Yesterday I received an urgent text from a friend asking if I had seen what Bruce Reyes-Chow had just posted on Facebook. I quickly looked him up and found a post on both Facebook and Twitter reading:
Having a very interesting convo about community in the gaming world. “Where to they find community?” If you want to respond us #opsp
Right up my Wii bowling ally.
There’s a very short answer to where gamers find community: with each other.
Gaming isn’t just about sitting in a darkened room playing a geeky video game and not interacting with people. Playstation, Xbox, and Wii all have the ability to hook up to the internet so you can play games against your friends and people across the world. Mario Kart on the DS has the ability to play wirelessly with up to four people but only one game cartridge. Even individual games are often played by friends at the same time so they can talk strategy, help each other, etc.
Not to mention MMORPGs (Massively multiplayer online role-playing games)! World of Warcraft, FlyFF, and RuneScape being three popular choices. You can interact personally with people by text or by voice. Guilds are a very popular feature, and they often are a community. A community where you come together to kick monster butt, but still a community.
There are even shows about gaming/geek community. The popular British comedy The IT Crowd is one of my favorites. It’s about a woman who lies her way into a job in an IT department where the other employees are classic geeks, and she eventually discovers the geek within leading to one of the best lines of modern television: “Ich bin ein Nerd!”
The independent web series The Guild (written by and starring Felicia Day) is another favorite. It’s about the guild from an MMORPG who meet in real life and become a community in spite of their individual odd quirks.
Last month at my friends’ wedding the groom’s best man said during his toast: “The cake is not a lie.” Many of us giggled to ourselves. It was an Easter egg in an otherwise un-geeky event. In that room we knew who the gamers were. Those who giggled were geeks; those who did not were not. That’s how we find each other. We wear t-shirts, drop quotes, and attend Magic the Gathering gatherings to find each other.
And as if that weren’t enough, there are online forums, comic and card stores, conventions, podcasts, and lots and lots of gaming nights with a group of friends. You may think that gamers, geeks, and nerds have no social life; but we do. We are in communities of shared activities and a common language. The internet makes us able to reach out and find each other across time zones and national boundaries. Whether we’re shooting it out in Call of Duty or commenting on the 20-Sided Death forums, we’re together.