Backseat Gaming, and You – #PoorSportsmanship

Jaco and Vegeta from Dragon Ball Super, Episode 44

For those who are just tuning in, I would like to explain to you what “Backseat Gaming” means. It seems it’s a term used in a very few places, especially in the online world, but such an activity could have happened to you, and you may not realize it.

Saitama from One Punch Man annoyed at what he sees. (From Episode 9)
You don’t want this to be the face of a streamer if you ruin their experience. (Anime: Saitama from One Punch Man)

If you’re unfamiliar with Centaku Media, this is a hub where I post original content on this blog, as well as find interesting information, news, and the occasional memes on our Twitter and Facebook pages, as a means of curating content to other like minded fans of Otaku interests. I also have a Twitch channel, because I like to be video game-y when I damn well feel like it.

(Author’s Note: a little inside humor, don’t mind it. For context, please check out the About page.)

The Twitch channel is a small, yet slowly growing area of the Centaku Media network of social hubs that I am still perfecting literally every day when it comes to settings and customization. One of the rules I decided to put in place is the “always active ‘No Backseat Gaming’ policy”.

To explain what “Backseat Gaming” is, allow me to let Marge Simpson to project how she feels about it:

Or, to put it plainly: it’s the action of telling someone how to play the game, especially if the player finished the game several times in the past, when they didn’t ask for it.

To have a unique experience, I decided to put this policy in place for my channel, and to not have anyone unknown running the channel over myself. An unique experience I had recently on the channel was during a stream of Final Fantasy XIV when I overlooked a requirement to run a Duty to progress through the Seventh Astral Era line of quests:

For those who don’t understand what’s happening: The Whorleater is Item Level restricted to 50 and above, and it didn’t occur to me right away that it was not by Job Level, like in Final Fantasy XI or World of Warcraft, because I was running around as Not-Noctis (Item Level 1 for each piece) as a Level 56 Bard.

You could say it’s embarrassing, but I actually had a little fun with this, especially since this is a game where you can find yourself roleplaying with other players, even when you don’t specify it as a status in game. (Note: I’m sure Nakaichi had a good laugh with this.)

Here is another example of what one could call a Backseat Gamer, from controversial Twitch streamer, Tyler1, where a teammate appears to be way too encouraging for his liking, causing him to react the way he does in this clip.

(Note: this reaction wasn’t necessary as seen, which was between friends, but please keep it professional if you encounter a similar problem in the future with a total stranger.)

For someone unfamiliar with this concept of Backseat Gaming, it could be seen as a rude attempt to dismiss help from fans of the game. However, remember that I said that it could create a unique experience? If help wasn’t requested, the viewer would get to enjoy the outcome of what happens during the stream, as in the clip from my FFXIV stream. However, if there was an issue where all other options were exhausted during the gameplay, the streamer would ask for help from the viewers, thus creating engagement. Plus, the broadcaster could tag the stream with “Backseat Gaming Allowed” for viewers to help out, especially for a game they have not played before.

Jaco and Vegeta from Dragon Ball Super, Episode 44
Actual footage of a streamer (back) low-key annoyed with a Backseat Gamer (front). (Anime: Jaco and Vegeta from Dragon Ball Super, Episode 44)

In my past streams, playing Final Fantasy XV, one viewer asked if I needed help because it looked like I was “lost”, when in actuality I was playing the game as I normally do any other RPG if I wasn’t streaming, looking around on the map for any items or NPCs I could have missed that I need leading up to the finale. Also, having a policy like this in place can also prevent spoilers of the game. During my playthrough of FFXV offstream, I discussed–without spoilers–of where I was in progression. I was told, where it could have been worded better to avoid spoiling it, that I needed to do one thing, because the other would not happen after a huge event occurs in the game. While I won’t quote about what actually happened in the game that slightly ruined my enjoyment… just think if this happened during the stream, where someone in the chat did something similar, ruining the experience for everyone, especially the streamer.

There you have it! I hope this cleared up everything about “Backseat Gaming”. If you’re curious to see what happens next on the Eorzea Journal, check out my streams on the Centaku Media channel on Twitch! Also, if you have a Twitch channel, introduce yourself in the “Share Your Goals” post!

What are your opinions of Backseat Gaming? Share in the comments below!

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About Sanjo-chan

Just another Otaku breaking the tradition of just an anime freak.

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