My best friends name is Matt.
When Matt was a kid, his father died suddenly. I don’t have a whole lot of details, it’s not something I’ve ever felt entirely comfortable discussing with him, because I know he hurts from it. Either way, I know he was and still seems to be-understandably-heartbroken. Because of this incident, he started playing video games to take himself out of reality. When he was 15 or so, he moved to Texas to be with his longtime girlfriend, who after a few years, dropped all her semi religious beliefs and cheated on him with-from what I understand-multiple guys. Once again, heartbroken, he turned to the comfort of video games. It’s a coping mechanism, but it’s a safe one at least. He doesn’t like to drink, so he didn’t take that up to dull the pain. He just logs on and plays more games. At this point, his gamerscore is over 100,000 not counting the previous account he had before this one, and he also has owned a wii u, a wii, has a ps3, a ps4 and a 3ds and everything in between. He also has been known to partake in MMO’s and all other sorts of gaming available. He even, at times, has paid for my xbox live gold account and bought two copies of things so we could play together.
We’ve known eachother for about 9 years now I think, and we talk every single day. We’ve been there for eachother through breakups and family deaths and divorces and he’s even stuck by my side with no problems as I’ve transitioned from male to female. When his girlfriend left him, I was there. When my parents split up, he was there. I’ve probably spent more time with Matt than anyone else in the world outside my own parents, and we talk every single day, sometimes for hours at a time, and rarely have arguments. So why am I telling you all of this? Because with all that in mind, and Matt being my best friend, we have never met in person. He lives in Florida (and did when I first met him before he moved to Texas too), and I live in California. We’ve never-over the course of this 9 year friendship-been in a room together, physically. So why are we so close? How do you stay that close to someone you know online?
I’m one to often bitch and moan and complain, and I’m one to often attack services like XBL or the PSN because they’re ultimately unstable, unsafe networks with which you can, for no reason whatsoever and at any time, lose all your downloads and even your account (which happened to him recently. He lost his entire 100k account even though he’s never cheated, boosted or anything, and Microsoft hasn’t contacted him back to fix it), but I have to say one thing. These services create a bond like no other. No other media can you partake in that’s like online or co-op gaming that gives you the same sense of friendship and companionship. Gaming is a cooperative thing. Even if you’re playing against eachother, you’re still both there, in the same program, doing the same thing. While the internet brought us together, services like XBL and PSN bring us even closer. We now spend so much of our time in front of our monitors that most of our day to day interactions take place with another person on the other side of screen. I rarely see any friends in person anymore. That’s just kind of how things work in this day and age, but that’s what’s amazing. These online gaming networks have given us the capability to become even closer than it was ever thought we could. I’ve spent more time with Matt-someone I’ve never met face to face-than I have with people I’ve known since middle school.
So I’m gonna go ahead and say thanks to Xbox Live. It may be shitty at times, it may not work every now and then and it may go down once in a while but in the end, it’s given me the best friendship I’ve ever had.
Gaming saved his life.
Gaming gave me my best friend.
Sometimes-even with all my complaining and all the rage on the internet-gaming really isn’t all that bad.
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