Yesterday, I wrote about some of "The Unwritten Rules of Magic." One of the rules I listed was the following:
- Saying “good game” as the winner, especially if it wasn’t a good game.
We had a couple people disagree with this concept in the comments:
This is a topic that comes up every once in a while in the community, and it's always an interesting discussion to follow. Quiet Speculation's Ryan Overturf weighed in with his feelings, as well as the perspective he gained from pro player Reid Duke:
It's an open question: is saying "good game" (or in online games, typing "gg") as the winner of a match rude? Really, it all depends on intent and interpretation.
I won't say I have never said "good game" first as the winner. Sometimes, it's a really close match that comes down to one point of damage, and there are times when an opponent offers the hand in concession and I can legitimately say, "Dude, that was a really good game. Well played." I've done it on MTGO, too, but usually with a "vgg," and only when the game is actually particularly good. If the intent of the winner is to be sporting and praise the efforts of her opponent, then it's fine. This is certainly easier to convey in person than online, but it's case-by-case and situational.
Now, if the game was non-interactive, with mana screw or mana flood involved, or an extremely fast and lucky draw coming from the winner, then the winner saying "good game" can absolutely be construed as dismissive, sarcastic, and rude. If you want something to say as the winner in these situations, try, "Thanks for the games," a much more open-ended statement that doesn't imply any kind of quality to the plays made or the games themselves.
Let's stop theory crafting about when "gg" is okay coming from the winner and when it's not, though. The reality of the situation is that almost every single gaming community out there finds a winner-initiated "gg" to be rude. All those links are just a fraction of what a single Google search on the issue had to offer. There is a ton of discussion about this question out there. There are always detractors who say it's ridiculous to take offense at something so harmless and minor, and yet the preponderance of the evidence suggests that many do.
Not to say there aren't exceptions, but if you blithely give the "gg" as the winner of a match, you are engaging in the very definition of anti-social behavior. The norms for social conduct in the gaming community are well-defined in many ways, and for more than a decade now (and possibly longer), a winner-initiated "good game" has been frowned upon, even earning penalties in some Starcraft leagues. You may personally not take offense at it. You can make all the rationalizations you want as to why it's okay and shouldn't bother people. But if you knowingly engage in a practice that many, many gamers consider rude, don't be surprised if people think you're a jerk.