Ever had the desire to explore mysterious worlds, battle an alien onslaught and gather amazing loot and treasures? In real life, that never happens, but being a gamer has allowed me to explore worlds, have a sense of accomplishment and make great friends along the way.
Gamers come in all shapes and sizes. While some enjoy playing the latest video game, others may like to get with a group of friends and tackle board games, role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons or even sling cards in collectible card games like Magic The Gathering.
Myself, I enjoy video games, mainly online on my X-Box 360 and playing Magic The Gathering. When I first moved to Elkins, I didn't know many people. Through gaming, I have made some of the best friends I have playing Magic and other games. I went through a period when I moved here when I sat by myself at home most of the time, but now I have a great group of friends that I would not have had if not for gaming in its various forms.
Games are often portrayed poorly through television and movies, but they always leave out one important aspect: the friendships and bonds developed while tweaking your deck of cards or finishing off that last boss in a video game.
Gaming for many truly is a social affair. While some people enjoy going out and taking in the night life, I like to get together and spend quality time gaming. I have made life-long friends over the course of playing Magic or role-playing at a friend's house.
Gamers share stories like old war veterans. When I get together with friends, some sort of gaming topic always invades the conversation. Whether it be discussing a great new game trailer, recent exploits playing Halo 4 or winning a game of cards in an unusual manner, gaming is what binds our friendship.
As a gamer, the negative perception that is put out there sometimes bothers me. One of those perceptions is that we all live in our parents' basement and do nothing but play games. Most of the gamers I know have successful careers, wonderful relationships and use gaming as an outlet for fun.
There are even those that turn their hobby into a career and profitable business. Collectible card games have a huge following worldwide and there always are people looking to buy and sell cards. Video gaming has a huge used market and consoles and games can be found. For me, my collecting and playing Magic pays for itself. By collecting the things I need and trading or selling the cards, I am able to fund playing with little expense!
Gaming not only helps you develop friends, it also can help teach valuable lessons like responsibility and discipline.
By regulating when I play, how much I play and how much I spend, it helps me still do the things I enjoy and have a great time outside the gaming world.
The key in gaming and being a gamer is finding balance. Gaming can be addictive, but you have to balance the hobby with your job, familiy and relationships.
If you are like me and are looking for a brief escape or to make friends, look around and find a game you are interested in. Who knows, you may save the world and make some great friends along the way.
If you are a gamer, looking for folks to play with or just want to give some ideas to me for this column, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.