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‘Multiplayer’

April 12, 2011

Buildings crumple, windows shatter,
White explosions shake the screen;
But louder still the endless chatter:
Players hardened, middling, green,
Who curse with hard-to-equal fervor
The game, the map, this bloody server,
Their whole damn lucky bastard squad,
Clipping, glitches, lag, and God.

The round restarts, and things start flying –
Shrapnel, debris, gibs, and lead;
The cartoon battlefield is red
With splats of pixel-clusters dying;
The howls of impotent despair
Pollute the electronic air.

*

Games I had in mind? Team Fortress, for the blood; Modern Warfare 2, for the explosions; and MarioKart, for the cursing.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Xiémuç Guiri permalink
    April 13, 2011 1:14 am

    “Shitmonger bunch mitch!” – John W. D. Christopher

  2. Xiémuç Guiri permalink
    April 13, 2011 1:15 am

    “I fucking hate Mario Kart!” – Crash, 3.46 pm
    “I fucking love Mario Kart!” – Crash, 3.48 pm

  3. April 13, 2011 12:44 pm

    Yep, sounds about right. Goddamn Rainbow Road.

    It’s all about the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer round here at the moment (soon to be all about the Portal 2, which will undoubtedly provoke much anguish of its own) and it actually sparked a bit of a linguist moment the other day. Way back at AS level English Language we looked briefly at how rising and falling inflection can drastically alter the meaning of a thing: the example Ms G used was that of a person saying “Yes” to the question “Will you marry me?” can, depending on inflection, be easily understood to be saying anything from “Yes, of course” to “Finally!” to “I wish you hadn’t asked me this in public” to “Brain off, what?” to “No, but I’m having trouble saying so”.

    ANYWAY, the point was that it became clear the other night that in a multiplayer game context not only can the syllable “Fuck!” respond to nearly any in-game situation, but it’s perfectly possible to distinguish which, as was proved by J’s ability to accurately identify, from the kitchen, “Fuck!” (I died), “Fuck!” (I’m about to die), (someone else got to my target first), (killed the wrong person), (close call), (glitch), (something unlikely happened), (I’m impressed), and (controller’s out of battery).

    Someone should do research on this. The number of perfectly comprehensible different meanings expressible by one syllable and a determinedly pissed-off subject is staggering.

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