Socialisation is important. Not as important as air, more important than donuts. From ways to assemble as groups to achieve goals and meet needs, to mental health assessments and considerations of safety; being social is a critical part of how we have evolved. How we are wired.
That wiring is from our shared human collectivist upbringings. We have survived better with others. Further to this, we thrive with others. Does this hard wiring relate to gaming at all?
Personally, I always had gaming. Specifically, single player, pc based, RTS style gaming. I built, controlled, and conquered. Such things offered by gaming can provide a marvellous counterpoint to reality. As I grew older and found myself with my one true love, I couldn’t just isolate myself in the study all the time. Then one day my wife’s work bought her a laptop, with a redemption voucher for a ps3. Gaming in my social space hey? For the first time, I plugged in the Ethernet cable for something other than a torrent.
I bought Uncharted 2, it was on special. Why not? Played the single player, had a blast. Then I went online to look for a solution to finding collectables and found a discussion board talking about the game, and its multiplayer aspects. I’m pretty social under introvert specific circumstances, so I joined in and was invited to a few rounds that night.
It was truly something else. In my experience, it reminded me of the teenage rabble-rousing at the D&D table. It was fun, and the reality was little talking was about the game , and more about the real lives of others. The sort of socialisation that leads to connectivity – sparks travelling down that ancient wiring.
Fast forward what must be six years later. We’ve had half a dozen meetups from all corners of Australia and New Zealand, jointly attended all Pax Australia events, and still play together in some form most nights of the week. Some have lent their PS to a friend for months, and returned welcome. Others tweet daily and represent a very unofficial core to our group. What we are is under one banner, and it achieved a Holy Grail of social connectivity; we feel it when we are unplugged. I think of my people, mine; and I smile.
I’m a psychologist. More than that, I practice Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It’s a evidence based approach of looking at thinking and behaviour to improve mental health outcomes. I set homework. Often, the aspects I look at in clients require an increase in socialisation, a frequency and severity of the use of their wiring. More socialisation, more use, more wiring. More and more, I prescribe gaming. More and more, it gets results.
Plug in your Ethernet cable.