Maybe you reached your skill plateau despite constant practice. Maybe the odds are against you. Maybe you're just a terrible human being. Whatever the reason, you need to win, and you need to win bad -- no matter what the cost. Perhaps at the cost of my morality and integrity, I'm here to help.
Here are five ways to screw your opponents over in games, ranging from silly, amusing ways to downright horrible tactics.
How to dole it out: Let's start with the cornerstone of all shady win-practices: trash-talking. Now, it's easy to to dole out a long list of expletives, but there's an art to trash-talking, see. You need to make sense, first of all. It's very common to hear folk talk up a nonsensical storm.
As for what to say, the narrative you want to construct is one of superiority and intimidation. You want to do this without being too annoying or stupid -- listen to any 13 year old on Xbox Live for a 101 on what NOT to do. Unless you want to sound hilarious and have no one take you seriously, that is!
The big question is if you want to be offensive, like the folks who played Gears of War 3 with me were. This will rattle the opponent.
Most importantly, while part of the idea is to psych the competition out, you don't want to overtalk your skill -- if you lose, you'll end up that much more embarrassed.
How To Deal With It: If you're on the other end of trash talking, I'd advise against retaliation: usually, that sort of thing just escalates endlessly. You're better off trying to focus.
If trash-talking bothers you, you can usually mute the person, if not set your console to avoid that person in the future.
But if you simply can't let something go, pay attention to what the other person is saying. Chances are, it's completely ridiculous and makes no sense. Point that out and hopefully they'll stop.
Confidence is key for both dishing it out and standing your ground when it comes to trash-talk.
4: Get A Buddy On Your Side
How To Dole It Out: Teamwork always wins. Always. Get someone to coordinate tactics with you and double-team other people. The person doesn't even have to be on your team-sometimes, that even makes it better. Who cares if you're the Boomer in Left 4 Dead. Vomit and slash at your "teammates" for the good of humanity if it means you anger everyone in the game's lobby.
My favourite type of dubious teamwork is getting a friend to come over at a predetermined location, and setting explosives on them. I've done this in Battlefield games, but any game with remote detonated bombs will do. Then, they run over to the enemy team, tell me when they're in position, and I set it off. Every game has similar troll-y things you can do to mess with the other team -- creativity is required to figure these "strategies" out.
How To Deal With It: If you're on the receiving end here, there are two options. One, you recruit someone to be on your side to fight fire with fire. Two, you retreat and find a match with a more even playing field.
3: Use The Game To Your Advantage
How To Dole It Out: Sometimes, the game itself will have ways to troll other players built-in. Sometimes, like in New Super Mario Bros Wii, the point of multiplayer is the trolling and the fun that arises from it. In these cases, don't be afraid to be a dick! That's why the game exists, really.
Let's take Spelunky, for example. When playing multiplayer in Mossmouth's roguelike, you can pick other players up. Maybe you're sick of the leader buying all the good items for themselves. Welp, you can just throw them into some spikes to get rid of them. Their treasure is all yours now!
How To Deal With It: If you have to deal with this sort of thing, my condolences. As I said, these are the types of game that have trolling as a feature and playing any other way feels boring by comparison. Why not indulge? It's there to use, after all. Don't worry, nobody can think less of you for it.
2: Induce a Choke
How To Dole It Out: This is where things get interesting -- and potentially, morally wrong. But I'm not here to judge or endorse, just to inform.
A large part of playing games is the performance. If you can't carry out the motions, then you're done. The thing is, it's insanely easy to get someone to choke. There's a whole science to it, even.
Distraction is one of the key methods, and there are multiple ways to do it. Have you ever heard any of the "you are now aware of ___" sayings? Like, being aware of your breathing, your blinking, that sort of thing? You can go a step further and be specific.
Ask someone the intricacies of an action or behaviour they perform regularly -- like a reload or a melee. Chances are, they won't be able to stop thinking about it and go into "paralysis through analysis".
Or, they'll get so concerned with directing an automatic action, it'll become impossible not to screw it up. Studies show that asking someone to actively monitor their actions while playing hinders performance.
Choking can also be induced by pointing out insecurities that have roots in social misconception. You may hear stereotypes around race and gender and know for a fact that they're not true, but thinking about them at all can have a serious effect on your performance. If you want to be a particularly awful person, this is the sort of thing you can bring up. Studies have also shown that even the slightest mention of "your mother" can have surprisingly successful results. Use with caution.
How To Deal With It: The best thing you can do to avoid a mental psych-out is to clear your mind and focus on getting in the "zone". The more meditative and zen-like you can be, the better. Counting backwards can be good for this.
How To Dole It Out: Finally, we get to the mother of all shady tactics: cheating. There's multiple ways to cheat. If you're playing locally, you can screenwatch or physically mess with the person you're playing with. Setting your game or avatar to have handicaps for just you can help, too.
Playing online, it's a bit more difficult to successfully cheat: it's not as if the developers want you to ruin other people's experiences. Still, there are a variety of tools if not services for purchase that can allow you to do all sorts of game-breaking hacks.
The only question is how comfortable you are sleeping at night, you stinking cheater, you. You don't have to wonder if you'll be widely dislike when you're found out. Count on it. You either have to be OK with constant match hopping, or sneaky enough to not be found out.
How To Deal With It: If you have a cheater in your match, just leave. Really. It's not worth playing a match that is completely unfair and not fun. Make sure to use whatever options are available to you to report the offender, and try to go into servers that specifically look out for and protect against this sort of thing.
Hopefully, you don't go out there and completely ruin the experience for everyone -- but sometimes, you just got to win, right? You know what they say. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
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