Player One

There’s a very interesting social psychology that goes into inviting someone over to your house to play video games. It’s a well-established rule that if it’s your house, you get to be Player One and you get to choose everything (unless you’re taking turns choosing stuff, in which case, you go first). For example, no one but you gets to decide which Super Smash Bros. items get to stay or go.

It’s interesting, because in all other respects, having a friend over means he’s the guest and you accommodate him. But video games are an entirely different animal. When it’s your house, you’re Player One, you choose items and levels.

But it’s not just that, the other person can’t even move the joystick when you’re on the items menu. It just irrationally pisses you off and you have to go, “Just, don’t, okay?”

And then you finally play the game. It’s a game you’ve been playing for a while. You’re pretty good at it. And then what happens? Your guest fucking beats you at it. He beat you! On your own game!

But what if you don’t have any good multiplayer games? Well, the answer’s obvious: take turns with a single-player. And that generally never goes how you want it to. The rules you and your guest have made up are so specific and arcane that you end up playing for a full forty-five minutes before you let yourself die so you can rest your thumbs for a few minutes.

It’s a weird state of mind that goes into a gamer when he’s challenged in his own home. Proceed with caution.

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