Video gaming can be serious – too serious at times

Here’s a little bit of information for you: The best professional video gamers can make $15,000 a month. You read that right. I said $15,000 a month for playing video games.

Kind of makes you wish you hadn’t wasted all that time in college or trade school, am I right?

I love playing video games. Modern gaming is so incredibly immersive. You are not just a person with a controller in your hand. Instead you are a cowboy, super hero, space warrior or giant – the games are that real.

I especially love the “open world” games like “Red Dead Redemption,” which is a game set in the wild west. Your character has gunfights, ropes cattle and beats up plenty of bad guys. And you can ride your trusty horse all over a huge, wide open playing area. You can spend hours just hunting various game so you can sell the pelts for much needed ammo.

But there are aspects to current gaming that I try to avoid, and that includes online player vs. player gaming. I have dipped my toes in those waters, and it is brutal. Seeing your beloved character killed over and over in the most heinous ways while some kid taunts you through your headset can be pretty demoralizing.

Yes, kids who have not yet gone through puberty are destroying you and then mocking you. It is not good for the ego.

So, I stay away from playing with other players I don’t know online. It can be a cesspool of negativity – just like the Internet.

Well, apparently one 45-year-old man from New York couldn’t resist a little online gaming, and it is going to cost him. I recently read that the man, who was playing the hugely popular game “Fortnite” online, was arrested after threatening an 11-year-old boy who had beaten him in the game.

That’s right – a grown man threatened to kill an 11-year-old who beat him in a video game.

Police said the man threatened over text and voice messages through the gaming system they were using that he would kill the kid. He even said he might shoot him at school.

All of this over a video game.

So, is this a comment on video game culture? The Internet? Our current discourse as a nation? I would say all of the above.

I remember a few years ago I went online to try my hand at playing the futuristic combat game “Gears of War” against other players. A kid – I could tell it was a kid by his squeaky voice on the headset – killed my character over and over again. I would respawn and there he would be, blasting away.

Sure, it was annoying. And yes, being slayed by a kid who had probably never kissed a girl was a bit depressing. But I did what any adult would do: I gave up and went back to playing by myself. (You thought I was going to say give up video games, didn’t you? No chance.)

So, while the best of the best players earn big bucks in the world of competitive gaming, guys like me – who grew up on “Pong” – will continue to play by ourselves and with our adult friends. But if you do like to play online and get schooled by a pre-teen with an attitude, just put down the controller and have a beer.

The kid can’t do that, can he?