“Will you bring your controller later? Then we can play co-op.” I remember exactly how it was: going straight to my buddy’s house after school and checking out the latest game on the PS2. Yes, contrary to persistent prejudices about video games, gaming didn’t make me more antisocial, it made me more social. Gaming can bring people together. I’m the best example of that.
Easily Maintaining Relationships in School
I was pretty shy as a kid and teenager, but I gratefully accepted any suggestions for more conversation with schoolmates. We talked about gaming solutions, shared favorite games, and longed for the latest title together, eventually meeting up when a lucky colleague actually owned it. I made my first real school friends through a shared love of the PS2.
Game nights with friends
The party basement was full of chips, coke and tower PCs wired to the hilt. Some still remember the famous LAN parties with the stone-age looking computer blocks we used to play Counter Strike, Call of Duty and consorts back then. For me, gaming was never as much in the foreground as the social factor: setting up the computers with my friends, having adventures together, and watching a movie to fall asleep to at sunrise. Simply awesome.
Online friends from all over Germany and the world
Since its release, nearly 117 million people have played World of Warcraft at least once, including me. Fresh to the first German release, I bought the game and its subscription of about €11 a month. I met players from all over Germany, we solved quests together, went on raids and traded. A school friend of mine even met his guild in “real life”.
Whole generations come together
Anyone who has played Mario Party knows exactly what I mean. Nintendo games like these are made for the whole family to get together in front of the screen and play. If you’ve ever played “Mensch ärgere Dich nicht” with your family, you’ll be happy to see more non-violent interactions with Mario, Peach and Co.
While my childhood and adolescence were brimming with social events on the console and computer, there are certainly some who have distanced themselves from “real-life” friends or never built friendships. The reasons for this are as individual as they are complex, but gaming can bring people together, across national borders and generations.