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Hackers, Cheaters and Online Video Games

By Ron Baker

I’m at a family reunion as I write this editorial. Amongst us are some avid video gamers – some who have even done the tournament thing! Watching a Mario race is nowhere near what the 1980’s edition would have looked like!

What is one of the current hatreds of avid online video gamers?

I posed that question to those present. There was a unanimous outcry against hackers and cheaters in the online gaming community.

Now, as with any game, there are always rules. Stick with the rules and the assembled group is all on the same footing – happy and harmonious.

Which may indicate why cheaters and hackers are so shunned and decried. They don’t!

In an effort to understand a bit of the gamer culture and to help me understand the overwhelming hatred of the hacker and cheater, I asked: “Why do people do this?”.

One reason is that they can. Some people are just contrary!

Another reason seemed to be that of provoking a reaction. Can you cause a rise in the other gamers? Can you make them lose their stride? Can you show that they aren’t as even tempered as they might think they are?

Another reason? They aren’t as good as the others – a bit of help never hurts. This is not in the sense of the old “shortcuts” gamers programmed into their games. That was a bonus round type of ability that good players found. This is more along the line of hacking into the actual program header to find out the action of others which is intended to be shielded from the community who are in the lounge. This is being devious!

And perhaps that’s where the depths of disgust with cheaters and hackers comes from. This is about lying. This is about skirting truth, rules and the game. This is about selfishness for the sake of self-glory and self-esteem.

And the online gamers cry foul!! This is not fair!

As I listened, I thought to myself – this is not new! For centuries wars have had “cheaters”. Games have had those who played for the sole reason of offending others. Kings and kingdoms have been dismantled by cheaters and hackers.

In the best of all worlds there would be no cheaters, liars and hackers!

Stark truth? We are not in the best of all worlds.

I wish I could say everyone should just do what they feel like doing. I wish I could say I accept everyone regardless of what they do. I wish I could say I’m inclusive in all things.

Like many online gamers – I’m not!

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