The last time I paired the word “online” with “multiplayer”, Halo 2 was dominating living rooms and Bungie servers. Multiplayer today is nearly synonymous with the online gaming experience, but it still frequently offers the chance for people to enjoy the same game on the same TV.
However, I can’t remember the last time I purchased a game and thought “I can’t wait to invite my friends over for some 4-player deathmatch.”
Multiplayer gaming was one of the ways I used to begin and build friendships. Mario Kart, Goldeneye, and NFL Blitz were social tools used to turn sleepovers into all-nighters. Now, collecting Xbox Live gamertags from former coworkers and college dorm buddies has been as useful as accepting Facebook friend requests from people who also “Like” Game of Thrones.
Still young and devoid of commitments outside my job, I now wonder if I can create friendships — face-to-face relationships — through local multiplayer gaming. One month ago, I created an in-person gaming club through Meetup.com, and I’m seeing a lot of success already. We’re up to 36 members and have hosted two events, bringing together people who were previously complete strangers to each other.
That said, the success of the group depends on how our events transpire to dynamic friendships — relationships that can exist and thrive outside the group’s activity.
I want to document how this club creates and manages friendships offline and, at the same time, share what it’s like to relive gaming experiences I had more than a decade ago. I will write a monthly editorial that explores how this club replicates the old world of multiplayer while taking advantage of the digital world to keep the club and its members connected 24/7.
My first entry will come this Friday the 18th.
Image credit to Game-Thought.com