Adventures of a Non-Gamer: The Great Uniter
By Shawnie Kelly (@DearShawnie)
There I was, waiting in line at Panera on a gloomy Thursday afternoon — that soup in the bread bowl, am I right? — when I had the greatest idea that any man, woman, or child has ever had. Alright, not the greatest ever, but it’s probably up there with Newton’s Law of Gravity or something equally genius, like the Newsies soundtrack.
As any people-watcher worth their salt knows, eavesdropping is essential in all situations. My mother would call this being nosy, but really what do mothers know anyway? (Minus everything). There are two very important laws that I live my life by: 1) Love thy neighbor as thyself. 2) Eavesdrop on thy neighbor all day, every day. Obviously, everyone should think about incorporating these principles into their lives as well.
On this day, there were two well-dressed men in front of me. One was rather tall with dark brown hair and a very distinguished Cary Grant cleft in his chin. (Look it up, ladies). The other was a little younger with sandy blond hair. Nothing really set him apart except for the fact that he was un-ironically rocking a BOW TIE! A red one to be exact. Did these two just come from a cigar room where they discussed politics and stock options? They started talking about the “presentation” that morning and how someone named Scott was a good team lead, but needs to make sure he keeps his ducks in a row because corporate is on a slaughter spree. Oh no, Scott! That sounds so violent. I wanted to warn a brother, but I don’t know Scott, you guys.
They talked about this nonsense for a minute, and I zoned out, debating the pros and cons of visiting the pastry display. That’s a very important moment in a girl’s day. Suddenly, my ears perked. Did I hear that correctly? Dapper gentleman one and two started dropping phrases like “rocket launcher,” “flame-thrower,” and “headshot kill.” Thanks to my recent endeavors, I knew they had to be discussing video games. At least I hoped so, because in the event that this wasn’t gamer-speak, I would need to go all Jack Bauer on these two and contact Homeland Security immediately.
They mentioned a couple of names: “Master Chief” and “Marcus Fenix.” Master Chief? I know him! Sure, Halo was traumatizing, but not enough for me to forget that name. Are you guys proud of me? The other name, however, did not ring a bell. I did a little research later on and realized it belonged to the main character in Gears of War. I’m unfamiliar with this game, but I made a mental note to add it to my “must plays” — a list my gamer friends are forcing upon me. Dapper Gentleman One (DG1) was enthusiastically debating DG2 on the merits of Master Chief opposed to those of Fenix.
DG2: “I don’t know, anyone can go on a shooting rampage. All he has are guns. Master Chief doesn’t have access to a chainsaw bayonet, that’s all I’m saying.”
He has a point there, DG1.
DG1: “Please. What about the energy sword? Advantage Chief.
DG2: Energy sword?! One word: Hammer of Dawn.
Whoa, hold up. That’s three words, DG2. I was fully on board with your argument until now. GET IT TOGETHER, DG2!
DG1: Whatever man, those are fake weapons. I’m talking real world, real fight. Who wins?
I didn’t have the heart to chime in and let DG1 know that “energy swords” are most likely not real-life weapons either.
They continued debating who would win this fictional/real-world battle until they reached the order counter. I don’t know who won the debate, but I did my own comparison after some extensive research, also known as Google. I’m basing my conclusion entirely on the comparison of two photos, as any accomplished non-gamer would. I personally prefer Master Chief. He’s got that whole mysterious thing going for him with that mask. What could be going on under there? I need to know. Marcus Fenix is a little body builder-esque for my taste. But I have to admit… if I’m about to be attacked in an alley, I probably want Fenix by my side with all of his weird-fake weapons. I mean, come on, a “Vulcan Cannon”? I have no clue what this is, but it sounds scary. Final decision: back alley defense – Marcus Fenix; dinner and a movie – Master Chief.
As I stood there listening to DG1 and DG2, I realized something special. Gaming crosses such a wide spectrum of people. I have to admit that when I first embarked on this venture, I pretty much had all gamers typecast. I was so wrong! The gaming culture is no respecter of persons. Little girls, teenage boys, old men, business dudes with red bowties, teachers, students, mothers, fathers – gamers are more diverse than a United Colors of Benetton ad. People with nothing in common can bond over a video game, and that’s pretty cool to me. I know you’ve been waiting on the edge of your seats, so I’ll reveal my genius idea now: let’s convert everyone in the entire world to gamers. Fight with your BFF? Lock yourselves in a room with nothing but co-op games until you’re besties again. Feuding countries? Peace talks are good, but let’s also try dropping some Nintendo Wiis into conflict areas. You really can’t be mad at someone when you’re virtual bowling with them.
Gaming is the great uniter, and we have to use this to change the world! Okay, I might be getting a little carried away. I’m just saying that only an amazing thing can bring so many different people together and we should use this to our advantage, my fellow nerds. If I can learn gaming, anyone else can. Literally anyone… like kittens. By the way, how cute would that be?
Think about it. Let it fester. Let it simmer.
Happy gaming, you gamers!
Photo credit: Jasonf182