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Phrase Alert: L'Esports D'Escalier


Sometimes you see a phrase and it’s like you don’t know how your vocabulary has functioned without it for so long. Today Chris Hecker’s blog (you know – him off Spy Party) introduced me to to the term “l’esports d’escalier“.

It came into his life via a tweet by a chap called Matthew R.F. Balousek and he’s taken it to mean that moment when you realise the perfect play you should have made in a competitive online game well after the window for making said play has passed.

Obvs it’s based on the French phrase “l’esprit d’escalier” which describes the moment when you think of the perfect retort too late to use it. I frequently encounter l’esprit d’escalier and wonder how different my life would be if I’d just said the witty thing instead of “Yeah but… so’s… it’s not… well that’s… SHUT UP.”

Same with competitive gaming and the regret which comes with knowing what you should have done well after committing a garbled disaster of a play:

“If I’d only reloaded and emptied that clip into his smug, leaping face instead of blundering into a crate while out of ammo!”

“If I’d had a BKB I could have survived that fight long enough for us to make a comeback and if I’d had a force staff – WELL, I could have led everyone a merry dance round that jungle long enough that Phantom Assassin could have…”

“No, Brendan, it is *I* who will vote *you* to die in City of Horror rather than trusting you like a blithering buffoon!”

So thanks Matthew and Chris. And now, RPS readers, tell me of your own l’esports d’escalier moments. I would like to feel better about my disasters.

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Philippa Warr


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