Making Everyone Feel Welcome in the World of Video-Gaming
In a world where diversity has become a core component of modern-day interactions, video games are some of the best platforms that facilitate the coming together of people from different walks of life, backgrounds, gender, sexuality, religious affiliations, and so on. Imagine this, a gamer in Delhi, India, striking a conversation with another gamer in Melbourne, Australia, complete with a friendly banter, technical conversations, ideas for future interactions, and everything in between. Video-gaming brings people together, it connects friends and lovers from all over the world. In my experience, I would say video gaming connects different kinds of weirdness to create a freeing experience that cannot be easily found elsewhere.
Imagine a very silent and gloomy night. The surrounding is not really silent but there is a lot of deafening silence in your head. It is not raining outside but it feels like there is a storm in your life and noting is letting on. You have too much going on that you can hardly perceive the world outside of your head. You are at a crossroads in your life where nothing is turning out the way you had hoped. You are immersed in a heap of debt and the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant restrictions have rendered you jobless. Depression is creeping in and it is becoming increasingly hard to remain hopeful. So, you are tightly tucked in your couch duvet watching meaningless TV. You see an ad about a new interactive game that requires users to choose their own fate and create their own path in life. This sounds interesting so decide to give it a try. A quick browsing through the online users’ manual and you already get the concept.
You login and choose a partner. It so happens that your partner is a girl, seemingly sweet and young, from the other part of the world in the US. As the game gets intense, you find yourselves laughing even more over the mistakes and other types of game-related interactions. You help each other in meeting game objectives including eliminating enemies, building camps, and so on. Before long, you all have exhausted your lives and you have to wait for the game to reboot. You have been playing for more than 3 hours straight, so engaged that you did not notice how much time you used. As the game boots, you decide to chat for a bit. And this is where the weirdos meet and match.
You find out that your gaming partner has been homeless for a while now. She lives in her car and has not been able to secure any form of work since the pandemic hit. What amazes you is her bubbly spirit, her cheerfulness, and the hopefulness that is in her voice. You tell her of your situation and how you are only 2 weeks old into joblessness. She tells you of this amazing community called Weirdos & Gamers, an online community that supports people who have yet to settle in life for various reasons. It consists of wealthy gamers, single mothers, struggling fathers, gay men shun by their close friends and families, lesbians, different queers, women, men, jobless celebrities, former superstars, and so on. It is a breath of fresh air. Something you have never heard about or even imagined. The community is welcoming, supportive and homely. Indeed, every type of weird is represented. You are no longer alone. You have a new found home in the world of video gaming.
It has been 2 weeks of learning and intense gaming. You have a natural talent that you never knew existed. You were introduced to interactive gaming on YouTube and informed of different ways of making money. Although not comparable to what you were making in your last position, it is enough to pay the bills. What is amazing is the fact that you are just getting started. There is so much potential in this new found love. You are a critical part of the online community, using your skills in the game to strike conversations and encourage people. Your new best friend from the US is the warmest, yet the weirdest person you have ever met. There is so much to your new community of gamers that you cannot believe you have never thought of being a part of an online community. You have the game running almost throughout the day. Even as you run errands you are still actively involved in chatting and participating in friendly banters with other gamers. You are now introduced to other video games and platforms that are a critical part of the online Weirdos & Gamers community. A gay guy from the Philippines is the funniest person you have ever “met”. His weird accent and his squeaky laughter remind you of your childhood days. Truly, video games have become your salvation.
In the world of video gaming, everyone is truly welcome. There is a thriving community of people in different online communities who support each other through various financial, mental, and social ways. The Weirdos & Gamers is only a small part of this community. It is a highly diverse group with representations from countries from all over the world including Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. It does not matter who one is or what they prefer in life. Their current situations do not matter as long as they can play video games. You do not have to be very good at it, rather the interactive nature of video games automatically qualifies you as a part of the community. Some people are really bad at playing and cannot go past the first easy hurdles. This does not matter. What matters is the participation and the homely feel that is accorded to every member of the online gaming community. Having lost everything, having had no hope, having almost given up on life, the story here provides a second chance for everybody. It shows that despite one’s position today, video gaming will always be there for you.