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Three Ways To Win The Game Within The Game In Video Games

Mental Tips To Achieve Radical Self-Improvement

Clifton Lee

Throughout my long career of playing competitive video games, I have experienced many points of stagnation in my abilities. I know how it feels to be stuck on a plateau and how frustrating it can be to invest so much of your time into your craft but not feel as though you are improving. However, I also know the glorious feeling of overcoming slumps like these and feeling like you’re undefeatable. The key to overcoming these slumps is almost always self-improvement. For this article, I’ve taken all of my experience in trudging through games, (or the trenches, as many gamers call it,) and condensed it into three tips that I guarantee will change how you approach games for the better. Through this article, I hope to be able to share that sensation of righteousness and fulfillment that comes with overcoming one’s limits with you all.

1. Active Thinking: The first tip is to start actively thinking about the game that you are playing. Active thinking is the process of continuously thinking about your opponent’s abilities, habits, and win conditions, and comparing those factors with your own in order to gain a competitive advantage. Active thinking differs from regular thinking in that active thinking requires one pay constant attention to your opponent as well as yourself.

Common questions that you can ask yourself to improve your active thinking skill as you play include:

  • “What does my opponent want out of this situation?”

  • “If I make this move or move in this way, how will the opponent react?”

  • “How can I take advantage of my opponent moving in this way?”

The point of asking yourself questions like these is to look for habits or patterns in the ways that your opponents play. With enough practice, active thinking can seem like you’re telling the future because you can predict how your opponent will move before they even do so.

2. Self-Encouragement: The easiest way to win a game is to have your opponent give up. In the same vein, one must realize that the easiest way to lose a game is to give up on yourself. This is where the skill of Self-Encouragement comes in. Self-Encouragement involves realigning your mindset to give yourself praise for doing the small things right and pointing out your enemy’s flaws or missteps. In doing so, you help yourself visualize that this is an enemy that you can beat. Too often I have seen people become discouraged and give up within the first ten minutes of playing a game because they feel like the enemy far outclasses them or that they have made too many mistakes early on and that it is impossible to come back in the game. Through active encouragement, I have been able to mount comebacks from games where it seemed almost impossible to win.

Some positive affirmations that you can use to practice your self-encouragement skills as you play include:

  • “Hey, at least my teammates are doing really well!”

  • “This might look bad right now, but I have been through and won from worse!”

  • “Hah, our opponent(s) is so bad, there’s no way we can lose this game!

3. Destressing/Untilting: To tie in with the concept of active encouragement is “untilting” and destressing. To understand how to “untilt”, it is important to understand what is, “tilt”, and how it impacts our gameplay in huge ways. "Tilting" is a term used in the gaming community to mean inducing or being induced into a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in the player becoming over-aggressive. Anybody can tilt and tilting is quite commonly self-induced. If left unchecked, tilting can lead to a loss of enjoyment from playing the game, an onset of toxic behavior, and in severe situations, quitting the game entirely. A major reason for why the previous section, self-encouragement, is so important is because self encouragement has been shown to decrease feelings of tilt. However, sometimes active encouragement just does not cut it and one gets titled regardless. In these situations, it is best to follow these steps to untilt:

  • Remove yourself from the game or situation IMMEDIATELY. It would be best to finish the game first before leaving so as to not ruin the game for everyone playing, but in cases of extreme feelings of tilt, it is ok to just leave the game.

  • Find a place of comfort or peace and rest there. These places are most often beds or couches or even bean bag chairs.

  • Close your eyes and take deep breaths for 5 minutes. For destressing, it is best to follow a pattern of breathing in deep with the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

  • Restrain from touching the game again until the day after. The most volatile time to play a game is right after being tilted. Even if one follows the previous three steps, they will mean nothing if one simply picks the game up again and gets tilted again because they ended the process of untilting prematurely.

Clifton Lee is a former Division II Dota 2 captain. He has over a decade’s worth of experience in team-based games, and has played with some of the best the world has to offer. He is currently a psychology major at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and is a member of Psi Chi, an international honors society for Psychology.

Article Source: The International Mental Game Coaching Association

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