12:37AM. You reassure yourself that it’s not that late as you calculate how many hours of sleep you can get if you go to bed after this game. You are so close to being promoted that you can taste it. You’ll just win this one last game, go to bed, go to work, and be in prime position for a promotion tomorrow night when you log back in. Except, that’s not how this story goes, and you know it.
We’ve all been there. Being on the cusp of ranking up forces us into “One More Game” syndrome. ‘OMG’ syndrome is responsible for thousands of regretful groans and mumbled curse words on any given weekday morning as the victim is awoken by their alarm. The night before things couldn’t be better, but today, the day is nearly ruined before it even began. You can force a smile and move on with your day, but you’re not getting that ELO back.
How it Happens: OMG is Voluntary Mind Control
One More Game Syndrome strikes when you find yourself remarkably close to accomplishing a long time goal or hitting a major milestone. It feeds off your confidence by infecting your thought process after a long winning streak. This is why OMG is so deadly. Gamers shake off negative thoughts, such as “wow y did u do tht idiot noob”, on a regular basis. We have built a resistance to these insults lacking creativity by playing games online for hundreds of hours. This is why OMG attacks us where we are weakest: our ego.
There is no greater feeling than winning a long series of game in a row. It’s like being in the matrix. You are anticipating your opponent’s next move, staying one step ahead at all times. Another game, another victory screen. The “play again” button might as well be a “free win” button at this point. You keep pressing it. Play again, victory screen, play again, victory screen, play again, victory screen. You’re bound to be promoted soon.
And then it happens. As you alt + tab out to switch up your next victory song, you catch a glimpse at the time. 12:37AM. You’ll be crawling out of bed in 6 hours if you go to bed right now, but you’re already committed to the game that’s about to start. Each game is around 30 minutes, so you’re looking at five and a half hours of sleep if you pass out right after this one. It’s at this point, the point in which you find yourself doing mental math to calculate the minimum amount of sleep you can survive on, that you know OMG has seized control.
Downward Momentum: The Unlucky Game
It’s that last game where things begin to go wrong. Personally, you will perform fine. It’s always something outside of your control that derails your streak and sparks OMG. If you’re playing League of Legends, one of your teammates will underperform. If you’re playing StarCraft, you’re internet is going to drop. Pokemon? Your save file is going to disappear. All of these things are very unfortunate in their own right, but it’s your reaction to them that decides the fate of your night, and the upcoming morning.
After your winning streak is officially ended you will have a conversation with yourself, or what you believe to be ‘yourself’, at least. The truth is, in this particular moment, you have a direct line of communication with the OMG virus. As soon as you begin seriously contemplating “should I play another game“, you better hope your internet connection drops again. Because if it doesn’t, OMG syndrome is going to take the reins and run with it.
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OMG syndrome hijacks the brain by reminding you how good it felt to win. You’ll go through a mental highlight reel of all those good plays you made. What OMG hides from you is the difference between the state you were in when you were racking up the ‘W’s, and your current state at 1:17AM. You’re tired, hungry, and concerned about being a complete zombie tomorrow if you keep playing on. Despite this reality, you can’t feel any of that. You’re high on OMG syndome.
Say No to OMG
We all know what happens next. The victim plays 3-4 more games and loses the majority of them, undoing a big chunk of the progress they had made earlier in the night. In addition to this, they also enter the next day as a sleep deprived zombie, unable to quite get anything right for the entire day.
This doesn’t have to happen to you. You can stop OMG syndrome dead in its tracks by saying no the moment it infects your thought process. As soon as you find yourself calculating how much sleep you really need, hit the power button and go to bed. Your win ratio will be better off because of it.