Ten unwritten gaming laws

I realized two things this past week. The first is we haven’t done a top 10 in a little while and that’s an absolute travesty. The second is recently I and the team managed to break a pretty big gaming rule. Saying we were really brazen and unapologetic, so that’s fine. If you want to see what I’m rambling on about you can do that here. In a nutshell, though, there are certain gaming rules you just don’t break. I pulled my buddy Emily Mullis in to help me compile a list of ten of them.

You may agree (we hope you do) or disagree with our offerings. You may even have a whole list of your own. Please remember this is just a bit of fun and a list of our opinions, so please try and keep snarky retorts out of the comments. That being said, enjoy this little collection of rules you would be a bit of a bastard to break.

10. Don’t be a dick!

I’m very deliberately putting this entry in first. I know this is a bit of a catch-all but there is a very subtle difference between indulging in dickish behavior and doing it deliberately.

We all have our off days and not everybody is going to be in a perfect mood all the time. This means the odd rage quit or salty comment is forgivable. Players trolling other players for the fun of it is not. We often talk about toxic player communities and they’re called toxic for a reason. A few bad eggs can very easily sour the experience for everybody else and as good players get fed up and retaliate, bad behavior becomes part of the expected norm. I was put off the MOBA scene shortly after it appeared purely through this. I’m not going to list all the different types of crappy behavior here but I think we all have a very good idea what I’m talking about and the sort of people I’m referring to.

See!? They’re getting on perfectly well with each other. Now, why can’t you?

9. New players are new for a reason. Be kind.

This is a personal bugbear of mine and it’s something that has gotten all the worse with co-operative and online gaming becoming so massive. I don’t care what anybody says, none of these games are friendly for new players.

Take any arena battler you can think of from LOL to DOTA to Fortnight, to any other title where you have a mix of player skills and suddenly you have a problem. As a new player, what you usually find is you’re given a tutorial and maybe a couple of bot matches then get thrown right in at the deep end. I understand every team wants to win, we’re gamers and by nature competitive, but tearing someone down for being new is not clever.

There can be a lot going on for a new player. Give them the chance to learn and adjust.

There is an obvious difference between being bad at a game and being green. The really irking thing is the idiots making nasty comments didn’t come into the game with a bunch of experience, either. Instead of making remarks about people’s mothers, why not teach them how to play? They might get better instead of getting fed up and quitting. In short, there is no newb, only new, and it’s worth remembering.

8. Nobody likes a cheat.

Some people think they are smarter than everyone else. Why learn to be good at a title when you can give yourself “other” advantages, right? Players that deliberately hack games to alter the odds in their favor are not gamers, they’re frauds.

This is obviously a huge problem in any title offering competitive play but it’s something that extends into MMOs and other titles that aren’t necessarily PVP orientated. You get characters wandering around PVE servers in your favorite worlds at low levels with weapons and armor a new player could only dream of. This means one of two things. Either they have a very big wallet or they’re cheating.

Being clever and being an idiot can actually be one and the same.

A lot of these people can’t even be subtle about it. We’ve all met that player that can’t stop talking about how wonderful they are and how clever they are and all the great gear they have. Then they wonder why they get banned for cheating. In short, it’s unnecessary and rightly frowned upon, stop it!

I need to note here I’m not referring to modders and game testers. Some people will break into code and find bugs and flaws. This is a skill and should be noted as such; they’re the good guys, let them get on with it. Modders take a game and can make it better or even make an entirely new title based on the original principle. All you Counterstrike fans out there wouldn’t have your game if some clever sod hadn’t sat down in front of Half-Life and thought, “What can we do with this?” Let’s not paint people on our side with the same brush, but for everyone else, my point stands.

7. Listening to music is fine but there’s no need to share.

Music is as much a part of my life as gaming is. As a DJ, playing tunes to other people is in my DNA. As a gamer, however, I know when to keep my favorite beats to myself.

I think we’ve all been playing in a group for someone to join who just can’t turn that stereo in the background down. You’re having a perfectly civil conversation when it gets drowned out by blaring music. This is the equivalent to sitting on the bus or train and someone sitting behind you and “sharing” what they’re listening to with everyone else around them. Annoying, isn’t it? Yet people who would never do that still think they can do it while gaming. It’s the same thing! In addition to this, how can you be concentrating when we can hear everything full blast? It must be deafening at your end. Put simply, there is a time and a place for everything. Unless you’re invited to share, don’t!

This you are not. Stop it!


The big bold title to this section shouldn’t even be a thing and yet people can’t help but open their mouths. Again, this is a case of thinking gaming is different from other facets of their life.

Would you leave a movie theatre and explain all the best bits of what you’d just seen to the crowd outside? No? If you liked your legs that would be a really bad idea, right? So why is it fine to do it with videogames?

