There’s nothing quite like bringing home a new game. After months of watching trailers, attempting to avoid spoilers posted online by little rat bastards, pre-ordering to ensure that you get all the added goodness the game has to offer, following it’s developers through social networks so that if they as much as fart, you’ll hear about it; and finally waking up ridiculously early to be at the doors of your local games store as soon as they open, getting your anxious hands on the title that’s going to change your life. Once you get it home, sit through what feels like an abnormally long installation period, and a handful of now mandatory day-one patches, you load that motherfucker up, hit start, and do what you do best- Die!
It's nothing to be ashamed of. You’re not yet familiar with the controls or mechanics, and you don’t know your way around the maps, so you’re going to have to spend some time falling for tricks that will later be deemed “n00bish” by morons who use such words. Of course, if a spot of competitive multiplayer is your cup of pixelated tea, then somebody’s gotta die for the others to succeed, right? Every winner earns his place by standing on the bloodied corpses of those he defeated. Therefore, you’re fucking cannon fodder! It’s simply the way of things. To improve you’ve got to bite the bullet, or kick the bucket, or bite that bullet with the bucket on your head and have a neighbour kick it for you. In the fighting game community there’s a saying- 'losing is learning'. In other words, the only way you’re going to stop someone from kicking the bollocks out of you is by knowing exactly how they kicked the bollocks out of you. Only then can you really learn how to fight back. In the meantime though, it’s back to the bullet filled bucket scenario with you.
Somewhere in the middle of all this death filled madness, there might actually be some logic. A reason why a player who clocks up 4 kills in exchange for his 23 deaths in Call of Duty still wants to hit that respawn button and charge headlong into gunfire once again. Sigmund Freud referred to this mentality as one’s Death Drive. It seems to a bizarre, almost suicidal instinct that could lead to self destruction. A strange urge to do harm to oneself. The complete opposite of what we humans like to think of as humane. We love the idea of being pro-human. Living life to the sugar free max, and all that. But deep inside, there’s a dark little corner that we usually keep hidden far away from prying eyes. A place that may bear the thin scent of self hatred. It’s a place where limits mock you; teasing about how they have you under their control. Pushing at you, and wanting you to push back harder… until they break. What happens then though? Once you’ve forced your way through these limits? Nothing good! The Death Drive (often referred to as Thanatos; after the Greek mythical personification of death) seems to be that push. Going a little too far, and wanting death to take you away as punishment. Pain for pleasure seems to be the name of the game. It’s your anti-you, yet your regular you (usually simply known as “you”) gets something of a kick out of it. The risk brings a burst of adrenaline, even though the consequences could be severe. In fact, sometimes the higher the consequence, the bigger the rush. Skipping class, smoking, junk food, crossing the road when traffic is hurtling towards you, cycling at speed downhill. These are all small examples of the Death Drive that you might indulge in during your day to day routine. Not quite as dramatic as hauling your ass out in front of a bus, but these are still things that you chose to do even though you know no good could come of it.