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LONG BLOG

Re:The Dichotomy of Man (Or at least the real ones, the gamers)

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Just like to share an experience similar to Max's. If your looking for witty insight into the gaming community or a well thought out argument then this ain't it. This is just a story I wanted to share. Read Max's blog on gaming community if you want to know what this blog is replying to. Otherwise, just treat this as a story.

When I was in high school, I used to do a bit of track and field. Some discus here and some shot-put there. I was going to take the bus to a competition near a neighboring school when my coach asked me if I could take a new teammate with me. He was thin guy, unassuming. You could tell that he was the kind of guy who would read wiki upon wiki of information about nerd related stuff (as do we all) and that he was unsure on how to speak with people. At the time I was a senior and he was several years below me, so I felt that I had the responsibility to make him feel welcome in the team. Hard part was, I wasn't sure what to talk to him about. Since we were both on the track team, I decided to (no surprise) talk about track. This is where things get awkward.

You ever get into that really uncomfortable situation where you and somebody share something in common yet you just can't strike up a conversation? It's a strange thing. You and the other guy both know a topic yet every time you try to talk about it, it just leads to nowhere. This is exactly what happened to me and this guy. Every time we got the conversation rolling about something track and field related, the conversation would suddenly come an extremely awkward halt. The reason was because we both agreed on the subject. When you agree on something, it becomes difficult (imo) to continue the talking with the guy. Reason is the conversation boils down to this:

"I think that such and such way of throwing a discus can get it farther."
"I concur, that way of throwing is proven to increase throw distance."

As you can see, not very enticing stuff.

So the air around us started to get pretty stuffed up with awkwardness (especially since we were on a bus). Thus, I decided to throw out a last ditch conversation starter. That one thing that gamers are afraid of asking somebody they don't know for fear of a dumbfounded answer or premature branding of themselves in the other guy's eyes. I asked him:

"So, you play games?"

Oh. My. Gawd. The atmosphere when from insanely uncomfortable to bursting with possible conversation topics. His face went from unreadable mask of discomfort to a huge smile that comes with being accepted. Just knowing I played games told him a lot about me. He immediately knew that I had nerd in me. He immediately knew that there was lingo he could use with me that I would understand (HP, DPS, Mods, Tier, Leveling, you name it). He immediately knew that we had both spent hours upon hours crafting our in game characters and getting that epic loot. Most importantly, he immediately knew that I was a gamer.

Gamer. That term encompasses so much. The types of games you play. Your character build. Your raid set up. How to get end game level gear in the first 5 levels. I can say this kind of stuff to gamers and they will know what I'm talking about. Even better, everyone has there own opinion about games be it the mechanics of the game itself (Should I go dual wield or 2 handed?) to the state of games and the gaming industry (Paying for DLC that's on the disc is a rip!).

That guy and I enjoyed a great time talking to each other. Actually, I found it difficult to get him to stop. He would just keep going on and on and on about Oblivion. Anyway, this was the first time I felt the unifying power of games. We know that being a gamer is different from being part of any other group. We know what sets ourselves apart and how great it is that we can share the things we share. So don't leave games as a last resort like I did and wade through a pool of AWKWARD before getting to the good stuff. Just be proud of your gamer status and dive right in. Worst comes to worse, you'll get a chance to drag some else into our world.
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About Jomonoeone of us since 9:40 AM on 03.04.2010