My Two Gils

I am a Screen-Looker…

There you have it. After two articles, I figured I should tell you a bit more about myself anyway. A confession as surprising as this one will surely do the trick. You see, behind my carefree spirit lies a dark childhood filled with discrimination. Like, I was discriminated against at least 3 or 4 times. It all happened when the Nintendo 64 was still in its early glorious years. I think the game was Mario Kart 64 and the accuser was Alex or perhaps Julien. Whoever it was, all three of them were thinking the same thing. I tried to tame my rebellious ways, but it came back in college… and recently… When I think about it, I’ve been looking at other screens since split screens were invented. I guess I was born this way. I just can’t help who I am…  And now, I accept my difference.

This is where it all started…

I AM A SCREEN-LOOKER! I figure towards which colored block to send my green turtle shell. I know under which counter-top Oddjob is hiding. I see you getting your sniper rifle out. I block your passing attempt on my right. Sometimes, I even see that you need to build additional pylons. I’ve tried to hide this “difference,” this “flaw,” but NO MORE! I’ve making up excuses for the longest time, trying to fit in. To be honest, they were pretty elaborate so I thought I’d share them with you.

Looking at the other screen is a disadvantage

So many reasons made me believe that I was actually impeded by my screen-looking ways. First of all, while others were looking at a single screen, absorbing a single inflow of information, I was bombarded with twice to four times as much. How could my feeble childish mind analyze all this efficiently? Furthermore, even if I did manage to gaze upon an opponent’s screen, wouldn’t I lose precious frames on my own whereabouts and actions? We’re now in an era where anything below 60 frames per second is “unplayable.” Now, I was looking away from my screen for several milliseconds! How could I possibly allow myself to lose so many frames without my hands slipping from the controller? Didn’t I feel the urge to express my hatred of loss frames on ICQ?

You can’t fit 60 frames in such a tiny cartridge!

For some reason, these arguments combined with my atrocious win-loss ratio were enough to make me believe that my screen-looking ways were  an obstacle, hindering my gameplay. It made sense to me, but, little did I know, I was wrong and a poopy head.

If we all agree to look at each other’s screen, it’s ok.

At that moment, I realized that maybe I was a poopy head and maybe I should stop looking at other people’s screens, but I resisted. In an ultimate attempt to keep my screen-looking ways, I proposed house rules: “Let’s all be allowed to look at other people’s screen.”

Surely, by giving everybody the permission to look at my screen, I would be allowed to look at theirs. That way, we would all have the same “privilege,” the same “advantage.” They would continue to win against me by using their non-“third-party” controllers on their parts of the screen where pixels weren’t missing. In the end, I was trying to level the playing field as best as I could.

It’s still not fair if I use this controller? Awwww…

Of course, you know how useless it is to try and change house rules when you are not in your own house. About as useless as a Duo-Tang after Elementary School. In any case, I was promptly asked to stop being a booger face and ruining everyone’s day.

Not looking at other screens in a split-screen game is physically impossible

At that point, I had no choice but to stop looking at other people’s screens. I tried SO HARD, but I just couldn’t do it. No matter how hard I tried, the opponent was always in my field of view. I almost wondered if it was even possible for me to limit my focus to this tiny corner. Hence why I investigated this possibility a while ago.

According to the book of knowledge, the human eye has a field of view that reaches almost 180 degrees. Of course, we can’t see 180 degrees at all times, because we focus on what we’re looking at. Most of the environment surrounding you is blurred, leaving the object of interest as the sharpest point. The direct area around it, when looking IN 3D (!!!!!!!) is part of the binocular vision (area where the two eyes see) and makes up for around 60 degrees of field of view. According to a lot of models I could find online including the military human engineering model, symbol recognition (i.e. the part of the field of vision where you easily identify a known object or image) makes up for 10 degrees of your field of view. That means I can see if other player’s screens fall into this space, proving once and for all that I cannot look at my screen only.

Also applies for non-gray non-males.

Using the assumption that I am constantly staring at the middle of my own screen on a HUGE cathodic 32 inch TV (bigger than the average at the time), we find out that, to avoid seeing the screen above mine, I needed to sit closer than 4,5 feet from the TV! Of course, recommended distance from a TV has always been 5 times its diagonal, hence, in this case, an unreasonable 13 feet from the TV. See these calculations for verification:

Maths, meet 1 More Castle. 1 More Castle, meet proper Maths.

Technically, even if you do look solely at the middle of your screen, the player above you and, sometimes, next to you will be in your field of view. Normally, I would’ve felt relieved. After all, these mathematical and physical theories proved my point. Alas, another part of me knows that I’m just not courageous enough to cause long term permanent damage to my eyes. That I am too frail to defy the laws of physics and stop being such a pee-pee baby.

As weak as Superman

In short, I was lying to myself. The truth is that I’m different. I cannot defy all logic and physics and concentrate on a single screen. I guess I just don’t have what it takes, but at least, now I accept it.


Now, all eyes are on me. It’s my job to educate people with my condition. It’s my duty to reach out to others suffering from this disability. If you ever had to ask people: “Are we allowed to look at each other’s screens?” Or defend yourself saying: “Oh, I just guessed you were in that area.” You might be affected. Don’t feel too down, we can help each other out. Two by two or four by four. We can play looking at each other’s screen. As for all the others, the “normal” people?