Sweet or Salty?
And no, I’m not talking about which type of popcorn you prefer at the movies… I’m talking about what kind of gamer you are - are you an absolute pleasure to play with or a total killjoy?
Let’s be clear, nobody likes to lose. Hell… where’s the fun in that?
For anyone not familiar, the term “salty” is just another way to describe a player that’s a sore loser and more often than not ends up ruining the experience for everyone else involve.
No doubt we’ve all encountered players like this – who knows, perhaps you yourself are prone to dishing the salt – and saltiness exists everywhere; at a casual games night or a competitive tournament, you’re bound to run into it sooner or later.
But what’s wrong with this kind of behaviour,
and what can you do to improve your
overall gaming experience?
Ditch The Salt
If you happen to be one of these people that cant control their emotions and losing a game is somehow just the worse thing that could possibly happen in the history of the world, well… I’ve got bad news for you buddy. Not only does your immature hissy-fit affect the other people you’re playing with, but it reflects badly on you as a player and even diminishes your chances of winning any consecutive games.
Freaking out that you lost that friendly game of Street Fighter means that your opponent will probably not be all too excited to play with you again, and when your pool of potential opponents has dried up then you’ll be sitting on your own, playing against the CPU alone in the corner, on your own at home… alone. And that’s no fun. You end up damaging the reputation of yourself, the game’s community, and the community of the venue that you play at.
Not only does this negative attitude discourage other people from playing with you, it also puts you on tilt. And when your mind is too busy reeling over the fact that you lost the last round then it isn’t able to focus on the task at hand and this in turn increases your chances of losing again, significantly. It’s a dangerous cycle to get caught up in. So why do that to yourself? Surely you want to have the highest possibly chance of winning?
So, what if you simply can’t just switch off the salt? Well, it’s not going to happen overnight. A dramatic change in attitude takes time, but it’s worth it and you can start with small steps.
Prepare For Defeat
Accept that you might lose – somebody’s got to! In any 1-on-1 game, the odds of you winning are surprisingly not 50/50 as you might think. It’s usually something more like 60/40 in favour of your opponent – and this comes down to a combination of preparation, skill and luck. So why give your opponent that extra edge when you start playing on tilt after a loss? Don’t let it get to you. Take a breath and move on.
“Prepare to lose?
How is that going to help me get better?
Shouldn’t I be preparing to win?!”
Easy, Tiger. I didn’t say that you shouldn’t try your best to win. That’s the point in taking part, right? We want to win! We want to try out best! But if you can’t accept a loss when it happens then you’re missing valuable opportunities to improve your skills. Instead of screaming and throwing the control pad across the room you should be asking yourself, “What could I have done better? What can I work on for next time to increase my chances of winning in future?”
Remember, it’s only a game and games are supposed to be fun, so don’t take it too seriously. By all means, be competitive. But don’t be a dick. Even the best players in the world lose games. Take it like a champ and keep your cool. Set an example for others to aspire to and don’t sink to the level of sore winner – they’re the real losers.
Dealing With Salty Players
And what if you’re on the other end of the salt? When your opponent erupts in a fit of rage how should you interact?
From personal experience my advice is to not respond. Stay cool and calm. Don’t tell them to “lighten up,” and don’t take it personally.
If it’s in a competitive environment should you offer them a “good game,” handshake at the end of the round? Personally, I wouldn’t, because it probably wasn’t a good game for them. They might offer it to you, but if they don’t you can just walk away. If you do feel somewhat inclined to say something then you could try complimenting them on things they did well in the match or change the subject entirely. Is the other player clearly way less experienced than you? You could ask them if they would like some advice, but don’t assume they want to hear it though.
You can even pre-emptively attempt to limit any potential saltiness from developing by engaging with your opponent before and during the game - get the banter flowing and keep things positive and fun. Starting with “good luck, have fun” is always a safe bet. You’ll still find players that take it way more seriously and may not give you much conversation, but don’t let that stop you from having a good time.
Keep Calm and Game On
We all play games to have a good time. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. And while it’s never exciting to be on the losing side of it all, it doesn’t mean we need to ruin it for everyone else. Use the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person and a player. Be a better gamer.
In saying that, trash talking with your friends is hilarious and actively encouraged! But know when you’re taking things too far.
Until next time - good luck, have fun.