Sitting on Facebook tonight, I’ve realised that the block or mute functions on websites and games are one of the greatest technical creations ever invented. It’s not just for banning strangers from spoiling your online sessions or sending that old school bully that’s still a bit of an arse to social media hell… It’s a useful tool that can shape your online world entirely.
I’ll be mentioning my personal five top picks in the world of the ‘STFU’ option here for my own personal enjoyment while you can add to the list below in the comments section.
1. Muting Teenagers on FPS Games
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t come across online players whose parents obviously don’t know what the abbreviation PEGI means or are numerically illiterate on the subject of age ratings. Little warbling chicks who have found the use of words reserved mainly for hardcore porn movies or the local docks when the navy is in town, these troglodytes can ruin a first person shooter in seconds.
They scar the fields of battle, dolphin diving, quick-scoping and generally being better than everyone else at the game due to their tiny minds containing the knowledge of the game they’re playing and nothing else. These goblins live, eat, sleep and shit Call of Duty.
If you suddenly hear a high-pitched catalogue of naughty verbal abuse, then worry no more, hit the button to bring up the squad list and hammer that mute button like you would their parents for even allowing them to play such filth. Job done.
2. The Reverse Mute
You’ll be sitting on your comfy chair, repositioning your squad of crack troops (drunk clan members) into a defensive formation around a high priority target, when you feel the sudden need to fart, burp, cry like a girl or just stop the fellas/girls from hearing your partner rattle on about how you haven’t done the housework, walked the dog or maybe you just left your bodily hair in the shower plughole again.
Sometimes this can lead to embarrassing moments and days of taking stick from your team-mates for being overheard telling your missus how much you enjoyed watching Frozen for the fifth time or agreeing that Johnny Depp is indeed a handsome man…
The reverse mute comes into play when you hear a member of the household approach your gaming area. Your ears prick up like a gazelle who’s just spotted a lion sneaking through the grass towards your water hole. You quickly reach for your mute tag on the headset and flick the switch before you can have your metaphorical guts ripped out for the pleasure of your listening friends, cackling like hyena’s as your shame is brought to light. You may now continue to discuss the benefits of matching your curtains to the wallpaper in safety.
3. Use Your Own Soundtrack
Are you sick of hearing utter guff dubstep, techno, indie or rap music pumping through your television or monitor speakers when you crank up the latest driving game? Do you, like me, hate the idea of getting into a car and switching the radio on in an open world game involving stealing motors and clubbing innocents to death for a few dollars?
If the answer is yes, the clever developers of these games invented an option long ago to either turn it off entirely or lower the volume so you can mug bystanders and hurtle away from the fuzz at top speeds in peace and quiet.
Some have even added the option to port your own music through the console, adding more appropriate music, suited to your taste that will enhance the experience of these games rather than making you want to strangle whoever chose the soundtrack with an iPod charger cable.
Even better, buy a docking station for your MP3 player, sit it in front of your TV and you have the full package of driving heaven, even if it does mean having to lean over to skip the crappy tracks that manage to sneak their way onto your gadget.
Suggestion: Road Rage and Guns and Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, the ultimate combination of retro, tarmac-based violence and high-octane heavy rock is simply amazing.
4. The One Sided Debate
Add someone on your social media site of choice, troll them up into a frenzy of sweaty, teeth-gnashing argument on their page and try to stay as civilised as possible while they spew venom like a hung-over cobra after a night on the tequila.
Whether they be a friend or foe, it’s always great to look back on the threads that evolve when you ‘unfriend’ and block their ass, knowing that the content of the text on their status will now only display the said rival, gibbering on like a lunatic to themselves and probably resembling Gollum having a tantrum at Smeagol with a smattering of Gordon Ramsey in the mix.
Great for putting someone who has done you wrong to shame, especially if their mum is on their friends list…
5. The Candy Crusher
The single most useful use of the block button comes in an age when people spend their entire lives glued to laptops, tablets and phones, playing some stupid game that requires you to match things on-screen in garishly bright colours and probably with cute animals that would look better on my dinner plate.
No matter who you are, if you have a facebook account, you will have at least one friend who persists in sending you around 300 invites to play the same soul-crushing, microtransaction-fuelled twaddle that they are obsessed with.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve asked them to stop, reported them for spamming or held their children hostage in an effort to clear your page of more invitations than a Jonathan Ross Halloween party… They will still persist in driving you mad in their effort to get another free ticket so they can gain access to the 867th level.
Amazingly, facebook have allowed the use of a button, hidden in the deep recesses of it’s intentionally confusing structure, to save your friends list of another cull by just blocking the app. Oh and it works like a charm… Until some other tosser publisher with gold glittering in their eyes releases six new games at the same time, making you repeat the process until your facial hair is long and grey.
So, there you go. My top 5 choices for the use of the block/mute button. If you have any amusing, useful or just downright evil tips that may assist others, please let us know below.