Gluttony - Over indulgence and excessive consumption. Whatever you choose to label them, be it ‘score-whores, ‘achievement junkies’ or simply avid completionists; this demographic of gamers live for that extra morsel of gamerscore or another tiny, shiny trophy for their bulging digital cabinets. They don’t know when to stop, even buying and playing completely abhorrent games in their remorseless quest for an achievement fill. Indulging in breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night snacking sessions, never quite getting enough of that sumptuous sound accompanying the ‘Achievement Unlocked’ message. Some of the most die hard junkies will partake in ‘achievement farming’, boosting and manipulating their way to a few more precious points. Suffice to say that ‘farming’ and ‘boosting’ completely devalues the actual achieving process, but in the world of the gaming glutton, fast fixes and score-fattening boosts are far too tempting to turn down.
Lust - Remember when the pencil-pointed triangular bosomed Lara Croft first burst onto the scene? The first real sexual icon of videogames, lending her image to all manner of memorabilia and magazine covers the world over. It seems bizarre that such a crude character model back in 1996 was supposedly responsible for getting pubescent males all hot under the collar. It’s rather hard to talk about sex and videogames in the same context without fear of being accused of having some kind of pixel perversion. In other words; the embodiment of the age old ‘completely devoid of interaction with the opposite sex’ stereotype that many outsiders still afflict on gamers. Sexualisation in videogames is certainly more apparent since Miss Croft’s rise to fame, some instances more subtle than others. Anyone who’s played or is familiar with the Dead or Alive series will recognize it as being at the more conspicuous end of the subtlety spectrum to say the least. Options to increase breast bounciness in some incarnations as well as the pretty shameless Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball are some brazenly obvious examples of trying to allure gamers with sex. Let’s face it, anyone who tells you that they bought DOA: Beach Volleyball because they genuinely like the sport is probably lying; and those who bought it for the other reason are most probably too embarrassed to admit it…
Greed - There always seems to be a self-pitying downtrodden attitude amongst gamers. We feel like the little guy, constantly mocked and feeling ripped off by the greedy corporations, and to extent maybe we have the right to do so. The recently announced XBL price hike has certainly not endeared Microsoft to Live customers any more. Coincidentally timed around the releases of Halo: Reach and Black Ops, two mammoth online juggernauts, its easy to sympathise with the murmurings of discontent. With an online community of “over 20 million”, the price increase should certainly see another vast influx of money into a company that to put it lightly, is hardly on the bread line. The new Playstation Plus service was bound to be initiated sooner or later with Microsoft doing so well off XBL’s success, but here’s hoping that the new premium charge service doesn’t become compulsory to PSN users. Downloadable content is another sure-fire feather rustler in the gaming community, with often seemingly extortionate asking prices for what are essentially deleted sections from the full game. Of course gamers have the right to choose whether they shell out for these add-ons or not, but with the luring bait of new achievements to tempt the gluttons and in many cases securing the catch; DLC remains a profitable and lucrative market. Some will view these examples as astute business and some of us will always act like we’re poor exploited victims of the greedy, cash hungry machine. One thing I know is, that as a gamer I’ll always want my Live subscription and as a result will adhere to the increase. I certainly don’t expect any sympathy, but it leaves a bitter taste considering Microsoft’s already ultra-powerful global position.
Sloth - Hardcore gamers and casual gamers. The former has no time or respect for the latter. The shiny, happy party game enthusiast, whipping out the Wii for a good old family golf session whilst we sit, gritted teeth trying to complete every game we play on the ‘Suicidal Insanity’ difficulty level. Well, maybe a slight exaggeration there, but the contempt aimed at the casual crowd from the hardcore enthusiasts is evident. With the explosion of casual gaming bought about by the Wii and subsequently followed by Microsoft and Sony with the impending releases of Kinect and Move, motion sensor controls are here to stay. The response of the hardcore gamer is of course one of disgust. Having spent X amount of years with a trusty controller the idea of actually applying any physical effort other than finely honed thumb twitches is met with fierce antipathy. Nope, we like normal controllers, we don’t like dancing and flailing around the living room, and above all we hate fitness games. I’m not opposed to fitness, in fact I’ve been known to go for the occasional jog, but if I’m going to do exercise I’ll actually leave the house and do it rather than perform ridiculous tasks in front of the TV while Wii Fit sneers at my physical condition. Sorry, but a comfy chair, pad in hand and a cold beer within reaching distance is the ideal way to enjoy videogames.
