Ask any of my friends who aren’t gamers and they’ll likely prose about how antisocial I am. They’ll tell you that I like to stay home on Friday nights to play games and wonder why I don’t want to spend time with my friends, choosing games over them. My best friend might even call me a sociophobe. They imagine me to be the modern day equivalent of the Hunchback of Notre Damme, replacing a clock tower for my bedroom. Some would even show worry about the time I spent in front of the computer from their position in front of the TV or head burried in a book (on an eReader of course) – an irony in itself.
I don’t blame them for it. The subculture of geekdom, gamerdom and whatever else we’re labelled with this month is a difficult one to understand for ‘outsiders’. It’s a subculture that sits so close to the blurry lines of casual gaming and so near to the mainstream geek culture that sometimes we’re misunderstood as addicts and nerds (which I’m sure most of us are). The reality is, our gaming is a hobby as much as anyone else’s hobby. It might be confined within a digital boundary, but it’s as much an enthusiast pursuit as that of a drummer or home beer brewer (two other hobbies I have).
It’s diluted by our apparent inability to actually have a ‘healthy’ social life. I use the word healthy with a mark of irritation – what defines what a healthy social life is? Why do we need to be in bars or at parties to enjoy a ‘healthy’ social life? Not that I persecute the idea – oh no – not even remotely.
See, I enjoy doing those things. I enjoy going to bars and house parties or braais as much as I enjoy weekends away with friends. I recently went on a weekend away to a literal cabin-in-the-woods without power or technology where I didn’t even have cellphone reception for 3 days and when we took a drive into town where there was reception, I didn’t even turn my cellphone on. For most gamers, the above will ring true – but yet we’ll still be persecuted by society at large for being antisocial geeks.
And the biggest irony of them all?
Ask my gamer friends, and they’ll tell you how much time I spend with them.
That Friday night alone in my room isn’t spent alone at all. It’s spent with my friends. Sure, they might not be physically present, but they’re there all the same. We’re on Teamspeak, playing whatever game the flavour of the week is and we’re spending time together. I spend more time with my friends than anyone I know – and certainly more time with my friends than my non-gamer friends.
That is the biggest irony of them all. The reality is that gamers are some of the most social, open and fun people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and spending time with.
Before this starts to sound like a diatribe, I’m going to end it.
He also hosts the nAvTV podcast and this here website is his domain.