Posted by Theo Martin

There’s something about the way online gaming brings people together.

Take Left 4 Dead for example. You’re thrust into a world of zombies, unspeakable horrors ready to tear you a new one, along with 3 other gamers, you need to work together to survive. If you make it through that campaign you’ll likely form a bond with your fellow team mates that transcends race, creed, nationality, all those things. And I’ve got a lil theory…

Gaming can strip away our judgement

For the most part, multiplayer gaming is often played with people you kind of know, but have never met before. You start communicating with someone through their gameplay, reacting to their move sets, and adjusting to better coordinate with them (or not…heh). The next layer is through text speech. That gives you a bit more of an identity based on the way you talk, what words you use to describe things, and how you communicate. Then comes voice chat where you flick that mic on and give your lungs some exercise. And then, if you have an amazing game alongside someone you connect with, you might invite them to your local gaming VOIP channel.

The reason this process of communication is so important, is that it takes a LOT of effort to ‘identify’ and ‘categorise’ a person you’re playing with in-game. You have to work through 3 layers before you get a feel for the person, and even then you’re only looking at them through their voice. In theory, this gives everyone an equal opportunity to be the best person they can be!

Gaming puts the focus on the experience

Online gaming is all about sharing experiences. Most of the time we are unable to judge a person’s appearance, or something silly like that. Then, as you better get to know each other, you are slowly exposed to their voice, then their appearance, and so on. The entire process starts with their mind, who they are as they play, that’s what you connect with first, and what makes you want to build a friendship with them.

Getting down to the nitty gritty, and past how we associate with fellow players, is the way that we bond through experience. Dark Souls is an amazing example of this. So many traps in the Souls series are unavoidable the first time, meaning nearly every single player has a first time experience of being hit by them. This makes it super easy for Dark Souls players to start a conversation and discuss gameplay, because they can all say “oh my god, YES! That damn boulder in Sen’s totally crushed me too!”. Moreover, people with any kind of social anxiety are sometimes able to cope better when the conversation isn’t centered around who they are as a person, but rather about their in-game character.

So, what am I trying to say here? Online gaming provides a platform for us to connect with who a person is, not petty things like where they come from, or what they look like.

Who was the last person you really connected with in-game? Send them a message, say HI once again :)

Happy connecting, and GAME ON!!

Theo // Community Manager

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