The media often presents gamers as antisocial, rather nerdy beings that spend all day cloistered in their gaming dens, eating junk food and seeing little of the outside world. Statistics, however, indicate that this image is a mere myth. Approximately 78% of gamers in the US feel that gaming plays a major part in making new friendships and improve your social life.
Some make new friends when they sign up for a game, while many others strengthen relationships with work colleagues and classmates by ‘hanging out’ together online. If you love nothing more than getting together with friends but you also enjoy challenging yourself with your favorite game, read on to discover why you shouldn’t stop.
Online Gaming Helps Foster Lasting Relationships
Finnish academics have found that multiplayer games are far from isolating. In fact, they typically encourage players to interact by making them compete against other teams or making teamwork necessary to reach higher levels in a game. Some games provide players with tools for interaction and for communication between groups and communities. It is also typical for players to connect between games via email, on the phone, and even face to face.
Modeling Friendly Support
If you play social games like Animal Crossing, then you know that good vibes and positive interaction are encouraged in many top-rated games. Popular Animal Crossing characters like Cookie, for instance, are always there to chat and take part in activities together (practicing being pop stars, or heading to a natural spot).
These characters model good behavior, as it were, especially for younger players. They openly discuss their thoughts and feelings, with some characters being particularly well known for their caring, supportive nature. When players are engaged in games with other human beings, they can model the language used by their favorite characters and up the fun factor by engaging in activities with friends and characters simultaneously.
Forming Part of a Community
Harvard Divinity School Professor, Casper ter Kuile, states for many millennials, community activities are taking the place of spiritual gatherings such as community worship or church-going.
Ter Kuile believes that group activities can offer the sense of community and accountability that was once offered by religious congregations. This sentiment is echoed by author, Craig E. Mattson in his book, Why Spiritual Capital Matters: Activating Latent Resources in Your Organizational Community.
Mattson argues that human beings today are exploring sites of deep community outside of religion, “whether it’s fitness communities or gaming communities.” What is it that makes gaming a potential source of connection to something greater than oneself? The answer is shared values, support from fellow players, unconditional acceptance (even if you have had a ‘bad game’) and a sense of joy in togetherness.
Gaming in modern times is a vital and popular way to connect with others. Research has shown that many players form lasting friendships through this hobby, with some finding additional ways to connect, such as via telephone and in-person get-togethers. Gaming is also providing many people with a powerful sense of community that helps them feel more spiritually connected to others.