I don’t think gaming would be as prevalent and important in my life without my friends. Some of my best memories around video games have been with friends. Long nights trying to beat Demon souls, hours spent grinding our way through monster hunter, hanging out after school and playing a few rounds of the terrorist hunt in the original Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6, and all the excitement around Call of Duty Modern Warfare.
When I was in high school, voice communication in games was becoming more prevalent. We used Teamspeak and Ventrillo when we had friends who had a server. I remember for the longest time our friend group would conference call each other and tie up our parent’s landlines when we didn’t have access to a server.
I went to college in a different state and as a result, I lost touch with a lot of my friends as tends to happen But there were a few I kept in close contact with. In college, I didn’t game nearly as heavily as I did in high school and as a result, I lost a lot of contact with my friends who shared that common interests. In fact, after college, I’ve really only kept in contact with one of my childhood friends, Jay. I talk about Jay a lot here, he’s my go-to gaming buddy and my best friend.
This isn’t by accident. When I graduated college in 2014, I bought myself a headset for my PS3 that had been gathering dust at my parent’s house. I knew that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be in touch with my friend for long as our lives grew busier. We live 4 hours away so we don’t see each other in person all that often. But through video games, we’ve kept in touch for the last 5 years.
About 3 years ago, Jay introduced me to his circle of gaming friends. We were all in a group skype chat that was fairly busy. It was a little weird at first, feeling like I was intruding in the conversation of all these people who had known each other for years. But after a few months, I felt part of the group. I’ve kept in contact with these folks for 3 years through various games. We’ve, thankfully, moved our group chat over to Discord. It turns out Skype is not good for these sorts of things.
Flash forward to earlier this year and I actually got to meet these guys I’d been talking with for years at one of their weddings. It’s a surreal experience meeting someone in person that you’ve come to know by their voices alone. But we all lived so far from one another it was awesome having us all in one place.
All of these connections have come from games. And they wouldn’t have been possible without them. Today it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with friends new and old with discord, skype, and social media. I for one am so thankful for the ability to talk to my friends and play games so easily.