Improving game communites: Gaming together

Game communities online are a funny thing. They can be hilarious, entertaining, and awesome. They can also be obnoxious, trollish, and intolerable. So what can we do to make game communities suck less? Well, one of the best ways to do that is to meet in person, but of course, certain things can restrict that from happening.

Whether it is time, money, or location, some people just cannot make it to in-person events. And even among those who can, most cannot reasonably go to more than a couple a year.

It’s why we have forums, IRC, community blogs, Ventrilo, Stickam, Skype, and any other means of connecting with one another online. While NARPs and other community meetups solidify friendships, it is the online interaction that builds a person up to decide to take the plunge to begin with. It should only be natural that one of the best ways to build a gaming community is to actually play games together.

Of course, here at Destructoid, we have a long-running tradition of Friday Night Fights, or FNF for short. With the magic of the Internet, we can produce a reasonable facsimile of what it was like back in the day, sharing a couch with a few other friends, huddling around a small, standard definition TV. Only now, we’ve got the whole screen to ourselves, and run a much lesser risk of getting punched.

As somebody who typically can’t make it on Friday nights until after most others have gone to sleep, I still have found ways to connect to other Dtoiders in games. But however or whenever you do play with your brethren, you may find that you really click with some. You begin to work as a team like a well-oiled machine, and meanwhile, you can kick back and shoot the breeze with your new friends.

There are a few people on Destructoid who I literally would not know a thing about, were it not for the time spent playing Call of Duty 4 or Left 4 Dead with them. Who the eff is Ascythopicism? He’s that dude who won a PSP recently for being the latest hairy naked gamer. You know what else though? He’s really friggin’ good at Call of Duty 4, he recently got a red ring, and he’s all around awesome to converse with. I don’t even remember whose friend he was before he was on my XBL friend list, but I met him playing games, and I can’t imagine not knowing him now.

Playing together not only builds the community among itself, but strengthens the bond between community and the people running the show. We can sometimes forget, as readers of a blog that reaches millions, that the people writing the stuff we read are actual people, and they actually play games too.

This, I think, is paramount. And it is one of the tenets that Destructoid was built on. The writers, editors, and contributors to the site will directly interact with you. They will post on your forum threads, they will comment on your C blog posts, and perhaps most importantly, they will play games with you.

So while face-to-face meetups are unparalleled, it is still necessary to maintain online communication. And when the end of the day rolls around and we’re done with talking about video games together, it’s nice to be able to just STFUAJPG. Together.

Darren Nakamura
Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strategy, and rhythm games, he takes particular interest in independent games. He produced the Zero Cool Podcast for about four years, and he plays board games quite a bit when he can find willing companions.