This entire list came about because we’ve just done a list of our favorite plot twists. The difference here, though, is that we acknowledged that what we were doing was dangerously unclever and very clearly told people who didn’t want anything spoiled to be careful what they read.

It’s fine if you don’t play a lot of story-driven games (mostly strategy and puzzle for me), so you aren’t going to be too fussed about seeing the ending to something you aren’t going to play. Equally many of us will happily note you can’t play everything. Those of us that really don’t want our favorite title ruined for us are entitled not to know, though. The rest of us need to have the respect to keep it zipped.

The Last of Us Part 2 looks stunning. This is literally all I want to know about it until release.

Emily Mullis

5. Talk to NPCs more than once.

Any gamer will know that NPCs are more than just directions to the next point or a one-sentence commentary. It doesn’t matter what game you are playing, every NPC should be addressed even if you just speed read completely or skip through their dialogue. This is important because NPCs sometimes give you items you might want or need down the line. If you’ve ever played a Pokemon game you know full well to talk to everyone. From being able to change a Pokemon’s name to receiving berries or final moves for specific Pokemon.

NPCs are invaluable resources and that’s true for all games. There’s a lot a player can miss out on if they ignore NPCs and, frankly, it’s a little rude not to talk to them. They aren’t just stand-ins; they have personal issues and intriguing backstories just like the gamer. Some of them add a lot of value to the story and make it more immersive for the player. They deserve to be heard.

Remember kids, NPCs have feelings, too!

4. Give the good ‘ol “GG” at the end of every match.

It’s just good sportsmanship. Even if you are new to dungeon crawling, PVP, or all-out warfare (Fortnite), you may have seen the good ‘ol “GG” at the end of the match. In case it’s not clear, “GG” stands for “good game” and it shows that even if you weren’t communicating the whole time or at all, you at least have the decency to commend everyone at the end.

In some games, being a good sport can have its benefits and you can make friends, which is helpful in most games. A good game that is heavy on good sportsmanship is Guild Wars 2. You can actually gain experience from reviving other players and everyone has something nice to say at the end of a dungeon, PVP battle, or open-world raid. Saying “good game” at the end of whatever you’re doing helps to build community, which is what most people want in games, especially online ones.

Being helpful is just as important as being a good sport.

3. Every mouth should be shut for cutscenes.

Everyone remembers their favorite cutscene in their favorite game. Opening cinematic scenes hype players up for the adventure to come and an ending cinematic can often generate tears of sorrow or joy. Whatever a player feels during a cutscene, it’s clear to every gamer no one talks while it’s playing. These cutscenes provide pivotal story details no player wants to miss out on and it’s hard to enjoy a beautiful cinematic when your friends are talking over it. It could be the first time, the third time, or the millionth time you’ve seen the cutscene, the rule still stands. Think of it like watching a movie in spurts. No one is really supposed to be talking during a movie and it’s the same here. Besides, a lot of work is put into these cinematic moments. Just look at the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Most of that game was cutscenes and they were gorgeous. There was definitely no talking during those.

*Polite thumbs up*

2. Be conscious of other gamers and be chill.

Having a few choice words for other players isn’t a sin nor is calling out bad behavior or bad gaming. Getting irritated is normal but, overall, you want to be nice and watch most of what you say, just out of good conduct. This is especially important today when kids and adults are playing together and it’s not obvious who is who. Mature adults shouldn’t have any trouble playing with all ages and are often respectful of everyone they are talking to in the game. Fortnite is one of those games that gets a lot of people raging, especially kids, and though it can be funny, it’s also a little ridiculous. Unless these things are staged, there have been cases where twenty-something-year olds have teased kids mercilessly and it was just pathetic. Gaming is something that should bring people together, so it’s important for all players to be conscious of what they say.

The kids can act like kids, you don’t need to join in.

1. Don’t leave the party in the middle of the game.

This is one of the biggest unspoken rules of gaming and most certainly one that will get you virtually yelled at if not silently cursed if you break it. Leaving a party in the middle of a game is taboo. Not only are you giving up on awesome rewards for completing a mission or dungeon, but more importantly, you are leaving your teammates in the dust. And this isn’t referring to open PVP but intimate party missions where every player is heavily relied on.

Of course, emergencies happen and they can’t always be explained right away or ever (since it’s likely you won’t see other players again). Emergencies are one exception along with getting called away by a parent or spouse or partner. These things happen. What we’re talking about here is getting tired of a game and you just up and quit out of nowhere. Be a good teammate. Don’t leave the party hanging.

So, there you have it. All the unspoken rules of gaming. These might not be all of them but certainly a few worth mentioning. Whether you are a hard-core gamer or a casual gamer, these are things to keep in the back of your mind. It will just make gaming with others easier and you will have more fun. Gaming is something everyone can enjoy. Through friendly competition, sharing of items, and just being overall nice, players can easily make friends and enjoy their time.