Most people have hobbies – things that they do, enjoy, and spend time on that isn’t work. I’m a gamer, so obviously one of mine is playing games. I enjoy getting together with friends, playing board games, card games, dice games, role-playing games, video games, etc. Its fun, social, and generally keeps me out of trouble.
One of the video games I enjoy playing is City of Heroes (COH for short). Long story short, its a super hero based online game. I’ve got a regular group of folks I play with (mostly night owls due to the time zone differences between me and the rest of the USA), and have been playing for almost five years now. Create a hero or villain and off you go, making the world a better, or worse, place.
Well, there’s a group that I’m involved with in COH called the Liberty Alliance. Its a role-playing light super group (encouraged, not mandatory), and has a bunch of nice folks scattered throughout North America and Europe. We even had the privilege having one lady in the armed forces join us from the Middle East for a while. It started about three years ago, and I’ve been a member about as long. One way or another, and I don’t quite recall how anymore, I ended up running it. So, yeah, its my super-group.
While we’re hardly an active bunch – I think a lot of World of Warcraft guild would look at us and call us slackers – we get along pretty well, enjoy each other’s company and really that’s about all I can really ask for. Recently, however, I’ve been trying to figure out ways we can do more, enable more, and generally have a better presence with our gaming community. So, two of my friends and I have been pondering things, coming up with ideas, and hopefully will get to implement them sooner than later. Its been interesting to say the least!
I realize that might sound odd if you’re not a gamer (and maybe even if you are), but games that have a social aspect to them, be it cooperative or competitive, do develop communities. As someone who used to be involved with the fighting game community in Northeast Georgia and South Carolina, I’ve gotten to know some great folks in my area plus those who traveled to attend tournaments. Thanks to tournaments and enthusiast-centric websites/forums, I got to meet, even play with, folks from New York, Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, Alabama, and more besides. Right now I, and my friend Aaron, are cheering for the Hawai’i players currently at this year’s Evolution tournament (an international tournament, no less!).
Oh, yes, I got involved with that community because of the internet facilitated me finding that community.
That’s one thing I’ve loved about the internet. It makes the world a bit smaller, but in a good way. It condenses distance allowing you to meet folks and interact with them in a way you couldn’t before. All together and sharing a mutual experience or dialog. And really, that’s why I love games. There’s something to be said about shared experiences such as sports or movies – passive entertainment that moves you. But honestly? I much prefer shared activities, online and off. The give and take. Watching personalities coming out during play, or the banter on the side. Seeing how people think, react, and seeing more of them as a result. Making the world smaller by making them bigger.
I love it! :D