of a game that can really push the limits of my short fuse.

What is it about these games that makes us want to throw whatever we’re holding into the nearest wall? How can we prevent or defuse that rage? Read on to discover the answers from someone who has broken more than just Wii remote wrist-straps!

To answer these troubling questions, I will refer to The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. A few days ago, I reached the lair of the second boss: Fraaz. Zelda bosses tend to have obvious weak points. Fraaz is no exception. Well, I lost against him on my first try. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “now I definitely know how to beat him. It’s that tricky third stage.” So I tried again. My idea on how to best Fraaz in the third stage of the fight didn’t work. I lost again. That is the point at which I could have lost control. But I didn’t. Why? Because the single ounce of reason that I had left in me spoke: “Don’t try to beat this boss again, Holly.” I quit playing, and it wasn’t long before I felt good sense and calm return.

Next time I face Fraaz, I can do so with my wits about me. If I can offer just one bit of solid advice: it’s okay to get angry while playing video games: just learn to listen to that voice of reason, no matter how small it is. It might save you a TV screen, or a copy of Pokemon Stadium 2 (am I getting too specific?), or your very pride.

Have any advice? Brave enough to share your own story? Here’s one gamer who’s open to any comments!


  1. As a general rule, the moment I stop having a good time, I stop playing, then return to it if and when it’s fun again. My current nemesis is the final boss in Face Raiders. I’m determined to finish that game, but only give it one go at a time to avoid frustration; I can’t afford to replace a dropped 3DS!

  2. I can relate. I would participate in Smash Bros. tourneys at my college, but when you got at least 20 douchebags LOUDLY rooting against you, you just wanna strangle their little douchebag necks.

    Also, I get no respect because I consider myself casual and the other participants are pretty hardcore and I get my butt whooped quickly… all because the hardcore players use really cheap tactics. Seems like their moves always work against me and my moves do not work against them.

    My roommate gets mad when I beat him in Smash Bros., be it N64 or Melee (he won’t play Brawl for some reason) because he thinks a move should not have hit him when it clearly did. He usually wins, but gets pissed when I win because of the aforementioned reason.

    But anyway, I do agree that you just need to put the game down and walk away from it for a while and return to it when you’ve cooled off and you feel better about yourself. I’m having that feeling right now playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I’m on the world 7 tower and I just cannot get that third star coin for the life of me.

  3. Super Monkey Ball 2 had a baseball mini-game. I repeatedly rolled the die and had half the field turn into outs, whilst my buddy would have half the field turn into home runs. After my final out in the 3rd inning, I hurled my wave-bird across the living room, into the Gamecube. I then kicked my friend out of my house. Nintendo makes some sturdy products cause only the reset button was broke, and the wave-bird had a small dent.
    I have matured since then, and come to terms with the fact that I can’t win ’em all 🙂

  4. I usually just step away from the game so I avoid a wiimote stuck in my tv or a smashed up (3)DS although some of my friends resort to a boatload of words that I wont repeat her. One of them even threw a controller into his fish tank and killing his last goldfish by accident due to gamer rage! XD

  5. Tht final boss in face raiders is frustrating me aswell !!

  6. Agree with Richard. The minute I’m not having fun, the game goes back in the drawer. Life is frustrating enough.

    Many have said that games have gotten so much easier in recent years. Maybe because the gaming population has grown up, and they don’t have time to repeat the same level over and over again. I certainly don’t. If I don’t make some progress in the limited time I have to play games, I have to ask myself why I am wasting my precious time.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like a challenge, as long as it’s a fair challenge. I don’t need to win easily, as long as I am having fun losing.

  7. Ahh… takes me back to the good ol’ days of the NES and Ghosts and Goblins. My friend got so mad he bit his NES controller (leaving teethmarks in it) and then promptly removed the game from the NES and ninja-starred it against the wall. No, Ghosts and Goblins could not be beaten by a toss to the wall… it did chunk out a piece of the wall though. lol

    On a personal note, if a game is getting me mad… it gets another shot a little later on and if it continues to frustrate me, I look online to see if I’m missing something or if there’s a quick ‘how-to’ to get past it. If at the end of all this I still get stuck, the game ends up collecting dust or gets put on my for sale shelf.

  8. One word “Super Meat Boy” ok well I guess its three words but it is a fact that it is impossible to get through the game without rupturing your spleen or punching the nearest person in the face 5 times (or more). I think the next most infurating game would be smash bros I can’t go one round without wanting to kick my brother or hit the nearest animal with a crowbar, so next time I’ll try this tip. Thanks Infendo!

  9. Like many have said, when a game stops being fun and starts being angering, it’s done right there. But then there are the good kind of angry and frustration, the one that motivates you to go forward and overcome it. For example, the last time I felt that was with Donkey Kong Country Returns. Some levels can get really frustrating, but the desire to keep pushing overcomes the anger I feel when I can’t get it right. It payed off really well since the latter half of the game is amazing.

  10. i yell during sporting events, even ones i’m watching and not playing. why not yell and get into games as well?

    i rarely get worked up playing single player. i was pretty frustrated when my 360 quit during the final battle in dragon age, but i reserve most of my anger for multiplayer fps. cause somebody needs to teach those !#@s some respect.

  11. I’ve been known to throw a controller or two in my day. Did I say throw? I ment to say smash…yeah smash is a good way to describe it.

  12. ever since me and a friend were playing ss melee (thats really weird cuz on the case of the game it is spelled melee but my computer says its wrong?) and i through the wavebird against the wall(still a mark 4 years later) i set up a small pile of pillows a couple feet away from me, enough said a game that frustrated me was mario galaxy (still my favorite game though), for any of you who beat that game you probably remember the toy world in which you had to get a hundred coins on Luigi, i dont even wanta get into that one

  13. This is something I relate too as well (especially Steel Diver recently!!!).
    For a while my wife thought I was an insane person and didn’t want to play Mario Kart when we played online with my father and sisters who live in different cities (& states). I really didn’t understand why she thought I was out of line, doesn’t everyone scream and swear at really bad Mario Kart losses?
    I learned to not “verbalize” myself so much when we played, and I think she started to understand my actions a bit more after playing Kart when visiting my families houses in person. We all have been swearing at Mario Kart since the SNES days. It’s just how we were raised, I can still hear my dad on the couch next to me calling princess a b&^%$ when she dropped those shrooms for him!

  14. I limit myself to screaming and swearing (maybe too much of them sometimes).

  15. I felt I should comment on this because I gave broken 4 wii remotes from being frustrated with games (mainly first person shooters) I also broke a nunchuck and a xbox 360 controller from playing halo 3 on legendary (I gave my xbox away but not because of that)

    My solution? Go out and buy an expensive controller or in this case pay for a 3DS with your own money. That was the only way I over came breaking controllers because it makes you think before you throw.

    I bought a black wiimote for $50 at bestbuy and got a 3 year warrentny on it. I almost destroyed it playing the conduit on severe but I didn’t. At that point I guess I realized it was stupid to get your emotions get the better of you.

    The power button in it got broken so my wii randomly shuts down. Not fun..

  16. I broke a 46′ LED, a 360 remote, its battery pack, and a wall.

    All in different situations.

    after all those miserable moments, and about 2 thousand bucks, I finally learned my lesson.

  17. Hello,
    You may be unaware, however the meditation logo you are using on the page below is copyrighted.

    Could you please credit ‘Headpone Meditation by Illusive Mind’ and link back to http://www.illusive-mind.com/art/headphone-meditation/.

    Thank you
    Kind Regards,
    Illusive Mind

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