The strangest yet simplest thing happened to me the other day. I realized what has brought me pleasure in just about anything I have ever done. It is friends. First video game I ever played, Wheel of Fortune on a Tandy2000 with my sister, Lei. Meeting one of my first good friends, Nick, by way of Mortal Kombat. Countless hours of Starcraft and Halo with Mike on his balcony. Auto Modellista and Gran Turismo 3 with Andrew, sipping on Barq’s root beer and Vanilla Coke. These are just a few of the great friends I have had the pleasure of playing video games with.
My little brother came to visit me for 2 weeks when I was stationed at Hill AFB, UT. The first Halo 2 was recently released and was the first great online shooter for Xbox. At the beginning of those 2 weeks, Conkers Bad Fur Day Live and Reloaded came out. If you have never heard of the game, it is a WWII reenactment of the beaches of Normandy with Teddy Bears (Nazi’s) vs Squirrels (United States). My friend/co-worker, Taz, decided he was going to take 2 weeks off to hang out with us. All 3 of us were in the Top 20 players of the game and received a plush doll of a Conker smoking a cigar in the mail. After the 2 weeks of binge gaming was over, the game slowly faded out because we weren’t hanging out in the same room anymore.
We were able to play online together. Eventually playing the same few maps gets really old and the need for some sense of accomplishment in the game is in order. Playing video games with your friends is something special. I have so many great memories of hanging out with friends in the basement, dorm room, and living room together. Screen watching and hitting each other in the arm while only eating snacks to increase the amount of gaming. Though there was hope to having a ton fun with my friends online in the future.
I eventually got stationed in Kunsan AB, South Korea (Republic of Korea) and was consumed by a game my friend, Deno, introduced me into…WoW (World of Warcraft). It was an interesting time in my life, I chose for the first time to hang out with friends I have only met online through WoW vs. the alcoholic, cheating on your spouse community I was dumped into. Interesting enough I was single when I was in Korea, so for a 21 year old guy to pass on hooking up with random girls every night for a keyboard and mouse says something about the strength of friendships that you can form from online gaming. So much that I had my friend, Raph, be a groomsman at my wedding in Hawaii when I have never met him in person.
Over time a lot of friends slowly traded playing WoW for IRL (in real life) activities i.e. school, marriage, work, etc. including myself. Playing 7 hours a day of WoW after work Monday – Friday and much more on the weekends doesn’t seem like a great setup for a healthy marriage or father of the year. So some throttling down is necessary. However, the moment of boredom is reached when you are playing a game by yourself and there is no new content to learn and no friend to play with. This is only my experience, not an exhaustive case study on why people get bored with games. For me a friend gives me a sense of connection and somebody that I can help with in-game missions and tasks, 2 monumental factors in how my overall happiness is played out.
This can be applied to just about everything I have ever done in my life. I enjoyed racing cars, but mostly in the moments when I am racing with friends or working on cars together. Taekwondo and boy scouts sucked as a kid, because I was doing it without friends. But MMA as an adult was a blast because my friends and I would watch UFC together and practice moves together. Don’t be afraid to ask somebody to play with you or add them to their friends list. You can even add me, I’m mostly on Blizzard games so my Battlenet ID is: EightSix#1584 I hope to see you on my friends.