I play online with others so often, it’s almost hard to remember a time when I didn’t.
But good gravy, there was a time when I didn’t.
Back in 2005 I had just moved back to the United States from Germany, and I wasn’t on what anyone would call a winning streak. My family was on their way to not wanting anything to do with me, and I didn’t really have any friends to speak of in the area.
I was deeply lonely.
I don’t look for sympathy here, quite the contrary; I brought much of my misfortune at that time upon myself, albeit unintentionally. I have long since dealt with the issues of the time, but it was a decidedly low point in a life littered with low points.
In spring of 2005, I bought a GameCube and an Xbox on the same day. I felt the pull to return to gaming after many years away, and it was delightful to get not one, but two consoles on the same day. I bought a smattering of games for each, and one of the games I wound up with was Mario Party 6.
Yes, I know Mario Party games aren’t good. I just didn’t know that then.
Every Friday, if a new horror movie was releasing in the theatres, I would go see a matinee on my own. If a new one wasn’t releasing, I’d stop by Blockbuster (yes, those were still a big deal back then), rent a couple of horror movies I hadn’t seen yet, then go grocery shopping for the week, and head home.
I spent a lot of time alone.
In the complex I lived in, a handful of my neighbors somehow got the wrong idea about me. The way the apartments were positioned, my downstairs neighbor’s patio was right below my living room window. If he was out there with people and talking, I could hear everything they were saying.
There were many times I wished I couldn’t hear what they were saying. They said some rotten things about me.
One night that summer, I was home, alone, on a Friday night. I was feeling restless and I decided to play Mario Party 6. By myself.
As I sat there on the floor in front of my TV (the controller cords wouldn’t reach my couch), I could hear my downstairs neighbor saying some of the worst things about me, and I just cried. I sat on the floor playing Mario Party alone and just felt incredibly sorry for myself.
I don’t know why I felt like sharing this story. It just occurred to me the other day when I thought about playing Dropmix alone. All of a sudden I got back the memory of playing Mario Party 6, and the almost theatrical staging of the moment.
It’s almost funny now, I suppose. I mean, I love playing single player games as much as I love playing co-op or multiplayer titles. They are such different experiences, both with unique merits. I think about the people I’ve been fortunate enough to game with, and some of those people I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person, as well. I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the wonderful people I know through the computer (or console) were able to actually get together in reality. I feel sure so many of us would get along like gangbusters.
I hope I get to meet some of them someday to find out.
I know this was a random piece. Sometimes I just get odd memories and feel like I should share. I suppose this is one of those times.
Do you prefer playing games solo or with others? Have you made new friends through gaming? If so, how did it transpire?