It’s time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly feature in which Kotaku-ites deliberate on a single burning question. Then, we ask your take.
This week we Ask Kotaku: Have you ever raged and thrown a controller?
While I have never thrown a controller myself, I have been around someone who has. In fact, I helped bring him into this world. My son, Seamus, currently nine years old, has broken two different televisions by throwing Xbox One controllers in their general direction. While I’ve not seen it happen myself — the televisions were both in the kids’ room — his twin, Archer, tattled on him on both occasions, which is bad from a brother standpoint but a-ok from a parenting point-of-view.
Interestingly enough, neither controller throw was due to frustration over game playing. I believe the first time was because the Xbox controller ran out of batteries. That incident was followed by a lengthy discussion about how it was cheaper to replace a couple of AA batteries than a $700 television. The second time was because the controller buttons got stuck with some sort of gross child-goo. Melted chocolate, sticky juice, possibly some mucus. All the reasons I have my own controllers and won’t handle theirs anymore without anti-bacterial wipes.
Maybe it’s not so much about the controllers as it is the catharsis of tossing things that upset you. I say this because Archer recently threw our Alexa off our second-story balcony because I made it play “Cotton-Eye Joe” by the Rednecks one too many times. Maybe I just need to stop taunting the children.
I’ve never thrown a controller, and frankly I’d be freaked out if someone I was playing a game with suddenly got so angry as to start flinging projectiles. I’d also be very unimpressed. Like, get a hold of yourself, you’re makin’ me feel judgy. (Not hard, admittedly.)
But I’ve certainly had my own little outbursts, just dialed back to 3 or 4 instead of 11. In my younger days I’d occasionally erupt with a frustrated expletive upon eating shit in some high-stakes games sitch. OK, maybe more recently too. In moments of particular frustration I will go so far as to punch my right thigh with a modest level of force. I don’t recall ever noticing bruises afterward but all the same, my leg doesn’t deserve that. Sorry, bud!
Sometimes when a game aggravates me, and it’s not quite at thigh-abuse level, I’ll squeeze the controller really hard and start to twist each side in opposite directions, as if I were trying to wrench it apart. But as soon as plastic starts to creak I back off immediately, because my mother raised me too well to break perfectly good gamepads. Damn things are expensive these days! Letting out that bit of charged emotion before I compose myself for another attempt feels good though.
I have gently tossed my controllers onto a couch or bed in frustration. I wasn’t trying to break them in these moments, just freeing myself from the game. However, and I’m going to put a family member on blast, my brother has chucked some controllers.
One incident that sticks in my mind happened when we were younger. He was playing something on the Xbox 360, possibly a Madden or a FIFA game, and he got angry. In a moment of rage, he chucked his controller across the room. We had wooden floors and the controller left a large, noticeable dent in the wood. The controller, shockingly, still worked. The grips were cracked a bit, but some duct tape fixed that. Another time he slammed the controller into the floor with such force it bounced back up into his hands, though the battery pack flew out.
In recent years he has calmed down somewhat, which is good because controllers aren’t cheap. I tried to explain to him that breaking controllers wasn’t a great idea, but he didn’t care! The one rule I had was he couldn’t play with my controllers. And he never did. Instead, he had a small collection of slightly broken gamepads that took more abuse than a GTA Online NPC.
I treat my controllers with the utmost respect. I clean them regularly and store them neatly. I would never take out my frustration on them. Y’all are wild.
I’ve never been one for throwing video game controllers myself — especially with the prices they go for these days — but I’ve been around some very…let’s say, passionate anger from my time at fighting game tournaments.
It’s not unusual at events like the Evolution Championship Series to be walking through the competitor area and hear a roar or scream as someone gets their arse handed to them. And while it hasn’t happened in my vicinity, thrown pads and arcade sticks do happen, though maybe not as frequently as in the Smash community.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand. The frustration of losing at something you love, combined with the fact that another person may have just eliminated you from an important tournament, can bring out the rage monster in anyone. I’d prefer folks count to 10 and breathe a bit before going berserk, but as long as you’re not hurting anyone, do what you gotta do!
How About You?
Kotaku’s weighed in, but what’s your take? Have you gone full rage mode, or has a serene life of meditation and contemplation blunted your baser impulses? Have your say! We’ll be back next week to deliberate and debate on another nerdy issue. See you in the comments!