MARCH 14, 2020


Here's one of the things I've found myself wishing for in this season of social distancing: Friends who play video games.

I have always been someone who loves video games, but I have grown uninterested in the medium over the last decade. This is partially because most of the stories that video games tell are, uh, bad (not ALL of course, I just played the short list of games who managed to make something great), but also because the achiever inside of me can never play games for too long. There's just no purpose, my inner-achiever says! Why are we completing these quest for some guy named Link?! Why aren't we out doing something?!

I am aware that this inner-monologue may not be entirely healthy. And yet it's there. So I pick up a game, futz around in the world for an hour or so, and then put it down, never to pick it up again.

I recently played two games that got more than an hour out of me (the oddly similarly named Outer Worlds and Outer Wilds) but even still I eventually fell off, feeling some strange inward guilt about this out-of-body questing.

So back to my point! I'll tell you one way that games don't trigger this inner turmoil: When I'm playing them with others. I have such beautiful, fantastic memories of playing Halo 3 with my college friends. Of wandering around the virtual city of Grand Theft Auto IV, hijacking a school bus, and committing to a reenactment of the movie Speed. 15 years(!) later, I remember those moments better than any single-player experience.

A few years before that I remember buying a 'Network Adapter' for the Playstation 2 that let me plug in a hardwired internet connection. I bought the military game SOCOM because it was one of the first to utilize this new thing and joined my first online game. I loved the experience and immediately began searching the internet to find others to play with, and because the internet has a powerful way of forming bonds, created friendships that would last for years.

In the phase of life I'm currently in, I have no friends that play video games.

My Xbox is an island when I want it to be a hub.

Maybe in this season of staying at home, I'll find some.