Saturday, September 14, 2013

Forging New Friendships Through Online Games

Online Video Gaming has a stigma - that it eats away at your life and ruins it, and that all people who play any games at all are lazy people who live in their parents' basement and can't hold jobs. Trust me, as I've gotten older I've seen it happen to a few people. Just like every other thing on the planet, if your priorities are out of sync, it can take over... but it is not a stigma that I was aware of growing up. I didn't even really know about it until I got out of college. My siblings played a few computer games and console games, but it wasn't something that I really got into. In fact, I was down right terrible at them so I didn't play a whole lot. (Though, let me tell you, they got quite a kick out of it when I did try to play - especially games with an "inverted Y" **kudos to you if you know what that means**)

So when Eric and I first got married, I would tell people that he played games (table-top and computer). He wouldn't be considered a "gamer" by any means, but he enjoys them and does play casually. At first, he was taken aback that I was so open with it (due to the stigma). He didn't say anything to me because he didn't want to upset me and he could see that I wasn't spreading the information maliciously - I wasn't trying to tell people as a way to get him made fun of, but simply as a means of conveying our interests... And what resulted was fantastic. He wasn't criticized; in fact, the opposite happened! More people that play games came forward and suddenly he had more people to play with. Through this, he became more relaxed about people being aware that he enjoys games and has created an even bigger network - friends from college, friends from work, friends from church...

At first, I really wanted to support what Eric enjoyed and so I started trying to understand computer games and through my desire, they turned into something that I enjoy as well. As our marriage progressed, I too started playing a few games with him (co-op) though generally speaking, I prefer to watch him play. It is like a movie for me, except, I can control the outcome! I am so glad that it is something we can do together. We are selective about the games we allow into our home and we know, as a couple, that as long as our priorities are in order, gaming will never become an issue. 

One of the games that we started playing last year is called DOTA 2. It is a game of 5 people on a team against another 5 person team. When we first started, we didn't know many people who play. A friend of a friend of a friend of a ... well, you get the idea ... named Jake stepped in to teach us how to play and essentially became our coach for a bit. Eric, having his natural talent to be good at just about everything he touches, took off fast ... but I still relied on Jake (and Eric) for quite some time. :)   Jake is someone we never would have become friends with if it weren't for this game. We have many friends like this. It is amazing the community that is connected with the games online. So, say what you will about online gaming - this is one benefit you cannot deny; the friendships that can be forged that otherwise would never exist due to distance.

Well, this weekend, for the Oregon vs Tennessee football game, Jake came down to Portland and spent the afternoon at our home. We watched the football game for a while (until it became an obvious shut out ... poor Tennessee, and poor Jake) then switched to table-top games. It was fun to be able to meet him in person!
Aaron on his bike trying to be like GP (my grandpa)

I had a hard time getting a picture of these two! They were hardly ever holding still. Jake made the mistake of helping Aaron "fly" on a pillow, and was therefore stuck doing it for the entire afternoon :)
Look! Without trying, we wore duck colors today! Green and Yellow. Go Oregon!

In today's society, there are so many amazing "things" that we can take interest in. Things that at one point would have been considered "strange" or "abnormal" are now becoming "normal" because everyone is into at least one "abnormal" "thing" ... so don't be afraid. Do what you enjoy and pay no mind to the nay sayers!


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  2. This was really so very interesting and fun for me to play. I have enjoyed playing this game much. This was great.

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