Online gaming helps youth keep in touch

Create: 12/01/2015 - 19:33

I still remember opening the Christmas gift with my sister when I was a wee lad and being so excited to find a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System. Thus began the video game aspect of my life as I immersed myself in the playing of Blades of Steel, Contra and of course the eponymous Super Mario games.
This transferred to subsequent systems: NHL’94, and the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and the Lost Vikings on the Super Nintendo; Goldeneye and Star Fox on the Nintendo 64; and
Metal Gear Solid, Syphon Filter and the Driver games on the Playstation.
Early on, video games were criticized for enabling sedentary and anti-social behaviour, and while the former might be true, my video gaming experience has been mostly social.
As a kid, my friends and I would challenge each other in NHL matches or take turns trying to beat the Mario games. In high school, we’d gather and at friend’s, connect two Playstations and play the Command & Conquer games all day; since it was a one-on-one game that could take an hour, everyone else would just hang out while waiting for their turn. And of course we’d have four-player matches in Goldeneye.
There was a period where I didn’t play video games very much.
Then I watched my younger brother play his XBOX 360, which popularized online gaming for consoles. I bought myself a 360 and played online with my younger brother and cousins.
Friends I knew since high school began to get their own consoles, but instead of getting the 360, they bought the Playstation 3, and they would say “Hey, I was playing online with…” and name a friend being someone I hadn’t seen since high school.
A few months later, I sold my 360 and bought a PS3 and joined my old friends in playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which was just released at the time.
We’d make a clan and often play together as a team against other players from around the world. I reconnected with my old friends who live in different parts of the province, such as Cochrane, Welland, Toronto, Moosonee and Ottawa.
Using mics or the system’s message system, we’d catch up while we awaited the next match or in-game. It was fun seeing how certain friends’ playing style didn’t change from back then.
One of my friends loved to trash talk, and to our amusement, he often did so against other players from other parts of Canada, the U.S., or somewhere in Europe or Asia.
Often we’d work together to win a match, but at times we fooled around and ‘kill’ each other for our amusement when we’re supposed to be teammates.
When I moved from Timmins to Thunder Bay more than two years ago, online gaming helped me keep in touch with my Timmins friends.
In a way, playing with them online was our way of hanging out, since we were in different cities, doing our thing whether it’s going to school, working a full-time job or taking care of a family.
These days, I’m disinclined to play if my friends aren’t online. If I do, I tend to get angry if I’m not playing well. When I’m playing with friends, I don’t really care how well I play.
I realize this may sound nerdy and strange, but I think this is common. I had classmates and roommates in college who expressed similar feelings.
Online gaming: it’s fun to play against strangers but much more fun playing with friends and family.

See also

12/01/2015 - 19:37
12/01/2015 - 19:37
12/01/2015 - 19:37
12/01/2015 - 19:37