Make Kindness Your Next Gen Feature
After what felt like a blisteringly long wait, many of you are finally turning on those shiny new machines. The Xbox Series X/S have landed and bring with them a new standard in gaming expectations. I was going to write a post with a list of features we can expect to see as the normal within our favourite hobby. I'm sure that would have been a nice read, but seeing as its World Kindness Day I decided to talk about something that is closer to my heart.
Gaming has been a social affair since its inception in the golden days of arcades. With crowds of kids flocking around the players currently taking their turn. Everybody shared in the experience and friendships were made, the arcade becoming the hub for those with likeminded interests. I missed the days of arcades and instead fell right into the lap of a Sega Megadrive. The Megadrive being a home console, meant I didn't need to leave the house to indulge in my favourite pastime. This little black box that sat underneath our living room tv offered me more adventure than I could dream of. For the millennial readers here, the Megadrive was a console that you placed cartridges into. The cartridges held the game you wanted to play on it, and if your game didn't work you would remove the cartridge and blow into the slot. You would fix a broken game simply by breathing, I mean that is the definition of technological advancement right?
Anyway back to the story as that is what you're here for. Fast forward a few years and I found myself living as a teenager. I was 14 and life was great, I was a social and outgoing kid. I was the middle man, I had my own rock and roll style but fit into every social group in the school. Though being far from popular I still got along with everyone. At this point I had become more of a social creature, and gaming had taken a step back on my list of priorities. I was tackling the social ladder of school the way any teen wants too, and to be honest it was going pretty well. Unfortunately life was about to teach me a cruel lesson that no school education ever could...
In a terrible turn of events my best friend Craig took his own life. We had been extremely close and in a blink of an eye he was gone. The excessiveness of bulling both in school and online had become too much for him to cope with any longer. This is the moment everything changed for me, and I started to develop new behavioural patterns because of it. I no longer had interest in socialising or communicating with others, seeing them as only deceptive and cruel. There was nothing anybody could say to me that was positive, life had become buried under guilt and sorrow. I begun to isolate and turn towards my video games for comfort, using them as a means to escape my own mind. I now understand that the decline I experienced was the development of mental illness. At the time and for a long while after I didn't know what was happening. I had changed and the social teen that i once was had gone, leaving only awkwardness, mistrust and darkness. The use of video games for a release from my own thoughts is something that is still very true 15 years later. Gaming is a huge part of my coping process and is one of my main measures of self worth. Collecting achievements within my games gives me a sense of accomplishment, a virtual pat on the back. That small victory is another light to fight the looming darkness and that is no small thing.
Those new behavioural patterns and illnesses still haunt me to this very day and I'm sure for the rest of my life. Video games as a medicine for Mental Health disorders is something I'm very passionate about, but that is a discussion for another time.
I'm sure some of you are wondering what my point is exactly.
Gaming has been and always will be a very social hobby, and that is truer now than ever before. We no longer use arcades or public meeting points, instead relying on the internet for our social interaction. We have the ability to instantly connect with people on the other side of the world. It is in those connections that we must ensure our communication with others is met with care and respect.
You never really can tell what is happening within another person. For Craig it was hidden away under a disguise, and even standing in front of him I could not see the pain he was in. For me if you come across me in game you wont know the pain I am trying to escape by playing. Millions of people play video games and many use it in the same way as me, to escape their reality for a short while.
My reason for writing this is to ask that we as a community, make kindness the most important feature of the next generation. Send somebody a simple GG (Good Game), offer help to a new player or even acknowledge their message to you. That small act of kindness may be the only kind thing to happen to someone that day.
So to end this I would like to reach out and say to anybody reading this, respect each other and show the world why Xbox is one of the greatest communities on the planet.
If you are new to Xbox or just want somebody to tackle some achievements with, add me as a friend. I am always more than happy to share some advice or simply have a chat.
R.I.P Craig, you shall forever be missed.
Stay Safe Everyone and Happy World Kindness Day.