Even before anyone gets mad at them, they don’t want to spoil other people’s fun.

The best part about video games with online multiplayer modes is how they let you share the experience with a huge group of other people. Coincidentally, the worst part about online multiplayer is also sharing the experience with a huge group of other people.

Many people forget their manners when they’re hiding behind a veil of online anonymity/outside of real-world punching range, and the lack of tact and consideration that so often peppers the interpersonal experience of Internet gaming can quickly sour a session. However, Japanese Twitter user @shimesaba67 has a different problem with the interpersonal aspect of online multiplayer:

Recently, I’ve been suffering from ‘Multiplay Phobia.’ It’s a term I made up myself, to describe the negative emotions that come when I find myself worrying that my poor play might be a nuisance to the other people on my team, and I become scared of playing the game anymore. I wonder if anyone else feels this way…”

At a quick glance, this might sound like the same “People are dicks online” observation that gamers all over the world regularly make, but there’s a key difference. @shimesaba67 isn’t talking about making a mistake, then having other players suggest you kill yourself in real life to atone for your in-game mistakes. Instead, he’s talking about an internally generated sense of guilt, where he, on his own, feels bad about spoiling the fun of more skilled players by hurting the team’s overall performance.

It turns out he’s not the only one who feels like this in Japan, as other Twitter users responded with:

“I completely understand what you’re saying.”
“That’s totally me too.”
“I don’t get that way, but my friend ends up feeling like that a lot when he plays games online.”
“I absolutely get what you’re saying. I’m OK if I’m playing with people I personally know, but if they’re strangers, I feel [Multiplay Phobia] pretty strongly.”
“I’ve given up playing games where you join a guild or have to work with others. I’ll be a solo adventurer only from here on out.”

Of course, there’s no doubt that the online gaming community’s stigma as unwelcoming of newbies and intolerant of screwups contributes to @shimesaba67 and others worrying that the rest of the team won’t enjoy the game if their play is less than perfect, so several commenters also took the opportunity to speak out against short-tempered gamers in general. “There are too many online gamers who forget the simple fact that in the beginning, everyone is a beginner, and that everyone makes mistakes,” lamented one.

On the plus side, the fact that so many people could sympathize with @shimesaba67’s Multiplay Phobia shows that there are gamers out there who’d appreciate a more cordial environment. So for the sake of all those suffering from self-initiated Multiplay Phobia, the next time you’re playing online and a teammate ruins your shot at victory, maybe sending a quick message of “No prob-it’s only a game” would be a good gaming strategy.

Source: Twitter/@shimesaba67 via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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