Can The Very Existence of Meta in a Game harm a

There’s something ironic about how the main factor that gets me into a “Lifestyle Game” is eventually the same factor that causes me to abandon it. That factor being the “Meta”; the game within the game. You know, it’s team comps, it’s option selects, it’s fucking Korean Backdashing and directional input.

Real-quick clarification: A “Lifestyle Game” is a video game with a high potential to (and most times is designed to) become your main game; your default, your go-to, the game you play in-between other releases. Overwatch, Smash Bros., Tekken, Street Fighter, Diablo, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, Fortnite, Call of Duty; the list is never-ending. Which is great, don’t get it twisted. Everyone deserves a game they can dive into that also rewards that investment (whether in content, community, or both).

They’re such appealing value propositions; whether you’re frugal with money, with time, or with focus. My whole life, I’ve gravitated towards games that promised to take that very thing from me. Like I said, it’s a value proposition: get into this game and you won’t have to buy or care about another game for a while; like, for a while.

Other than the prospect of value, what gets me into these games is watch high-level play; the pros and those aspiring to be. When I want to see a game being played with purpose–as close to “as intended” as possible–that’s when I feel comfortable making a call on it. Granted, my purpose is significantly less ambitious. I don’t desire to be a pro Tekken or Overwatch player; I just want to kill time while saving money, all while being decent at what I’m doing. When I say “decent”, I mean the best within my social circle. I’m on that low-level petty grind; hard.

It’s gotten to the point where I reach my petty goalpost rather quickly. Then, begins the spiral….

It goes down like this:

First, word comes in about a new game.

Then, I research it.

Eventually, I buy it.

Afterwards, it becomes my new obsession.

At some point, I reach my personal skill-cap.

Following that, I “Whiplash” myself, attempting to go beyond that. Why? Well, at this point, I’ve become convinced that there is a “right” way to play the game; the “right” way being how Saint, and Ninja, and Tokido play. And me? I’m simply a pretender to the throne that I actually don’t want but have somehow convinced myself is everything.

  • In the end, I always come out the other side, either content with my skill level (Tekken) or passively hostile whenever anyone talks “Meta” (Overwatch). No matter how you slice it, the very existence of that “Meta”--of a deeper level of play--fucks with me eventually. I ask, is it just me? Am I the only one who occasionally suffers an temporary inferiority complex? If so, fine. I can hold that. However, I doubt it; generally speaking, gamers are a neurotic bunch. Either way, sound off. – OtisPickett 4 years ago

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