by Rebecca Whitehouse
Gaming. Romance. Not two things I’d normally consider to be related, but apparently they are, and increasingly so.
“I’m nervous.” These words are typical of anyone meeting someone for the first time but not long ago these words were muttered by a younger friend of mine, a guy of 15. He was meeting a girl for the first time. However, it was slightly different. He had met her online and was meeting her via Skype. It would be his first ever ‘date’.
“Online dating at 15?!” you may ask. No, online gaming.
I immediately bombarded him with responses such as ‘it could be anyone’, ‘why are you Skyping her’ and ‘how did you meet’?
The last question was the easiest for him to answer:
Admittedly, I don’t know much about gaming other than the fact that many people spend an extraordinary amount of time doing it, but I was interested to know about this as it suddenly seemed gaming was a lot more personal that I had ever imagined.
YouNow is a website like YouTube but where everything is live. There are many channels but the relevant one this time was the channel for gaming. You can watch other people game. In this case it was Call of Duty.
“Why do you want to watch other people game?”
“So you can learn new strategies or even just experience a game you do not have.”
“You talk to people on there then?”
“You can message them.”
“Whilst they are gaming?”
I was just becoming more confused. So I moved on to try and understand why he was now about to Skype a girl he had never met and had only been following her live-streaming for a few days.
“Is it a date?”
“I wouldn’t say a date exactly”
“A Skype-date then!”
“Yeah, okay, that makes sense”
Unfortunately I still couldn’t get over the fact that he was meeting someone he had met online. Despite it not being in person, I still felt protective over him, worried as if it really was a ‘conventional’ first date, but who am I to say this isn’t going to become the norm? He gave some strong arguments as to why meeting people through gaming and ‘Skype-dating’ could become just that.
- We already know we have something in common, we both love gaming.
- You can be anyone you want to be when you’re gaming so can present yourself however you want, giving you confidence.
- They cannot see you, so they only know you for the personality you put across and do not judge you on how you look.
- And finally, if you mess up, you can just delete them and never see them again!
The last made me laugh as I knew many people would be able to relate to this feeling! He told me that meeting girls through gaming ultimately just felt more comfortable and safer than meeting girls in person.
However, despite his belief in these arguments he was aware of the flaws with some of them, namely that due to the fact that people could hide their face and display any personality they wanted, they really could be anyone. The words “it could be a 45 year old man who just wants to rape you” sounded very strange coming out of the mouth of a 15 year old boy, but made me think that maybe he was more mature than I thought, until he followed it up with “but not this time!” with a big grin on his face!
I later found out that he had talked to a number of girls via Skype, something that shocked me because this is a boy who spends his life stuck to his computer or PS3, curtains drawn, bed unmade, and manages to go for days without eating anything but a scotch egg*! However, this girl was different as he was going to be video calling her, rather than just an ordinary call on Skype, and that was what was making him nervous.
“She will be able to see me. She will judge me on how I look. Which is my good side?’
His safety bubble that was gaming was about to be burst.
Despite his nerves and my scepticism, his ‘Skype-date’ went well and although he told me that taking it further and meeting up in person was something ‘older kids’ did, I think he is secretly hoping that he will bump into her at Insomnia, the gaming festival taking place later this year (http://insomniagamingfestival.com/). In a world where gaming is taking up a large portion of people’s lives, I suppose meeting someone on these games is the next logical step!
From talking to my friend I have come to realise that maybe romance can be found through gaming and although there are some negatives and people need to be sensible and stay safe, it may be a much easier way to meet people and could lead to great things.
Actually, maybe I should start gaming!
*A scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked, a bit like an eierbal in the Netherlands.