Bloggy XMAS Day 4: Community is Family
Syl over at MMO Gypsy wanted to do a special Bloggy Holiday Countdown and asked for bloggers to contribute to this advent window type holiday event. The theme is “gaming and community”, something that’s very near and dear to my heart. I was excited to participate but I have to tell you, I’ve struggled fiercely trying to write this post. Why? I think that because I’ve written about what community means to me before I don’t want to sound like a broken record and just repeat what I’ve said in past posts.
I don’t know how to talk about the gaming community, MY gaming community, without saying the same things over and over again, though.
When I think in terms of my ‘gaming community’ I think “My PEOPLE!”. People who get me, people who make me laugh, people who take an interest in the same things I do even outside of gaming. I’m included in this wonderful bunch of geeky gamers and it feels incredible. That’s what community boils down to, for me, is ‘being included’ with others who love my favorite hobby. Bonds have been formed, friends made and, for the people in my community, we make friends with new people just like us. These folks are accepting and I think that makes them rock even harder!
My community is on Twitter, Google+ and the blogosphere. I haven’t been in game with most of them but many of us have games in common and we enjoy keeping in touch via social media. The Fellowship Walk in LotRO allowed me to meet up with quite a few now that I think back. It was such a thrill to see names of the people I hung out with in Goldenstar and Merric’s chatroom as we walked to raise money for Child’s Play. (Oof. Serious pang of nostalgia there. Pardon me while I grab a tissue!)
Ok. We must take a jaunt down memory lane.
I have a decorative dish towel that hangs on my oven door. A LotRO friend, Moon, made it and sent it to me. I have a book on the Green River Killer an old Toontown friend, Funky, sent me. I have a LotRO HD t-shirt I won from Merric and Goldenstar in a giveaway that makes me grin like an idiot every time I see it because I think of them. A gamer friend on Twitter offered baby stuff when she heard my oldest was expecting his first kid and, to this day, my husband grins every time he thinks of her son honking the horn in his big rig when he met her to pick the items up. Every time I hear my Grand daughter turn on the fish toy that’s attached to her crib, I smile and think CeleOOKIE is flat amazing! My very first sims game, the original Sims and the (then brand new) Living Large expansion pack came from another gamer friend. Bluegenie came to visit me a few times when we lived on the East coast. She was just one state over and her son is about the same age as my oldest. We still talk once in a while, too! I’d have never given The Sims a try if it hadn’t been for her. Last year I got a Christmas card in the (snail) mail from Stargrace and it nearly made me cry. She’s such a sweet lady!
There’s so many memories of how my online gaming community crossed over, in some way or other, into ‘real life’. I remember accidentally butt-dialing a LotRO buddy once, feeling like an absolute idiot and then laughing when he laughed. It may have been an accidental phone call but it flat made my day on a day I needed a fierce pick-me-up. Matter of fact, when one of my sons was in some pretty serious trouble, this friend and another awesome friend (we all three played together in game) weren’t just there for me, they helped me through that in ways I could never begin to pay back. Last year when my husband and daughter were in an accident in another state, an accident my sister-in-law didn’t live through, I reached out to my gaming friends on that five-hour long drive up to the hospital (my son was driving, not me). Had no idea what we were going to find when we got there and my friends, they reached back and kept me company, sane and calm.
Thanks to social media like Twitter (to name one) I’ve met some extraordinary gaming people I otherwise wouldn’t have met. They are my online family and I’m so very grateful for them! My community means, to me, that I’m not alone and whether we’re playing the same exact game or not, we’re gaming together.