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Get down! I need to throw a grenade!
It’s a Tuesday (soon to be followed by Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) and I’m playing “Halo 3” (and now “Halo 3: ODST”) with some friends. I’m fully aware of how nerdy we look. A bunch of guys (and sometimes girls) sitting eye-burningly close to the television with giant microphone headsets yelling orders and praises to each other is not what one would call stylish.
As roommates, significant others and neighbors walk by, all they see are a bunch of geeks making a loud scene (with the occasional fist pump) who spend hours and hours playing a game that appears to consist of nothing more than explosions, death, screaming and expletives.
However, those who are on the other end of controller see something completely different: bonding time.
Where is the sword? Do you have the sword? I don’t see the sword. Wait, do I have the sword?
Sure, college is full of adventures with great bonding time. Nothing says “I care” like holding back a friend’s hair as they vomit in the toilet from drinking too much, and it is hard to not have some laughs during a long study night. However, none of these adventures offer what video games offer.
Enemy, on your six! Don’t worry, I have your back!
The truth is video games are completely ridiculous. They create situations 99 percent of people will never experience, and many of them are based in worlds that are complete science fiction. However, they offer something real life, movies or booze typically don’t.
They offer people a chance to work as a team to save each other’s lives.
Sure, it feels good to offer a friend a study guide, but it’s not nearly as rewarding as jumping in harm’s way to save a friend, moments before he or she is killed by an enemy (hitting the bad guy in the face with the back of a rifle adds a little more satisfaction).
Stay behind me, I have the shotgun. Grab that sniper rifle and I’ll hold them off!
Also, as if running around as a team and taking out each enemy one by one isn’t enough to bring everyone closer together, there is plenty of downtime to talk that may not otherwise come up.
So, I have the sniper rifle and I’m in a great spot. I’ll hide here until you have a chance to find the ATV.
Remember, typical video game players aren’t the types who walk to the bathroom together. It’s hard to find privacy to talk a lot of the time.
Yeah, I still can’t find the ATV. I’m glad you’re hidden, though. At least we’re safe for the moment. Will one of you go open the hatch door? So… yeah. I think I’m gay.
Let’s just say ALL kinds of conversations come up.
Wow. Really? That’s cool and all. Do you want to talk about it? Watch out! There is a tank coming up! Switch your position, right now! Do any of you have the rocket launcher?
So video games may not be the best place to discuss deep issues, but they definitely come up. Frequently.
When surrounded by friends who are virtually saving your life, it’s hard not to open up. Sometimes the conversations are light-hearted, but not always. Video games offer an opportunity for friends to work together and talk together.
The topics can vary, ranging from discussing one’s sexual preference to deep fears– with just about everything in between. Bullets whizzing overhead may drag the conversation out a bit longer than discussing issues over a warm cup of java, but it works all the same.
So if you are a video game player, carry on.
If you are not, the next time you see a bunch of people huddled around a television with gratuitous explosions all around, don’t assume they are wasting their time. Video games are fun, and a fantastic way for friends to truly understand each other and open up.
I had to take out five of them, but I got the tank. Hop on, everyone. It’s time to win this.
Contact CU Independent Editor-in-Chief Cameron Naish at firstname.lastname@example.org.