When people are brought together through video games
Video games have come an incredibly long way from their rather humble beginnings (at least from our point of view now). Many folks can remember going to the arcades with their friends, lining up in front of their favorite game to spend what allowances they had on some mere minutes of gaming. Yet all the while forging memories and friendships that would go infinitely deeper. While video games have changed from their bulky exteriors to smaller platforms we could easily have in our homes, they have ever continued to bring people together. Now, with the advances of the world wide web, people are brought together in numbers previously unheard of and its hard for any doubters to write off the appeal or popularity of video games.
Anyone recognize this screenshot? Some will and some won't but I am almost certain we are all familiar with the ever infamous "LEEROOOOOY JEEEEENKIIIIINS". This video from the early days of Blizzard's own "World of Warcraft" became a global hit and running joke as an entire raid is wiped thanks to the impatience of one rowdy paladin. But contrary to what most players thought, that this was indeed a live raid going south, the short video was a recruitment advertisement for the guild "PALS FOR LIFE" of which Leeroy himself (created and played by Ben Schultz) was a part of. This whole raid set up and consecutive wipe was all planned out by the guild's own members to bring people together. A goal that was actually realized as the video and it's actors gained internet and even real world fame.
To this day the video remains a fine example of what players can accomplish all for some fun.
I think far more people will recognize this image. In 2003 a group of friends in Austin, Texas, sat down in front of their Xboxs, loaded up "Halo", and launched an internet series that would go on to form an international sensation. Complete with crude jokes, foul language, and the rather terrible voice audio compression of Xbox Live, "RedVsBlue" took off and all too quickly outgrew the group that created it. From this success the famous "Rooster Teeth" company sprouted and grew up to put on several conventions (RTX) that packed venues, stadium seating, and was a stable company to see at any PAX convention. One couldn't even mention "Halo" without Rooster Teeth itself entering the conversation.
Despite the twists and turns Rooster Teeth has taken in recent years the company and it's founders will go down in history, living on to show what a group of friends can create with a little dedication and a shared love for a game. No matter the future that awaits Rooster Teeth itself, the scores of fans and communities that were formed in its wake will continue on, entire friendships made through a common interest lasting for lifetimes. All because some drunk guys sat down and started goofing off one night.
Video games have always brought people together and in some cases created something much larger than the game itself. As the world of gaming grows ever further I expect we'll see more and more of the above and beyond. E-Sports is now becoming a larger and more widely accepted form of professional gaming, with entire stages and worldwide viewership that rival major league sports.
Likely many of us have heard or been told that video games are just a distraction or that they will never lead to any form of meaningful work, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Video game development is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the world, more and more games will be made and released that can be played on the professional level, the future in video games has never been brighter.
Even if your desire isn't to enter professional gaming or game development, like me, there will still be plenty of opportunities and plenty of people brought together from all over the world. So never let a naysayer tell you that video games are meaningless or the friends you made through them aren't "real" friends. People brought together through video games are no different than people brought together through football and as gaming grows so too will the crowds.