Day 100! We have finally hit the triple digit mark but I am going to save the celebration for tomorrow’s post. Today I want to finish my little gaming series which was inspired by this month’s book, Ready Player One. Yesterday I talked about one of the biggest educational lessons I learned from gaming and today is going to be about social interaction. Let’s get into this.
The Scary Internet Stranger:
I grew up in the early era of online gaming and the way people interacted with each other was very different from now. It was still very taboo to give out any personal information to someone you met via the internet. Meeting an internet stranger was a terrifying thought. Much of this was due to shows like How To Catch a Predator and media stories about young children getting kidnapped by an internet stranger.
It is almost hard to believe this was only a little over a decade ago. Now the most popular dating app is all based on meeting a complete stranger through the web. People live and document much of their lives through multiple social media platforms. Times sure do change rapidly.
Back to the point. I remember the first time I gave out my real name to someone on a video game. For some odd reason, I felt like I broke an unwritten rule and I was ready for the worse. The player I gave my name to, returned the favor and something weird happened. We both continued to call each other by our video game names instead of our real names.
I always found this strange because a lot of our video game names were crazy obscure. For instance, my gaming name was Imnotop for years, until I changed it to Foshay or Parkeur. Think about it… would you ever refer to another person as Imnotop? Probably not, that is a mouth full. That name is what thousands of people knew me by, even my best friends, who I met online, called me that for years. If I hear someone say “Op” I still have a tick in my brain that makes me think someone is referring to me. (I forgot to mention, “Op” is what most called me)
My Social Life:
Without gaming, my social life would have been abysmal when I was a teenager. I was constantly battling something that usually resulted in me being home. Gaming was a way for me to keep my social interaction skills somewhat normal. It gave me the ability to learn about other walks of life that I wouldn’t ever be exposed to. Gaming brought the rest of the world to my fingertips.
I have invited a multitude of friends I met through video games to stay at my house. Guess what? They were all stand up dudes and I never once got an uncomfortable feeling. I consider them family and they know they’re welcome anytime.
The World at My Fingertips:
I want to share a story with you pertaining to an individual I met through gaming. Earlier I mentioned how gaming brought the rest of the world to my fingertips and this story is a great example of this. About six or seven years ago I met a dude from Venezuela via a mutual friend. When we first met him, he was still learning English. His way of learning English was by playing with native English speakers. Still to this day, I think this is amazing. The drive he had to learn English is remarkable to me.
Over the years we stopped playing with each other but he still continued to be in our group of friends. As many already know, Venezuela has not been in the best state and it continues to worsen. Through this friend, I got a first-hand account of what life is like during the collapse of a nation. My friends and I were well aware of Venezuela’s downfall and the severity of it before any of the media started to cover it.
A couple of my friends offered to help him in any way they could. Whether it was flying him to the US for a couple of months or sending him supplies. Luckily, he was able to move to Argentina and is doing quite well.
The reason I am sharing this story is that gaming gave me an opportunity to learn first-hand about life in another country. Venezuela was not the only country I learned about, I have talked with people from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the list goes on. Gaming taught me that a countries politics doesn’t define the people of said country. We are all humans and we all have human-like struggles.
I kind of got lost in my memories and started to rant a little bit. I feel like I got my point across. This is where today’s post ends, I hope you enjoyed. Make sure you tune back in tomorrow for my 100-day reflection. See ya’!
This month’s book:
Here’s another beautiful photograph from my lovely photographer:
Also published on Medium.