We can all get a little bit agitated when we’re playing video games. There’s often no harm in a tiny rage at the (literal) machine – especially if you’re playing through a solo experience
But what about those times when the person responsible for your misery or downfall isn’t a line of code, but a living, breathing human being? More than that, a human being you called a friend? The following five games are the ones I believe best represent just easy it is for a friendship to fall apart over a video game.
The iconic fighting franchise Tekken tends to go one of two ways depending on who you’re playing with, and neither scenario is especially appealing. Allow me to elaborate.
Scenario the first: You’re playing with a mate who’s been smashing Tekken since the days of the original PlayStation. They know all the combos, and they know exactly how to make sure you can’t land a single hit on them. Games are swift and merciless, and before long you’ll want to take your controller and bury it in the back of their smug skull.
Scenario the second: You’re playing with a mate who doesn’t really play Tekken that often, so you have the edge – in theory. They pick Eddy Gordo and spam spam spam kick spam spam spam kick SPAM SPAM SPAM BLOODY KICK until you snap and boot them out the nearest window in a fit of rage.
Children on the street below scream and run away from the stain on the ground that used to be your dear friend. You go to prison. 25 to life. You have no regrets. Your friend picked Eddy Gordo, and they got what was coming to them.
Call Of Duty
While most of the falling outs that happen on Call of Duty tend to be with strangely aggressive 11 year olds you’ve never met, there are so many ways playing a COD game can end with you never wanting to talk to your mates again.
Ironically, I’d argue that the majority of COD based bust ups with friends can be traced to attempting to play together in co-op, rather than simply going head to head in a bitter match to the death.
In my experience, zombies is the mode that really showed me who my friends were and who needed taking off my Christmas card list. If you’ve ever watched your mates jump on the bus in Transit and leave without you, you’ll know what it feels like to have your faith in humanity shattered in a single moment.
Similarly, we all have that one mate who has NEVER brought the door on a round of Zombies. If you know such a person and you’re still in touch, ditch them before they inevitably kill you in your sleep, or wee in your Shreddies, or something.
I don’t play FIFA much myself, but I have seen what it does to people, and I do not know how something so truly ugly can ever be called the beautiful game.
I’ve seen swaggering egos reduced to humble tears. I’ve seen controllers thrown and punches landed. I’ve seen sweaty goals and agitated half baked excuses, and I’ve seen grown adults stand up and scream at each other over the game as if it was something more than a bunch of digital people kicking a digital ball around a field while a digital crowd look on glumly.
To be clear, I’m not knocking FIFA at all, but there is actually such a thing as taking a game too seriously. Unfortunately, EA’s premier football franchise is all too guilty of bringing out the worst in all of us.
The worst thing about the turn based strategic mayhem of Worms is that you’ll often be fully aware of what your friend is about to do if you leave yourself exposed, and your friend will take great pleasure in making that dread last.
The slightest mistake, or a even a moment’s weakness in Worms will result in your so called friend seizing the opportunity like the ruthless mercenary they are. Not that you wouldn’t do exactly the same, mind.
When someone you previously considered a friend looks you in the eye and smiles before approaching one of your precious worms and knackering them into the void with a baseball bat, you know you can never go back to being the mates you were.
Mario Party/Mario Kart
Why have I stuck Mario Party and Mario Kart together? For two reasons. The first is that I consider both franchises to be equally taxing on friendships (if for slightly different reasons). The second is that this is my list and I’ll do what I damn well please.
I have never in my entire life played a game of Mario Party that hasn’t ended with a genuine argument. The early Mario Party games especially had a nasty habit of giving losing players the opportunity to completely and utterly screw their opponents, usually by stealing hard earned stars from other players.
If you’ve been smashing every minigame only to have some cheeky, unskilled, probably unwashed scumbag you call a friend turn around and diddle you out of all your stars and coins in one savage swoop, you know how it feels to want to take a life. You’ll then do the same to them of course, and the whole sorry cycle continues.
Mario Kart, meanwhile, is the kind of game you can’t play without turning into a disgustingly sore loser or a smug winner. Either way, you’ll swear, scream, and generally display all the grace and class of a hungover student who keeps throwing up in their mouth mid lecture.
That never happened to me.
Watching your friend casually release a blue shell into the air, knowing they KNOW that it’s coming for you is a betrayal of the highest order. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop playing any of these games for as long as I live, obviously.
What games make you want to beat your friends within an inch of their lives? I know you’ve all got your own dark hangups, so feel free to share them with us in the comments. Getting it off your chest is the way to forgiveness.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.