I’m going to be completely honest with everybody: I’m not usually the sentimental type. However, something that I’ve had on my mind lately is just how my gaming has helped me in multiple ways, mostly in terms of my friendships. The old stereotype is that gamers are isolated, lonely, and choose to be that way. This is a piece that I’m hoping can change all of that.
For the most part I’m not all that social. Sure, I have my regular friends that I keep in touch with via texts, calls, whatever normal people use. However, my best friend Alex is a bit of an exception. Alex and I really started to grow a friendship when I was a freshman at ISU. He was a pretty good friend of my older brother but at the time we played Call of Duty together whenever we would hang out. Eventually I ended up getting my own copy and we started playing online together, keeping up to date on how everything was going. We kept this up through multiple games and years until Alex graduated and I was going into my junior year. By then, we had played so much Call of Duty that we were both fatigued by it and decided to branch out. At this time I introduced him to League of Legends and we’ve been playing it together ever since. It’s something that we do on a daily basis when we can fit into our schedules. It was by this gaming connection that we started a great friendship. Not only that, but I was introduced to one of HIS friends that turned out to be a fellow groomsman in his wedding and we were able to hit it off as soon as we actually met in person.
Alex isn’t the only friend that I’ve made through gaming. In May I moved into the house that I’m currently calling home. I have to admit that I was really nervous because where I had previously lived, I only had one roommate who wasn’t in the house all that much due to an incredibly busy schedule. I mean, here I was moving to a place where people had already established relationships with each other. How was I going to fit in? Would they like me? What would I even tell them when I got there? Well, as it turns out, I managed to find common ground with my roommate Nathan, and once again I can say that it has been a friendship largely built on a foundation of gaming. Nathan is a very avid Super Smash Bros. player and I hadn’t played in a long time but decided to take him on. He beat me horribly but, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I kept going at it and we still practice together on a fairly regular basis. This is just another case in which I’ve managed to meet somebody that I don’t know and been able to make a friendship from simply playing a game together for long enough.
On top of these awesome people I also use gaming as a way to keep in touch with my older brother Tony every once in a while. For quite some time we played Call of Duty at least once or twice a week. Once I got tired of that I got him to try out Borderlands 2 so we could still blow the crap out of everything that moved but focused a bit more on teamwork. Just over the last couple of months we started and beat Sniper Elite: V2 together. It’s a great bonding experience and we would be teach each other at the same time, as well as catching up. We’ve had some pretty deep talks during these bonding times as well, usually about the people in our lives or how school was going, along with dealing with things like my depression.
A lot of people that know me know that I’m a gamer. It’s not something that I try to hide in the least, and if anybody usually has a question about a game I’m one of the first people that they go to. But when I can keep going on and on with the same people I feel that I set the basis of a friendship, as we have a very common ground. Usually we discuss new information that we’ve found or what we think of a particular game. At times it’s about the badass plays we’ve made or the fails we witness. We discuss what a site has rated a game and if we believe it or not. We just indulge in our passion of gaming to the one person that will listen, and that usually creates a lasting friendship as you can see.
Gamers aren’t anti-social people that never come out of the basement. We are a community, and not only that but a lot of the time we aren’t afraid to make our voices heard. I’ve made some amazing friends from simply playing a game together and even when I come to hate that game in itself, I keep playing for them. Alex is a guy that I have forced myself to play League for time and time again, but because of it I have a new drive to improve the kind of player that I am. Gaming has saved me in a lot of ways, and I have to say that I am thankful for being the person that I am for the most part because of it.