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Video games keep us in touch

While I don’t play Fortnite, this resonated deeply with me because video games keep me connected to my friends as an adult.

I have a small group of friends I play with regularly, who are scattered around New York City — they’re all busy with their creative, interesting lives, and we don’t see each other enough because we all have shit to do. But we talk fairly often, the rotating four or five of us. About our days, about our feelings, about what’s really going on. For us, Fortnite is an excuse to talk on the phone. It’s an excuse to stay connected.

Via Fortnite was 2018’s most important social network

This is why I play [Destiny](http://destinythegame.com/). I have a [group of friends](http://fr0zen.party/) I met through the game. And I will never be able to hang out with them in Texas and Missouri and England and Australia.

I barely find time to see my friend that lives an hour away in the same state. But gaming keeps us connected. It’s a reason to talk. It’s a place to vent and ask for advice. It’s a place to compare horror stories and find reassurance.

It’s a place to laugh with people. It’s an oasis in adulthood.

Destiny is a lifestyle

Ever since Destiny came out, it’s all I’ve played on the Xbox. I could get into why and what has captured my attention about the game. But it’s simple.
It’s about community. It’s about friendship. I’ve made a lot of great friends online (and one I knew in real life.)

And we have fun together.

Comparing Swords

The story of Destiny is a mess. The new expansion, The Taken King is a new game more than an expansion.

Michael Lopp, aka Rands is still playing Destiny. He also wrote a post that I immediately related to. Be Unfailingly Kind is a love letter to Destiny and the friends he plays with. He talks about DJ. The leader of their raid group. In a raid, you need teamwork, communication and most of all patience.

Chilling in the Ward of Dawn.

Everyone screws up. Everyone shoots a rocket into the back of a teammate or spends a little too long before running for cover. Rands talks about DJ and I see a lot of my clanmates in his praise.

Rands says this about DJ:
* He clearly explains the situation. As many times as possible. Calmly.
* He has an insightful answer ready to any question. He’s done his research to become an expert in his field.
* Once the raid has begun, he monitors the situation, provides real-time feedback, and updates to the other players in a helpful and educational manner.
* In the face of disaster, he never loses composure.

We all have our own DJ. Our group leader that keeps us together and helps us through. Destiny is not just a grind. Destiny is about friendship and teamwork. I’ve played the same mission countless times. But each time with a different team of people who needed help getting through it. And I knew when it was time for me to run through it, they would be just as willing to help me out.

As of this morning, the Destiny iPhone app tells me I’ve spent 21 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes of my life playing it. I play because I have fun. I play because of the people I can have fun with and that will always keep me coming back.

Spaceman

peroty at rest

Why can't I take this gun with me?

Games should be fun and not take themselves too seriously. For Halloween, the Tower, where Guardians hang out, dance, shop and access their vaults was turned into a creepy wonderland with a series of quests to complete wearing masks. We’ve been collecting candy to fill bags to exchange for masks and other items. It’s fun. And hilarious.

Crota: Pumpkin King!

BFFs

We are the Fr0zen Clan. Our motto is Let It Go!

Remember when I said games are meant to be fun. Here is our clan description:

Are you an orphaned princess who likes to sing her emotional status? Do you have super powers that should terrify your local serfs and merchants? Are you unaware of the number of plates in your house? Can you build an ice castle and create life (both terrifying and wildly annoying) from snow???? THEN THIS CLAN IS FOR YOU!!!!! We’ll also accept whalers from the moon, cannon fodder, bullet sponges and anyone that throws panic grenades.

We play on the Xbox One and are always looking for new friends. If you understand life comes before games, children exist and need to be cared for and like laughing and having a good time. Look us up.

The Psychology of First-Person-Shooter Games

Far from isolating us in a virtual world of violence and gore, first-person shooters can create a sense of community and solidarity that some people may be unable to find in their day-to-day lives—and a sense of effectiveness and control that may, in turn, spill over into non-virtual life.
via The Psychology of First-Person-Shooter Games : The New Yorker

It’s about teamwork and community. It’s about working together to carry out a goal.

In 2009, the psychologist Leonard Reinecke discovered that video games were a surprisingly effective way to combat stress, fatigue, and depression—this proved true for many of the same titles that critics once worried would be isolating, and would negative impact on individual well-being and on society as a whole. In other words, the success of Doom and the games that have followed in its footsteps haven’t sentenced us to a world of violence. On the contrary: for all of their virtual gore, they may, ironically, hold one possible road map for a happier, more fulfilling and more engaged way of life.

