Just recently I played Counter Strike: Source online with friends, and just as with L4D2, I officially lost all interest in playing this game with them. They're not hopeless, by the way, they can play Killing Floor decently, provided we have real-time voice chat, so I have no idea what the problem here is...
I used to be a semi-competitive Counter-Strike player. Which is to say, I actually competed in CS tournaments at a local level. Naturally, there are national and even international competitions now, but just to give you an idea of how long ago I played CS seriously: back then, that would've been a pipe-dream. 256kpbs connections were considered fantastic back then. Counter-Strike competitions were a LAN thing.
Some of you might actually be shocked by that, and to that I can only say: isn't that fascinating? There are twelve-year-olds only just now discovering CS and playing online! It's right up there with owning one of the first mobile phones, and marveling at the prevalence of touch-screen technology and Bluetooth.
Bitch, I remember when we kids, eight or so years old, would line up at a screen in a supermarket to play with the touchscreen monitor. Now I have an old MP3 player with a fantastic touchscreen. Having to crank a dial in order to call someone on a phone - most kids today couldn't tell you why it's called "dialing" or why the "save" icon is a weird blue square with a grey bit (floppy disks!).
This isn't a reason to exalt oneself over a modern twelve-year-old or anything. In a few years, that kid will be carrying technology even further, so don't let it get to your head, but it's still fascinating how quickly technology is progressing. Sometimes, people my age, and we are NOT very old, will go: "Hooooly SHIT! Can you believe that only ___ years ago, we were watching Xena on VHS, and wondering if DVD would ever become popular?"
It's bizarre! Technology is progressing so quickly, you've got young "adults" acting like geriatrics.
Back on topic. Anyway, I used to play CS somewhat seriously, and I was always amazed at how good some players were. Again, having a go at the "anti-youth gamer" thing: when I started playing CS, I was a teenager, and some of the best players that kicked my ass were even younger. It's funny how those same players (my age) are now bitching about kids playing on their servers.
Now, I was playing with my friends, and they were getting their asses kicked by two guys on a particular server. They immediately accused the guys of "hacking" and cheating and so forth, and to be fair, from a spectator's point of view, they seemed to be uncannily good at tracking targets through walls.
I have no idea whether or not these guys were cheating, honestly. I watched them carefully, and eventually I came to realize that I wasn't sure at all. I personally have been in internet cafes and been accused of hacking and cheating when I certainly haven't been - my friend, who was far better than I, suffered even more.
My friend, by the way, could've really BEEN someone if he'd tried CounterStrike maybe 3 years later than he did. As it was, there was no such thing really as "Competitive Video Gamer". It was a difficult community to get into, and nobody recognized it as a venue for talent. They still don't. I was decent at CS. He was incredible... and he'd seem to track people through walls and head-shot through them, and I sat right next to him watching his screen and knowing he wasn't cheating.
I even reached a point where I could do the same sort of thing, and it annoyed me how many people accused me of cheating. So I was very wary when my friends accused these people of cheating. Our lag was high, and I knew how good people could get at CS.
To my dismay, my friends kept bitching and accusing and eventually they left, highlighting another problem I have with online gaming. Here's the best bit of advice I can give to anyone. Ready?
Disable your ability to chat to others if you don't trust yourself. A close, social experience is great fun, but being a whiner, or someone who provokes whining, just brings stress and antagonism.
At the end of the day, I still wasn't sure about these people who were supposedly cheating. My own skills are literally years out of date (we were playing CS:Source, and yet I pretty much stopped playing CS back in fucking CS1.5!!) so I was in no position to judge.
Regardless, my friends bitched and left. I stayed a few rounds, talked with these leet-sauce players, and eventually had to leave. Final exchange of dialogue?
Me: "Sorry guys, you dudes are way out of my league. I can't compete." Guy: "Dude, you just killed us. Look at you, all not competing and shit." Me: ":D loooong way to go before I'm back in this game." Guy2: "C'ya! :D"
Logged off and joined my RL friends in a game of Killing Floor. Which they are actually good at, by the way.
But those guys weren't cheating. I'll bet my life on it.
Sometimes, people cheat in video games. Sometimes, people have just reached a level of skill that seems impossible to you. Whether it's gaming, fitness or sports, you are nothing to someone who seriously puts their time aside and dedicates themselves to a pastime.
I wouldn't try to out-swim an Olympian. Or, you know, Mike.