GLHF – pt 1: Sportsmanship in video games

In video games, sportsmanship can sometimes be hard to come by.  Online play creates an atmosphere of boldness behind anonymity, which simultaneously empowers shy, kindhearted players to feel safe seeking friends and allows villainous trolls to attack and lash out at everyone they meet.


In this world of raging, bad manners, hate speech, and griefing, I have been pleasantly surprised by the evolution of sportsmanship and cooperative culture within the online / multiplayer  / pvp gaming communities.  As more and more games become connected through chat, and offer some form or another to emote, we are seeing some interactions that are respectful and kind: acknowledgments of a game well played, laughter at one’s mistakes, random teammates that request to party up after a successful match together which turn into friendships.

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In this series, GLHF (which stands for Good Luck Have Fun), I will be exploring both the light and dark sides of sportsmanship as it’s been developing in video game culture along with some of my favorite examples of each, and what they tell us about our community. If you like this article please feel free to check out the rest of the series: pt. 2: Selfishness / Noncompetitive play, pt. 3: Kindness, pt. 4: Respect, pt 5: Rage Quitpt 6: Toxicity, pt 7: Honorably Growing Culture, pt 8: Sadness & Defeat, pt 9: How to play for friendship, and pt 10: What we’ve learned.

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What are the greatest challenges to creating a healthy online gaming community? How do you feel being connected online versus meeting in person affects how players treat each other? Have you noticed the good side of online gaming, or have you mostly seen the bad?  Do you believe that mainstream culture understands the range of emotions and behaviors players exhibit online, or do you feel that online gamers are mostly stereotyped as antisocial or aggressive? I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please respond to the thread for this article, or talk to me through my email or any of my social media:

Play Professor is the blog of ludologist and video game journalist Andrew Mantilla. You can check out more of his content on Facebook, TwitterInstagramand Youtube.


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