Games give us a common goal to work towards. It brings us together and it allows us to carry out goals and be rewarded for it. The reward could be more experience, or better weapons, or armor.

It’s the same idea as playing any game where you’re invested in it. Growing up, two of my favorite games to play were NBA JAM and Secret of Mana. My brother and I would play both of these games for hours.

They were both perfect because they allowed he and I to play cooperatively. NBA JAM was perfect since it was 2-vs-2. My brother and I played and we’d keep our own records. We’d try to most dunks in a game, most rebounds, more steals or assists. We’d try to blow the other team out as much as possible.

We’d try to keep the other team scoreless. We had a whole list of scores and records we kept on a notepad next to the Super Nintendo.

Secret of Mana was perfect for the same reason. We could play through the adventure together. We both enjoyed playing role-playing games for the adventure and the exploration. We would sit for hours and explore icy worlds and desserts. We’d hone our character’s skills and take on evil forces.

As we’ve grown up and no longer have long summer days and weekday afternoons to lose in the foreign lands of our youth, our habits have changed.

I’ve started playing first-person shooters, usually with other friends. I miss the adventure and the teamwork. But I don’t have the hours and hours to devote to a character.

Instead, FPS games allow me to pickup and play for a few minutes or a few hours.

It isn’t just the first-person experience that helps to create flow; it’s also the shooting. “This deviation from our regular life, the visceral situations we don’t normally have,” Nacke says, “make first-person shooters particularly compelling.” It’s not that we necessarily want to be violent in real life; rather, it’s that we have pent-up emotions and impulses that need to be vented.

There’s a reason violent games exist and are so interesting to many people. Where else can we, as grown adults, blow off steam constructively without the use of controlled substances?

“If you look at it in terms of our evolution, most of us have office jobs. We’re in front of the computer all day. We don’t have to go out and fight a tiger or a bear to find our dinner. But it’s still hardwired in humans. Our brain craves this kind of interaction, our brain wants to be stimulated. We miss this adrenaline-generating decision-making.”

There are days, when I come home from work I’d love to go out and fight something. I want to punch things, or take on a bear. Unless I had a job as a professional football or hockey player I can’t go out and hit someone.

Video games are how I blow off steam. Video games are how I relax. They’re how I goof off with friends. They’re how I get to recapture those long days with my brother adventuring.

Windows Community

As a matter of profession and interest, I have always tried to keep current on both side of the Great Computer Divide. I have Windows running with my Mac at home. I support both and I’m fluent in both operating systems.

I try to keep up on the latest developments, ongoing issues, and a running list of interesting applications or ones that play nice across the divide.

Empty seats http://www.gratisography.com/

Empty seats http://www.gratisography.com/

And while the Mac is seemingly in a class by itself in terms of the quality and quantity of excellent software available for it, Windows is catching up. The biggest thing the Mac App Store ever did was to collect all the great applications in one place so the normal user could find and use them.

Windows is on its way there and given a few years, may have a competitive store. For now, seeking out great Windows applications is more difficult because there is no one go-to place to find them all.

Technibble is a one-stop shop for PC techs. I’ve found most of my tools from the site and it’s a great resource for all things related to computer repair and troubleshooting.

Another post place I refer to is Scott Hanselman’s Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows. It’s been a couple of years since he wrote one. But he just published his list for 2014.

While I am not a Windows developer, his list of Power User resources is second to none. It’s well worth the bookmark. I’ve found that even if it didn’t have the answer I was looking for at the time, I will often return to it and find something to fill a need I have later.

Thomas Brand got me thinking about it this morning. He makes the point in his excellent post Banished to Bootcamp.

I wish more technology enthusiasts would do the same. Using the product you love is not enough. You must first banish yourself to the alternative before you can confirm your beliefs.

Where are the great Windows writers? Maybe I’ve spent too much time in the Mac world so I know that circle better.

I know Paul Thurrott‘s out there. The podnutz network has some good Windows shows. But they’re for repairing and maintaining Windows. I don’t want to learn how to repair Windows.

Writemonkey and Haroopad are good markdown editors. Notepad2 one of my first changes to Windows once I get it installed. SyncBack is a wonderful file backup/sync tool and Scup recently filled a wish I had to take a screenshot and upload with one click. I should be better about writing up these finds and I intend to in the new year talk more about what I use and what I’ve found to do somthing I wanted ot needed.

I’m tuned into a good set of Mac power users who share tools and tips and tricks. But where are their Windows counterparts? Are we all slogging through the tech support trenches without the time or desire to write-up our finds? That’s certainly how I feel many days.

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