On Gaming With Dodgy Broadband

There’s an uplifting and sweetly introspective song by Dean Lewis that’s been receiving increased radio airplay here in Australia over the last few months. Triple J listeners may recognise it from the line:

“It comes and goes in waves, it always does.”

Apart from being a beautifully crafted piece of pop music this track has come to represent my online existence since we moved into our new house in a semi-rural patch of Perth. The sad state of affairs is that our download speed swings between a perfectly sufficient 12Mbits/s and a glacial 200Kbits/s (a 98% speed drop) with no rhyme or reason. Perhaps one day Telstra will identify the issue and be able to restore some consistency, but in the meantime we’ll be making do with stalling videos, failed uploads and mid-game server disconnections. #FirstWorldProblems

In the Destiny universe (yes, I’m back on that highly unsafe wagon once more) a poor connection status often leads people to suspect a player of cheating through the use of tools such as ‘lag switches’. Here’s an example of someone who appears to be manipulating their internet connection for competitive advantage, given their combination of top position on the scoreboard and red bar connection status.

Luckily for me I rarely sit atop competitive leaderboards and therefore avoid suspicion, but in the next clip the opposing team would surely have been cursing my red bar connection and its incidental benefit (the delay between throwing Nova Bombs and the bombs exploding is not meant to occur).

Regrettably the rest of this laggy match was characterised by glitches and shots failing to register, but that particular moment was pretty spectacular. Even accounting for this lucky Slayer Medal I would much prefer to be playing the game normally than be trying to deal with teleporting opponents and the other bizarre side effects of a poor internet connection. In fact, were I able to stay connected to the Destiny servers I’d be competing in the monthly Iron Banner event right now, but alas…

On the plus side its about time there was some new content for this blog, so I guess I have to say a big “Thanks dodgy broadband!” for providing the clips and inspiring this post. But let’s wrap this up with a little more from Dean Lewis.

“There is a light in the dark
And I feel its warmth
In my hands, in my heart…”

Powerful imagery indeed, and based on the rest of the song you could be forgiven for thinking that he pines for the carefree optimism of youth; that naive freedom borne of a life lived unencumbered by the drudgery and responsibility of adulthood. The video clip would suggest that this is all just a metaphor for romantic love, but I can assure you that it is much, much more. Like Dean, I find myself dwelling on precious days past when the internet was reliable at whatever speed you had. I think of my own early teenage years when downloading a 3.5MB song took 20 minutes, my early twenties when YouTube brought on-demand entertainment – as well as the term ‘buffering’ – to the wider world, and even to the first house we owned with its internet that barely got out of second gear but was guaranteed to get you through a whole night of gameplay without getting you booted at the worst possible moment.

Not everyone gets a childhood full of sunshine and bliss, but we should all experience lag-free online gaming. #FirstWorldIdeals

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