I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember. I remember late nights playing Monopoly with my siblings, playing Uno at the dining room table with the whole family, and challenging my brother to Mortal Combat. My childhood was filled with my brother or sister teaching me how to play games like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario and more. It has always been my experience that gaming brings people together.
This is my experience even now that I’ve graduated to playing MMOs and Tabletop RPGs. All types of gaming are designed to cultivate friendships. Friday Night Magic and L5R events help players meet people of like minds who challenge them at something they love. LARPing events create an environment where you feel safe doing what you love with people who have similar passions. MMOs and programs such as Xbox Live allow gamers to connect with people across the world. This is a beautiful medium that encourages teamwork as well as challenges that can help us grow as people.
More recently, I’ve started gaming with a friend I’ve known for several years. This friend and I met online through a Facebook group and only spoke through comments and the occasional message. Last week, we decided to play Lord of the Rings Online together. This has given us the chance to get to know each other outside of Facebook, which will help our friendship grow into more than just liking each other’s posts.
A love of gaming helped to cultivate the friendship I have with Crymson Pleasure. It’s helped me meet new people and become closer with those I already knew. If it wasn’t for Dungeons & Dragons, I wouldn’t have some of the friends I have today. If it wasn’t for World of Warcraft and LOTRO, I would still think of some people as just Facebook friends I never talk to. Gaming is a way that I can stay close to my best friends, even though I live across the country. It’s a way for me to meet new people, both near and far, and create new connections across the globe.
I know that gamers get a bad wrap. We’re called nerds and geeks and losers who have no friends. We’re told that there’s something wrong with us because we have a passion for video games or card games or tabletop RPGs, which will result in a lonely existence. Well, I’m here to tell you that those people who put us down, they have no idea what they’re talking about. They don’t have access to the vast network of gaming friends around the world that we do. They don’t understand that gaming is an amazing connection to the rest of the world.
So, let’s ignore the haters and continue being a close-knit community of like-minded individuals. Let’s continue having fun and showing the world that we’re happy with who we are. Let’s continue making new friends and coming together to make sure everyone’s having a good time doing what they love.
And, while we’re at it, tell me about some of your experiences with how gaming has brought you closer to the people you love in the comments below!
-Vanri the Rogue