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Gamers already know how to pick up chicks, they just don't know that they know it. - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
Gamers already know how to pick up chicks, they just don't know that they know it.
Ever notice that the Pick Up Artist community, and the people who want to turn your entire life into one long gaming experience, are peddling exactly the same thing?

In her TED talk, Jane McGonigal talks about how gamers invert the expectations of the real world: they happily fail, over and over again, on their way to finishing the game. They succeed only by being willing to fail, over and over, and yet they willfully, even joyfully, pick themselves up and try again. They stay single-mindedly focused on what they're doing, knowing there's an endgame.

The trick, gamers learn, is to do three things: One, trying something just slightly different, look for a different angle, a different line of approach to the problem. Two, just hope the random numbers come up in their favor this time. Three, get used to failing until you get it right. It's not personal. The machine doesn't care who you are. The sooner you get used to that fact, the quicker you can go about enjoying the game.

This is a lesson all young gamers learn. Through the tantrums and the patient guidance of parents, very young gamers (we're talking five and six year olds) learn the value of trying over and over until they hit the Epic Win. And there's always a celebration of some kind at the end of the game. Whether it's the fireworks of Peggle, the satisfaction of rescue from Mars, the wistful Katamari of Love End Theme, or a promise of more from The G-Man, a good game has something remarkable at the end.

If you go read the common Pick-Up Artist advice, that is exactly the advice given. One, try something different. Stop using the same technique over and over. Look for that different angle, that change of approach that will let you succeed against this particular woman this time. Two, just hope the randomness of life will come up in your favor this time. Three, and this is the absolute biggest of them all, get used to rejection. It's really not personal. Most women could not care less about you and who you are. The random numbers are not in your favor. The sooner you get used to that fact, the quicker you can go about enjoying the game.

And experience Epic Win. And a happy ending.

Tags:
Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic, Smooth Criminal

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Comments
shunra From: shunra Date: January 24th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, that and "see every person around you as being a prop for your own gratification" - that's another thing that PUAs and gamers have in common.

It's just that computer gamers are correct in that assessment.
amythis From: amythis Date: January 25th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish I could thumbs-up this comment.
taerin From: taerin Date: January 25th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I heard her talk about this on NPR as well, and one thing occurred to me that she didn't mention.

In a game, you know for sure that there's a way to win. That makes all the time and effort that you put in worthwhile, because every failure hones your skills, levels you up, gets you more resources and builds toward a guaranteed conclusion.

Life doesn't have that.

So while the ability to fail over and over and keep going can eventually get you to whatever you've defined success to be, it doesn't quite translate 100% into the real world.
amythis From: amythis Date: January 25th, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most women could not care less about you and who you are.

One of the things I hated about OKCupid was how much total strangers would guilt-trip me for (gently) rejecting them. Yes, it proved that I definitely wouldn't want to go out with them, but it was mentally/emotionally exhausting. Yes, I know it's hard for men to put themselves out there and risk being rejected, but honestly, all they were doing was sending a message to a strange woman with a nice photo. Why was there often either puppy-eyes or vitriol when I told them they weren't my type?

Sorry for the rant, but I think being the rejecter is often more painful than being the rejectee. At least the computer game enjoys seeing you "lose."
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