I found diversity and acceptance in the gamers I met. We might call each other names and make politically incorrect jokes, but when I needed help they were there. My gamer friends led me to my jobs, which turned, into my career which lead to my writing and this website and the same happens every day.~J.A. Laraque
Video Games and Life
While not talked about as much now as in years past the idea that gamers or video games leads to antisocial behavior needs to be reexamined. While it may look like someone is alone playing in the room or office the way we communicate has changed and just because you might not see someone face to face does not mean there is no connect.
As for me personally, I not only met most of my friends from games, but also launched my career. Coming from Chicago to Miami I left all my friends behind, many from childhood. I was already way past the high school years so going down to the local mall to find friends was not an option.
Now to be fair I did not know gaming would lead me to meet friends online and then in person, but today that is a very common story. Just as internet dating was (and sometimes still is) looked upon as weird so was making real friends online, but that has changed. Sure, we can look at Facebook friends and laugh knowing that out of those 3000 you might have met 50, but even if you meet one or two they could change your life.
I found diversity and acceptance in the gamers I met. We might call each other names and make politically incorrect jokes, but when I needed help they were there. My gamer friends led me to my jobs, which turned, into my career which lead to my writing and this website and the same happens every day.
Interaction is important. I had to make the choice not to be scared and meet these gamers. Now, depending on factors like age and location, you take precautions, but it is about making a connecting, even if it is in a virtual world the bonds are just as real.
For some, that voice over Ventrilo is the only way they can reach people, some might have a disability or for economic reasons and region cannot meet people like them. I have found this among older people who feel ashamed for liking video games at their age. Yet another way of thinking we need to change.
Even during the worst days of Everquest when we would play for hours upon end we would still call each other and meet up for dinner and talk gaming. Just like sports or gossip it captured our attention and entertained us and that is all that we cared about.
Just like any other friend, some were better in game than real life. There were friends that quit playing games and stopped hanging out, but the same happens outside of gaming. However, many remained friends for years and still are to this day.
The great thing about gaming and life is it continues and you know if you are still into games 30 years from now you will find others who share your love and are willing to talk about it. Maybe the next time you want to pull someone away from a game find out more about it first. Many parents ended up strengthening their bonds with their kids over World of Warcraft. Some people meet their future wives or husbands.
I may not be as hardcore as 10 years ago, but gaming is in my blood and I doubt that will ever change. I enjoy my job and my hobbies because it revolves around it. So be it retro or new, pc or console or even mobile the next game may bring you closer to that best friend or perhaps even more.