Monday, December 3, 2007

My testosterone fueled friends list

Yes, I'm a girl and I have other girls on my friends list, but 95% of the people on my friends list are guys. And lately you can really tell as their testosterone levels are going through the roof.

It didn't use to be that way. Back in the Star Wars Battlefront days competition was friendly and cooperative. You played as a team; win or lose. Every now and then you might go off on your own to extract some revenge for a particularly horrifying kill from someone on the other side, but once you took their head off all was right again in that Galaxy far, far away.

Then Gears of War came around. The teams were smaller and there was no respawning. How you preformed as a team really mattered. You'd talk and coordinate your attacks making sure each weapon point was covered if it couldn't be picked up before the other team got there. But when you died you could talk to anyone else who dies. This led to some good ribbing about a player's skills with the chainsaw when faced with a grenade tagger. There was pride . . . and bragging rights to how you killed someone. And the testosterone levels went up.

Then came Rainbow 6: Vegas. A new style of game play for my rag-tag group of friends. Stealth and sneakery were much more highly valued then shear fire power. If you could snipe someone's head off from the other end of the map you'd gloat and rub it in when the map was over. There was status to be had if you survived a Terrorist Hunt to the very end. And everyone knew they got their experience points because of you. So the testosterone levels went up again.

Now it's Call of Duty 4. It's Battlefront, Gears and Vegas all rolled into one. You have to work as a team to out score your opponent. You have to cover all the hiding places for those snipers that are likely to take your head off before you can figure out where they're at. Getting to prime shooting spots have never been as hard as in other games. So yes, there's a lot of trash talking, name calling, chest thumping, fist pumping action going on before, during and after matches. And don't get me started on what happens when air strikes and helicopters get involved in the game.

Never have I seen my group of mild mannered guys get so heated and worked up for any other game. They'll throw more insults about your mama around than the candy that gets passed out on Halloween. Or how your sister gets passed around more times than a fruit cake at Christmas. Sometimes it funny to just sit back and listen to the banter that gets increasingly louder as the new maps load up. Once that count down starts at the beginning it's game on. And sometimes when the insult "you play like a girl" gets thrown about my guys will get all quiet and ask if I'm going to take that from them. It never fails to take the other team by surprise when they find out they've been playing against a girl this whole time.

But most of the time I just want to play a friendly game. I'm not like my friend Kralon who's on his 4th or 5th level of prestige and knows the game backwards and forwards. But I still like to play and get in the heat of the action. It's all in good fun, right? But sometimes the fun is in short supply for me when my team mates turn into grunting apes, squealing and jumping up and down behind the bars waiting to be let out. But what else can you expect from my testosterone fueled friends list.

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