You've Lost Me To Video Games

As most of you know, I play video games. But I think many are unaware of my devotion to gaming. I spend an estimated five hours a day, minimum, playing video games. Please, don't add it up to a yearly amount or you will wonder if I am wasting my life.

While some people go to dinner parties, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc. to hang out with friends I simply switch on my Xbox 360 and log in. Then I hit my extensive game collection (over 200) and decide who I want to be or where I want to go for the night/day. Huh? Let me explain. With video games, I can do anything, be anyone. But not in that freaky-can't-relate-to-humans sort of way. Think of back to when you were a child and played. It is the same thing, but grown-up.

Once I have figured what I am in the mood for, I determine if I want company. If I want to chit-chat while playing, I'll play the multiplayer version of a game. If I feel I've chatted enough on the phone, in person or online, I'll stick with the storyline of a game, solo.

I view the online world of gaming as I do any online community: Carefully. I don't give out information all willy-nilly. I rarely accept friend requests unless we have played together a few game rounds and I know we play well together. The exception is my gaming clan.

Yep. I lead a gaming clan. Shock, horror. The gaming community is widely divided on gaming clans. People are either for them or hate them. For me, I am not partial to gaming clans. I find most clan leaders to be...narcissistic to say the least. It is either their way or the highway.

For me, I insist upon voting. All members, even those in probation, are encouraged, no, expected to vote.

This has created more of a unity in my opinion. We are close. Chat about personal issues while gaming. A sample of how a conversation might go would be:

Me: So, in essence, because of the DNA testing, they found all men can be traced to one common ancestor. Same with women. I wonder why all women and men can't be traced to one common ancestor? Two coming across the bridge. Taking frags. Thank you flak jacket! What do you think?
Tom: OK, headed back to seal bridge. I don't know. Maybe they are wrong with the tests.
Me: Yeah. Science is good for being a mystical art that we coat with clinical terms. They took me out. One headed down the path with a friend guarding.
Tom: Got his friend. Mystical art? How? They got me. Two underneath, ghost.

As you can see, this is from a recent Call of Duty: Black Ops match when were were playing Capture The Flag on Jungle. These sorts of conversations tend to drive other players nuts because, honestly, they can't keep up or filter out the general conversation from the gaming info. So if we are feeling chatty we bring it to a party so as to not disturb other gamers.

But, look deeper. What do you see with this conversation? I was recently told, with this particular conversation, but a person on our team that it is amazing we can play like this. I asked him why. His response was that it takes incredible intellect to keep a conversation going on one subject while relaying tactical information to teammates. I simply explained that we have all played together so long that our tactical information relay is clipped so it brings more attention. Plus defenders automatically tune out attackers and attackers tune out defenders.

For me, and people I game with, multiplayer gaming is a social outlet. We enjoy spending time together without the extra expense beyond our Live Membership and the video game. We exchange recipes, gardening tips, gaming tips, love tips, dating tips, car repair, etc. Talk about our families, our goals, our friends...our lives.

My gaming clan has a very low turn-over rate. We have learned to work through our differences and come together as a team, as friends.

But, for a non-gamer to become involved with a gamer such as myself, well, feelings can get hurt.

When I used to date, I was often accused of cheating because I didn't answer my phone or respond to a text. I did warn the guys that I would be gaming and unavailable. a non-gamer they don't realize that when gaming, a gamer is engrossed. After about six times of this happening, I decided to put "Must game" at the top of my list. Something important to remember for all you gamers looking for love. ;-)

I listen to the guys in my gaming clan and their significant others. I am acutely aware of how much time they spend gaming. Years ago I learned if I wanted to keep that guy playing in my clan, bring in his wife/girlfriend.

While it is not hard to teach another person how to game, it does take time and patience. The end result is that I have made friends with some amazing women all over the world, whom I still chat with regularly.

The bottom line is that gaming is a great social outlet and networking tool. It is a multi-billion dollar industry full of a diversity. But, if you aren't a gamer, then you might have lost me to video games.


Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Stay frugal!