Cheating in Video Games (Blaugust #17)

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I’m going to talk about an arguably controversial topic today: cheating in video games, also known as “hacking” (even though that makes no sense!) This is probably much more prevalent in FPS games or other competitive games, but it does occur pretty much across the board and is something that causes a massive problem.

The reason I wanted to raise this is because of an experience I had yesterday. I am no stranger to “hackers” in games, but yesterday I was playing H1Z1, specifically a Battle Royale match. The name “Battle Royale” comes from the Japanese novel and movie of the same name, and involves a large number of players gathering weapons and defences and fighting til only one survives (or one team, in the case of team-based games.)

Long story short, T and I were in a two-player team and had got into the top 5. We were in the tiniest safe zone imaginable and had a rough idea of where the remaining players were, as we’d already seen and heard them moving around in front of us. We had our backs and one side to cover, one of us was covering the front and the other covering the other side. As we were about to make our advance, both of us died one after the other to an invisible assailant. The kill message claimed we died to an AR15 rifle, but no gunshots were fired. The sound of the attack was much like a melee weapon, and when we died, we glitched out standing upright. We came in #3, but also didn’t receive our rewards at the end.

I was pretty livid. It’s not really worth getting too mad about as I can’t change it, but it got me thinking. Why is cheating so rife in the gaming world? I know that people want to win, and when you give them rewards they will be more likely to do so, but what makes a person want to cheat?

In this case of a game where rewards aren’t a thing, where you’re just playing for the sake of playing, what drives a person to download or even buy a cheat program and use it to beat their opponents? For me, when I play a game, I want to feel like I achieved something. I want to see myself beating my old scores or dominating my opponents because I’m good at the game, not just because something made me able to do it if I wasn’t otherwise capable. How can anyone find that fun? Is the need to win so much more important than the need to improve oneself, even in an environment where winning means very little?

I admit it. I have used a cheat once before. But wait, hear me out! It was in a LAN gaming centre that I used to work in, and we all turned on a wall hack (in this case, it made the walls somewhat transparent and gave them a wire-frame look) and played against each other for a laugh. Everyone in the game either had it turned on, or knew we were using it. To tell you the truth, I performed worse and felt motion sickness coming on! But I think this was due to how they’d made that particular cheat. Others might make people visible through walls as coloured bodies or dots.

I just don’t know why anyone would choose to play with a cheat on a live server. I can’t imagine what anyone would get out of it except for torturing their friends like I’ve seen many in that gaming centre do. Or is that what it really comes down to — just another way to grief?

What are your thoughts on cheating in video games in its many forms?

  • I can’t give you an answer. Cheating doesn’t occur to me in most games, which is also why I’m terrible at finding exploits when I’m testing, because it doesn’t occur to me to exploit stuff. Cheating in competitive games baffles me even more, but we do live in a culture (especially here in the US) that values winning above all else, no matter how you do it. The prohibition these days is not against cheating, but against getting caught while doing it.

    I regularly use mods and console commands in single-player games, though they’re almost exclusively quality-of-life type cheats.

    And yes, I’m an old cynic. 🙂

    • For the longest time it didn’t even occur to me as a “thing” either! It was more when I saw people doing it that I started really thinking about what caused it. I had never really thought of it the way you mentioned here, though!

      I also use mods and console commands sometimes in single-player games, but I don’t believe in god mode for anything, which is probably where I draw my line haha.

  • Not to ignore the post entirely, but battle royale doesn’t come from the movie title. It’s an easy mistake to make, but I knew otherwise immediately because professional wrestling has had battle royales since before I was born. It got me thinking: where the hell does the term come from? The term seems to go back as far as the late 1700s and originated in some bizarre variation of a boxing match where seven or more people fought in a free-for-all.

    I gleaned most of this information from this article: http://www.cagesideseats.com/2013/3/9/4028970/battle-royal-WWE-Boxing-wrestling-with-past-origins-history-combat-sports-part-one

    • I had no idea! Interesting. I always thought it was based on the novel and later the movie. TIL!