Wrath - Also appears in the sin list as anger. If any gamer has claimed to have never been pushed to near homicidal breaking point before then they truly have a commendable temperament. Rage quitting, pad throwing and expletive-screaming frustration are something that practically every videogame fan will have experienced at one time or another in their playing lives. Many walls have felt the fist of fury or the controller throw of uncontrollable frustration. Videogames do have a unique ability to make the blood boil. Having repeated and failed the same section of COD 4 on veteran for the four hundredth time I finally lost the plot: Grabbing the 360 controller firmly I proceeded to ram it into my forehead several times whilst filling the air with enough profanity to make Gordon Ramsay sound like a nursery school teacher. When you feel cheated by the game is when the rage fully flows. Seth from Street Fighter IV is a prime example. He unashamedly cheats, he connives, he’s a total cu… well you get the point. I’m no gaming god, but I’m by no means rubbish at them either, I do suffer from pretty bad frustration issues though. For this reason a game like Demon’s Souls, although critically acclaimed seems like a torturous test of patience that I know I’m simply not equipped to deal with. I’d worry for my sanity judging by the ridiculous and unforgiving difficulty level the game apparently has. It’s not just AI though, multiplayer certainly brings out the worst in people. Losing to a smug friend is one thing, but to a gloating online adversary is a circumstance that could well bring your console’s health into question. Multiplayer can be insanely competitive at times, and the line between delirious ecstasy and livid exasperation is very thin, yet one that we’ll repeatedly tread despite the highly probable fuse-blowing consequences.
Envy - Although the fanboy will tell you that he’s proud to be staunchly allied to one particular games system and one system only, deep down he’s resentful of the treats he’s missing out on. The Sony fan boy for example: he loves MGS 4, sings God Of War’s praises and will constantly remind there’s only one place where you can play Uncharted. But hang on… he goes on Youtube and there’s a new Halo: Reach gameplay trailer. He feels guilty, dirty almost but he can’t resist sneaking a quick look. He likes what he sees, loves it in fact, his Killzones and Resistances pale in comparison, but wait a minute, Reach is an Xbox exclusive and because of his strict allegiance he knows he can never have it. Confused by these strange feelings he resorts to his natural reactions, his defence mechanism if you will; he proceeds to leave little comments about how ‘gay’ and ‘crappy’ Halo is and starts muttering incoherently to himself about Blu-Ray capabilities…Now before I get accused of being one myself, this is plainly just from one perspective, there are of course many, if not more Xbox fanboys out there who’d do the same thing, yet would love nothing more than to get their hands on a copy of Guns Of The Patriots for their console. Fanboys will always exist, fuelling the flames of constructive argument and perhaps more predominantly instigating petty squabbles wherever they go. Deep down though they all like games, but their incessant tribalism means that they’ve completely and utterly affiliated themselves with only one console. For the fanboy, the mantra “want what you can’t have” rings ever true, and as the old saying goes - “jealousy breeds contempt”.
Pride - There comes a time in every gamers life where self righteousness takes centre stage. You have excelled beyond the average, soared above the mundane and personified absolute awesomeness. Your non-gaming friends may well fell indifferent about your exploits, but in your own mind you’ve ascended to a new plateau. Be it triumphing in online multiplayer, topping the leaderboards or finally conquering the game on the most nightmarish setting; if there’s no one around to appreciate your accolades then you’ll just have to give yourself a big pat on the back. It could well be the case that pride will only occur as a result of indulging in other gaming sins. For example, it could take a great deal of anger-filled hours in order to overcome a certain challenge and therefore be allowed to wallow in your smug satisfaction. Similarly, a ‘score-whore’s ’ overindulgence might be linked to his/her need to boast and engage in braggadocio. They derive a sense of pride from their stratospheric gamerscore, mocking their pathetic, less point laden underlings. Often the greatest sense of pride garnered is comparable to the amount of time invested in playing the game. It took me around 80 hours to fully 100% GTA IV; having found the very last pigeon perching on a nearby ledge, rather than do the humane thing and dispatching of it with a pistol, I blew it up with a rocket launcher from a about three feet away. The immense joy of fully completing the game was perfectly complimented by the plumes of smoke and reams of charred feathers. A fitting way to end an epic quest and certainly one of the most satisfying 100G’s I’ve ever earned. However, the old skool will say that we’re far too blessed in terms of ease of completion. Way back in the distant days of cartridges, when a whole day would have to be spent playing with limited lives and continues and if you failed? You had no choice but start all over again…games are undoubtedly easier these days, but try telling the masochistic fanatic that they don’t deserve a spot of proverbial pride-beaming from time to time. They may just unleash their wrath upon you…
(Photo credits: Wondermonkey2k, jasonEscapist, IsaiahHenryFernandez)