Almost five years ago, I came across a new bunch of friends at school. Like me, they were gamers. We played a hell of a lot of COD together and eventually started hanging out pretty much all the time, talking COD. We had just discovered the novelty of pub LAN matches and our heads were full of SAWs, Deagles, AK-47s and no-scope headshots.
A few months down the line, we had established ourselves a decent players and gotten competitive. For me, the novelty was wearing off. We kept on playing, but our morning conversations steered towards other games. DOTA. Unreal Tournament. The Battle for Middle EARTH, Whatever and whichever we were playing at the time.
In our midst was one guy who refused to play any other game. He was a good player: in fact, he was excellent from the get-go. He came to the belief that our skills were dropping because we played other games, mostly single player. To him, all other games were a waste of time. It was this game, these maps, these starts, and nothing else. Talking with him soon became a chore. as he could not appreciate anything other than a new Promod fragmovie. As time went by, casual dismissals turned to epic arguments. Eventually, we went our separate ways: he joined a like-minded clan and made it to national level tournaments, I (and my other friends) went on to Skyrim, Minecraft and the new worlds therein. Whenever I met him and his new clan I would find myself with nothing to say. How do you talk to someone whose entire life is only one game? How do you explain the procedural wonders of Minecraft to someone whose only answer would be “Meh, forget that, shall we play some COD4 – Killhouse?” How do you speak about Skyrim to a person who looks at you blankly and says “Singleplayer games? I don’t play them. They’re bad for your skill.”
How do you, as a gamer, connect with someone like that?
I couldn’t. I came from a mishmash of backgrounds – Quake: FInal Fantasy: Mortal Kombat: Willow: Avatar: indie RPGs – these and a ton of more games made up my identity as a gamer. I saw this person as a mindless drone: intelligent, but not intellectual: an artist unable to look upon and appreciate the works of others. In fact, pretty soon, we would come to avoid him altogether in our gaming discussions. Because time went on, we changed, we moved onto new games, new worlds, new horizons, and he stayed.
This is not the only “one-game” gamer I have met. I’ve come across (and sometimes befriended) many such gamers. As far as competitive gaming goes, they’re successes. Most of them were (and are) ferociously competitive within that one game. They live, eat, breathe, drink the game – and ONLY that game – for years on end. I, however, find them insufferavly boring. Give me someone who can ramble about Quake, about Oblvion, about Arthas and Lara Croft: give me someone who has trodden many worlds and seen many universes through the eyes of many characters. Those are the ones worth talking to.