I wanted to spend this post thinking about “gamer culture,” or more specifically how groups of gamers interact. I’m hanging out with Sam a bit this week, since he lives in Minnesota and here I am at U.S. Nationals. One thing that always struck me was a conversation we had about parties. His opinion was that the best kind of party was one in which everyone was playing games together, and I noted I had friends who would want to participate in basically a “standing party” – where people are just hanging and chatting. He gave me a look that I think implied that wasn’t his kind of party.
I know a lot of people who game socially, who (more appropriately) get a lot of social value out of playing games with friends. Games, by their nature, require a bit of a hurdle to jump over before a newcomer can play. If everyone is learning, and/or everyone is on the same level of learnability when it comes to games, no problem. But introducing a new player into such an environment can be difficult.
Now we come to the crux of the issue – what about a new person to such a group, who isn’t really keen on being a new player but just wants to socialize? In this way, I kind of feel like gaming social groups can have trouble letting new people join them. They are very stable because of this, but not very easy to break into if you are not a gamer yourself.