Gaming beyond the games

A greasy, fat man sits in his parents’ house playing hour after hour of endless violence as the sweat he produces gathers in pools around them. He throws away another empty bucket of fried chicken, wipes his hands on his joggers and carries on shooting the fuck out of some kid playing in China. “You’re mine, bitch!” he hisses to himself, as he pulls the trigger again and again, before crawling off to the bathroom to congratulate himself on another hard night’s work.

That man dies alone, loveless, lifeless and liver-less.

Or does he? We’ve been talking to Liam from 10lb Gamer and he’s like, nah mate, that ain’t how it goes down at all. Who knew?

Gaming has evolved a lot over the years. There was once a time that gamers were considered lonely, isolated people who daren’t venture into the outside world, living through avatars and characters in their games whilst growing thin and pasty or morbidly obese.

But this stereotype is as false as you can get. Gaming has evolved into something so much more than just gaming. Whole communities are forged through this media, support groups, friends and even relationships blossom from the common interest.

Destiny, one of the biggest games of 2015, focuses around team work and people communicating to get through some of the toughest raids. This may seem a pretty standard formula that’s been around for a long time, but Destiny did it differently. You couldn’t just rock up and join some people you’ve never communicated with before – you had to arrange to team up beforehand. Now from the off people mostly teamed up with friends who also had the game, simple enough. But what about those people who’s friends weren’t playing?

This is where the communities around Destiny grew from. One of my favourite communities is Dads of Destiny. This group grew from humble beginnings to one of the biggest and most reputable communities in the game. Clearly this group is for Dads who love to play, but there’s a whole depth of understanding that goes beyond this. Most teams get frustrated when someone has to step away from the game due to unforeseen circumstances, but with Dads of Destiny they appreciate that, sometimes, your child is going to be more important than blowing someone’s head off. This level of understanding gives a safe haven for these dads to play, with like-minded people who are there for the same reasons.

Communities go beyond just online support. One person in particular from Dads of Destiny lost his income, was forced out of his home and ended up in a really tough position with his family. The Dads of Destiny sent support packages to their fellow member, consisting of nappies, food, and anything else that would help, until he got back on his feet. It’s this level of support that gives the idea of gaming an extra depth.

There are so many communities that have grown to this level. As well as places for people to game together, they create a safe environment where people can play abuse-free, talk to people of a similar mind-set, and not have to worry about repercussions.

This support goes beyond the gaming world – many gamers and communities run fund raising events for charities, raising funds by playing games for hours on end. Macmillan are just one of the charities to benefit from this, with 24, or even 48hour gaming sessions adding money to their pot.

So sure, sometimes you will find a stereotypical gamer, but once you get beneath the surface you’ll discover the people there are more than just the games they play.

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