It’s Monday and time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly function there Kotaku-ites conscious on a single burning question. Then we ask you to take.
This week we ask Kotaku: Have you ever slipped and thrown a controller?
Although I have never thrown a controller myself, I have been around someone who has done so. In fact, I helped bring him into this world. My son, Seamus, who is currently nine years old, has destroyed two different TVs by throwing Xbox One controllers in their general direction. Although I have not seen it happen myself – the TVs were both in the children’s room – his twin, Archer, tattooed on him on both occasions, which is bad from a brother’s point of view, but ok from a parent’s point of view.
Interestingly, none of the controllers were frustrated by the game. I think the first time was because the Xbox controller ran out of batteries. This incident was followed by a lengthy discussion about how it was cheaper to replace a pair of AA batteries than a $ 500 TV. The second time was because the controller buttons got stuck with a kind of rough child-goo. Melted chocolate, sticky juice, possibly some mucus. All the reasons why I have my own controllers and will not handle them anymore without antibacterial wipes.
Maybe it’s not so much about the controllers, as it’s the catharsis of throwing things that upsets you. I say this because Archer recently threw Alexa from our second floor balcony because I got it to play “Cotton-Eye Joe” by Rednecks one too many times. Maybe I should just stop mocking the kids.
I never threw a controller, and honestly I would be freaked out if someone I played a game with suddenly got so angry that they started throwing projectiles. I will also be very impressed. Get yourself, you make me feel stupid. (Not difficult, though.)
But I certainly had my own little outbursts, just calling back to 3 or 4 instead of 11. In my younger days, I would sometimes break out with a frustrated exploration when I ate shit in some high-stakes game sitch. OK, maybe even recently. In moments of special frustration, I would go so far as to strike the right thigh with a modest level of force. I do not remember ever noticing bruises afterwards, but still my leg does not deserve it. Sorry, bud!
Sometimes when a game aggravates me and it is not quite at the level of thigh abuse, I will push the controller very hard and start turning each side in the opposite direction, as if I was trying to unscrew it. But as soon as plastic starts to crack, I pull away right away because my mother raised me too well to break completely good game controls. Damn things are expensive these days! Releasing that bit of charged emotion before I compose for a new attempt feels good.
I have carefully thrown my controls on a couch or bed in frustration. I was not trying to break them in those moments, just freeing myself from the game. However, and I’m going to put a family member on fire, my brother has cut some controls.
An event that sticks in my mind happened when we were younger. He played something on the Xbox 360, possibly one Madden or a FIFA the game and he got angry. In a moment of anger, he slid the controller across the room. We had wooden floors, and the controller left a large, noticeable dent in the wood. The controller worked, shockingly, still. The handles were cracked a bit, but some duct tape fixed it. Another time he threw the controller to the floor with such force that it popped up again in his hands, even though the battery pack flew out.
In recent years, he has calmed down somewhat, which is good because controllers are not cheap. I tried to explain to him that it was not a good idea to break controls, but he did not care! The one rule I had was that he could not play with my controllers. And he never did. Instead, he had a small collection of slightly damaged gamepads that took more abuse than one GTA Online NPC.
I treat my controls with the utmost respect. I clean them regularly and store them nicely. I would never vent my frustration on them. You are wild.
I’ve never been one to throw 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 fighting game tournaments.
It’s not uncommon at events like the Evolution Championship Series to walk through the competition area and hear a roar or scream when someone gets their ass. And even though it has not happened near me, there are thrown pillows and arcade sticks, but maybe not as often as in Smash society.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand. The frustration of losing something you love, combined with the fact that another person has just eliminated you from an important tournament, can bring out the rage monster in anyone. I prefer that people count to 10 and breathe a little before you go berserk, but as long as you do not hurt anyone, do what you have to do!
What about you?
Kotakuis weighed in, but what do you take? Have you gone into full rage mode, or have a quiet life of meditation and contemplation blunted your base impulses? Say your opinion! We’re back next Monday to discuss and discuss another nerdy question. See you in the comments!