The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

The Student News Site of Canyon Hills High School

Canyon Hills Chronicle

Toxicity in Gaming Spaces Has Ruined The Fun

Many people love video games. For many popular games, there are huge communities of players who befriend one another and create content based on the game and shared bonds over it. Everyone is happy, right?

No.

Unfortunately, there is tons of toxicity rooted within gaming culture and community.

Sometimes when playing video games online, the rudeness of players makes it feel like the computer itself is yelling at you. (Sam Harris)

The anonymity of gamer tags has led to ruthless online bullying, discrimination, and overall negative behavior in games. Rude teammates yelling at you in text chat or over voice chat, the influx of misogyny and racism, and much more has discouraged many from playing games or ruined the experience of a specific one.

“A kid drew something extremely inappropriate on a Roblox art game once,” said CHHS senior Sam Harris. “They got rude when I told them to take it down. People like that always ruin the experience.”

As someone who is a huge Valorant player, a 5v5 first person shooter game where the goal is to either blow up the map or prevent the other team from placing down their bomb, I’ve faced extreme toxicity over the course of almost three years from other players in the game. Some of my experiences are more “typical” to run into while playing a game – people being rude while you’re trying to play, talking trash while doing badly themselves, unnecessary bragging and backseating (trying to tell someone else how to play in an unhelpful way). My friends and I have all needed to report players in our matches for saying racial or homophobic slurs or spamming the chat for no reason. It’s annoying, but sadly not surprising, since cyberbullying is a part of multiplayer games. 

“One time I had to report someone, they were completely ruining the game and using slurs whenever our team didn’t follow their instructions exactly,” said CHHS senior Robert Nash. “It was crazy.”

Other experiences, however, have been a lot worse.

One time, I was in a competitive Valorant match with one of my friends. Our team was doing alright at the beginning of the game. We were communicating, trying our best to eliminate the other team and win each round. It was a fun time.

Then, two of our other teammates started being mean towards my friend over voice chat, saying he wasn’t playing well enough. At first I ignored them, assuring my friend that he was doing fine and that they were just being jerks. Then, it started to get more rude. I got annoyed and turned on my microphone to tell them to leave him alone. They began to mock me, too. They started backseating and laughed when I told them to shut up so I could play well.

I got sick of it and both my friend and I reported them for voice chat harassment and muted them. While we lost out on the important communication aspect of the game, we ended up winning in the end. The best part was that both my friend and I ended up higher than the two players on the match leaderboard. Karma was on my side that day!

Obviously, not all stories end so happily. Many do, but not all. However, the saddest part about this is the fact that there are stories like this in the first place. Video games are a fun hobby (or career, for all the streamers, YouTubers, and professional esports players out there), and as one big gaming community as well as smaller ones for individual games, we should be better than this. We’re all here to play, why should we be mean to one another?

Of course, video game developers themselves have ways to try and prevent this toxicity. Like all social media and online platforms, there is the wonderful report button. Reporting a user means you send a report to the developers with a description of what the user did that was wrong, usually bullying. The developers look back in the history of the user activity and assign any consequences they see fit. Furthermore, many games involving text chat automatically censor messages or give timed bans from chatting if users say something inappropriate (like a slur). These features help games have a kinder environment. Unfortunately, it isn’t always enough.

I do think it’s impossible to be able to manage all toxicity in such large gaming spaces. But I do think some game developers could work harder to make their games safer, maybe by implementing more filters (especially with common ways people censor certain words or phrases) or hiring more developers to manage reports. Whatever the case may be, there is a lot of toxicity in the gaming community as we know it right now, and while it is not the case for everyone, I believe that there needs to be more of a stance to be kind to one another in video games and the communities that accompany them.

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About the Contributors
Jasmine Tran, Entertainment Editor
Jasmine Tran, the entertainment editor, is a junior at Canyon Hills High School. She loves writing, reading, filmmaking, and Taylor Swift. She is socially awkward, but she enjoys talking to people if they're friendly enough. She is the biggest Taylor Swift fan that one could ever see or meet.
Sam Harris, Staff Writer
Freshman janky trombone player turned Junior digital artist and writer, Sam Harris is a man of many talents. Obsessed with many things such as Pokemon, Minecraft, and Clowns! Though not shown, he enjoys many genres of music ranging from the hardest of rock to the silliest songs in ERB. As much as his music tastes are different, so are his drawings, never drawing one and the same thing (unless stuck redrawing a single line.)  He is this year's one and only cartoonist as well as one of the two people covering Visual and Performing Arts here at Canyon Hills.
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