Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Return To Social Gaming

Yesterday marked my return to the world of social gaming. My new headset works fine and there is no shortage of people from my clan to group with in World Of Tanks. Unfortunately for them yesterday's triumphant return of Gank to social gaming did not coincide with a sudden sobriety on my part. I may not have made the best team-mate after about 1:00 am last night so apologies to all who may have been affected. I also note several new premium tanks in my garage which I'm pretty sure I bought, but if the WoT police how up with an arrest warrant for Grand Tank Theft we'll know what really happened. I decided I should stop playing when I noted that there was, in fact, no wine left in the bottle, and then ran straight into a rock with my tank. Impaired tank driving. I wish I could say it was going to be the last time.....

I had a lot of fun and it was nice to be able to chat once again to gaming enthusiasts. I couldn't help but think how nice it would have been to have access to this world when I was younger. I wasn't a very social kid and growing up in a small prairie town didn't help matters. Gaming was still a weird fringe activity and the internet was many, many years away (yes, I know, hard to believe but true). 

Now when I say I 'wasn't a very social kid' I mean, of course that I hated almost all social situations and was filled with anxiety because of it. I wasn't awkward, really, but just overly sensitive. I had no brothers or sisters so a lot of the arguments, name-calling, and harmless fun that kids participate in was a bit alien to me. I took things very personally and sometimes had to be (literally) pushed out the door to 'go play'. It took me years to pick up on the social cues that many of you may take for granted. Now that I'm older I always pick up on these cues, but now I just don't care!

Examples? Glad you asked!

Them: Hi, how are you?
Me: Good thanks.
What's missing? ".......and you?"

Me: Hi, how are ya?
Them: Oh, I'm not too bad, thanks.

Me: [walks way]

What's missing? ".........oh, why's that?" The social cues here being the "Oh" (which is a pause to say something is coming you need to pay attention to and is usually followed by a sigh); and the "not too bad" (which is to say, not good, so will you please ask me why).

You see? I get it. I just don't follow along with the social game, and thus the friend count plummets! If I had a facebook account I may actually have a negative friend number. That would be harsh- a counter which only records how many people have de-friend-ed you. I'm sure it's coming and I would love to invent it!

I'm not saying that online-games and on-line friends should take the place of 'real life' activities, or social groups but it would have been a nice place to hang out I think. There are a lot of us who don't necessarily shine in standard social situations but who are nice, interesting people. And much like the Cheers theme of long-ago, it is nice to go where everybody knows your name and are (hopefully) glad you came.

A place where it doesn't matter what you look like, how much you weigh, how bad your acne is, or how good you are at hockey (I was average). A place where a group of (usually) friendly people with a common interest are always waiting and willing to chat and hang out. It doesn't matter how bad of a day you had, who picked on you in class, or how stressful your day at work was when you're online (or it shouldn't in any case). For a while you can have fun and I think that is what social gaming should be about.

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