Playing video games is too often associated with loneliness. In all fairness, I understand where the idea comes from. I’ve already talked about how gaming is a solo experience and this is the image most people will have. But it can also bring people together by creating a shared experience. Unfortunately, it is not always easy for people to understand this type of connection, especially if they do not play video games themselves.
The irony of is, I owe one of the strongest relationships in my life to this supposedly antisocial pastime. My sister is just about as obsessed with gaming as I am. She may not be crazy enough to write a blog series about the subject, but she plays her fair share. For years her and I did not have much to talk about, but that changed when we became obsessed with a game called Fallout 3.
On the surface this is not a game that should be bringing people together. Its story is set in an alternate timeline where the world was destroyed in a nuclear war and hundreds of years later civilization has just about crumbled. The player must find a way to survive in the hostile wasteland while avoiding the horrible monsters that call it home. This should not be a premise that strengthens bonds; not just because it is incredibly bleak but also because there no multiplayer. For some reason people love this series, myself – and more importantly my sister – included.
I got the game for Christmas and played it for hours at a time and yet my sister always seemed to be ahead of me. I would go off and complete a well-hidden side-quest and then run upstairs to brag, only to find out she had completed the quest weeks ago. She just has an easier time with this type of game, but I’m not writing this to whine about my own lack of skill. Before this point in our lives my sister and I did not share a lot of common ground. It’s not that we weren’t close, we just did not seem to have much to talk about. Now we talk all the time and not just about video games either. This is what non-gamers tend to misunderstand. Gaming may be a solo experience, but it can also be the starting point for a powerful friendship.