Cheating is for everyone, but not everywhere

Why the mode matters?

Before we begin talking about his subject, a very important distinction has to be made. Cheating in single-player games is not in any way comparable to cheating in multiplayer games. That is because of the most important difference between those two mods: presence of another player or players. This still stands even when we look at single-player games with online components like a leaderboard or a Co-op mode because they require for the player playing his game alone, to willingly allow other players, into his game, or to join in on the multiplayer elements, like the leaderboards, which turns his game into a multiplayer game. Yes, some leaderboards are on by default, and cannot be turned off, but they are a passive element that the player can simply ignore. This way, he can keep playing and enjoying his game, totally offline and privately, even in games where elements like this, are included by default.

Do you care about how many dots my Packman ate?

Single-player cheating, why even care?

Now that I have touched on the subject of privacy in games, one thing has to be made clear: cheating in single-player games is not a public issue. It should not even be a hot topic on the internet, let alone be a subject over which gamers should argue about. Yes, posting videos about cheating in single-player games makes the subject public, but once again it is a passive thing. A posted video cannot, in any way, influence other players and their gaming directly. The only thing that does happen, is that some players, who enjoy the default single-player experience very much, seem to find videos of single-player cheating offensive. In other words, they chose to be sensitive to the matter of cheating, in other players games. This is their personal choice, and in no way can it be used as an argument against cheat using players, who are free to do as they please, in their own copy of the game. It is very valiant of the players, that they want to protect the artistic design and choices of the developers, who made the game, against the players using cheats in the single-player mod of games, but it is compleatly unnecessary, and never asked of them. It is just one of a few very interesting things and subjects, that stem from the way this entertainment medium is viewed by many of it’s users, but I will elaborate on that in another blog post.

Would Yoshi have a problem with Mario having an extra life?

The bottom line is the fact that single-player experiences are a private thing, maybe better put: a string of private choices and options, even when streamed or posted as videos. That is because of the fact, that those instances of games only exist for that single user, whose making all the decisions and gameplay choices, and those choices only impact him and his game. If the developers want to stop the publication of such videos, or go further, and stop those cheats from being created and used, they have the right to do so, as well as the best know-how. It is, in no way, a regular player’s, user’s, job to pursue single-player cheat users. That said, there is place for those users to hone their cheater hunting skills.

Multiplayer cheating, why you should care!

You know that time when you where the best player among many others? You where winning and then, all of a sudden, you where not, but you didn’t do anything wrong? You know that time when you where already thinking how this is your best game ever, and then suddenly it was: GAME OVER? But the way you lost didn’t add up, didn’t make any sense. That was the time you got cheated on. And once you realized why and how you lost the game, you probably thought that starting a new game was pointless. That was because your will to play, your thrill of the game got extinguished. And that is where cheating does it’s worst damage. You lose the will to play a game you probably love, because of another players actions, worse, not even by his actions, but by the actions of his cheat. You lost not because he was better then you, not because he got lucky that one time, but because he cheated. And you know, that you will never be able to beat him back. Or could you? Could you use the same thing, the cheat that he used on you, to beat him? Could you find him, beat him at his own game, inside the game you are already playing? This is when you should be realizing that he is about to beat you again, just on a much higher and more important level. Unless you are already typing: “Best cheats for X game” in a search engine, then you won’t realize anything other then that cheats cost money, if you don’t want to download malware, like viruses, and other nasty pieces of computer code. But I will get into the whole cheat, anti-cheat money making business in another blog post.

In a game, one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch.

The Cooldown

Hopefully you didn’t lose on that more important level, and you are walking off the mix of emotions your lose to a cheater kicked up. You went through the disbelieving faze, the anger faze and the loss of heart faze. The question on your mind now is the same question millions or more likely billions of people have had, since time in memorial, because cheating is as old as games themselves. I am talking throwing two rocks next to each other old. Why did the other player cheat? And the answer is equally old. Because he wanted to win. That is all there is to it. The will, the drive, the… whatever you want to call the inner wants of a person, was to win. And that is also the reason why you and I are alive today. Because the people who came before us won. They won the battle of life, the one battle that has only a single rule: Survive. The drive to survive is engraved in our human psyche farther and deeper then any thoughts of fair play. But therein lies the rub. The games we play, while not being essential to life and survival, still trigger that survivalist instinct in some people’s brains. And that instinct wants, no, it requires a win, by any means necessary. Hence, cheating.

It’s not the rock, it’s the ripples

Cheating is as old as we are, but does it have to grow old with us? I think not. Our civilized way of life, which gives us the free time to be able to play games with each other, instead of chasing down pray for diner, also gives us the space in which to be fair. To express ourselves in games where we can win and have fun doing it. And we can also lose and have fun doing that too. Wining by any means possible should stay relegated to survival and not competition. Because to compete is to test our self’s against others and learn our limits and possibilities. And once we know those we can improve and become better. We can set new standards and higher bars for those who follow in our footsteps giving them something to look up and strife for, kind of like a real life leaderboards.

What example do you want to give?

How multiplayer ethics work in a game

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