Back in the early days or video games, arcade was king.
You’d go with a few of your friends to wherever you could think of that had a few cabinets if you didn’t have a dedicated arcade around, and often it meant going to places like drug stores, pizzerias and the laundrymat. You’d collect your quarters, or get dollars turned to quarters there, and play until you were out of money. I’m not sure how many people actually put in the cash necessary to BEAT arcade games, but you played them. But as these fell out of favor probably due to repair costs and whatnot, and consoles became more prevalent, we started to notice a change. Whereas before, you and your friends would often go play something together, now with a console IN your home-a dedicated gaming machine-they would have to come to YOU or vice versa.
Still, it was nice. A way to do something and get together and be a little bit social and have a nice time. When I was a kid, and we have consoles, I’d call a friend over and we’d play for hours, or I’d go spend the night at their house and we’d play all night long. Just a blast. There was still a sense of social interaction with the game, and that was nice for an introvert like me and like a lot of gamers, I think. But then came online gaming. This is where things hit a snag. Where gaming once had a social aspect to it, it now had a social aspect that was purely done by online matchmaking, or parties, or whatever. Games like WoW and the creation of things like Xbox Live allowed us to play with friends, AND STRANGERS, without having to ever leave our homes.
While this seems like a convenience, it really sort of stunted my social interaction. Now my only social interactions were either school (where it was very minimal even there), family get togethers or my weekly satanic rituals where we’d sacrifice a goat to the great lord of Orglathork, ruler of the 3rd planet in the 9th dimension for the hope of everlasting life and rule over earth. And while the Orglathork rituals were fun, they weren’t the same type of fun as getting together with friends and playing video games was. And sure, you could still go to each others houses and load up your consoles and play side by side, but by having the option to not do that, you usually didn’t. It was just easier to play online.
This is a real problem for introverts like myself, as I said. Playing video games WAS my social life. It was my way to get together with someone or on occasion a few someones and actually enjoy myself socially. Anxiety is a bitch, but because we were all focused on something-the game-we didn’t have to either talk THAT much and we didn’t have to force boring droll conversation about nothing. It was a way I could easily relax in a social setting AND do something I enjoyed. As a teenage girl with no real friends or any other social life to speak of, it was a godsend for me. But once this online gaming thing became more the norm, I simply became more and more isolated.
I partly blame that for why I have an even harder time now connecting to people. I have a hard time being face to face with someone, even someone that I’ve known for years or am still very close to. By forcing me to stay in and play video game more solitarily, it made me enjoy a digital world even more than my love for the internet already did. Not to mention the sad reality that even now, I only have 1 person I play with online, so I’m even MORE alone playing games online than playing games with people in the room. That’s…boy that’s depressing.
Thankfully soon Orglathork will once again rise and bring about the end times.
Maybe he’ll play a round of Mortal Kombat with me too.
Maggie Rose (pictured left) is a 26 y/o transgirl. She currently lives with her girlfriend and their dog. Together they fight crime, put an end to injustice and sometimes do laundry. She is a writer because she has no other skills or applicable talents useable for monetary gain.
Orglathork (pictured right) is the ruler of the 3rd planet called Zebolt in the 9th dimension known as Garthamesh. His hobbies include eating the souls of the damned, plotting for total universe domination and needlepoint. He’s also a big fan of Michael Crichton, and was recently married last month! Congrats Orgly and Barbara!