I’m probably part of the competitive online gaming culture but not with games that would be played on PCs. I tend not to play games on PC due to the off-putting complexity of the functions such as ‘CTRL, ALT, SHIFT, A, Q and Z’ to accelerate (slight over exaggeration) but my point is that I play on consoles more due to it’s simplicity of functions and the fact that consoles are specifically designed for games, thus portraying a better performance of the game. Whereas computers are for documents, research etc all of which shares the memory with games.
Innovative ideas and technology allows gamers to ‘socialise’ more within gaming. The introduction to online gaming with Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 has allowed further expansion to gaming and lets the gamers communicate using headsets whilst playing. Playing online with consoles means you will always have someone (even if they’re on the other side of the world) to play with, depending on the game. This eliminates the tedious ‘single player’ mode that gets repetitive over time. You’re abilities aren’t really tested until you play a game with someone else. I’ve noticed that when you constantly play a game against the computer, you pick up what the computer’s functions do, hence predicting what may happen next, whereas with humans, you obviously can’t. For example, when playing against the console in ‘Tekken 5’, the CPU (the brains of the console) registers the moves you use against it in every round, therefore knowing when to block the same move the next time you use it.
Gaming occupies somewhat most of my free time. I normally play console games when I want to step out of this world and enter a virtual one. It’s almost like an escape from things I avoid or try to forget.
I must admit, I DID have friends I only knew through MSN, but this was when I was between the ages of 13-15 when I had no life and chatting online with complete strangers was “cool.” Now I would prefer to know who I am talking to, by which I mean they are actual physical beings who I know and have seen. Having said that, I’ll probably end up contradicting myself when I end up with a long list of friends from around the world whilst playing games on the PS3 online.