February 1st 2018

Today I played video games with my friends all evening. When I got a new PlayStation 4 for Christmas, this was exactly the kind of night I expected. All of us in a group, talking in a call, and playing games together. It’s a weird kind of socialising, but one not too dissimilar from the socialising we’d do in real life.

In my core friendship – the ones I’ve retained from school – there’s four boys, and three of us decided to get PlayStations for Christmas because the other one already had one.

We decided that because we all live so far apart now (Coventry, Cotswolds, Reading, Henley) and rarely see each other any more, that if we all got a PlayStation then we could socialise electronically. And to be fair, what’s the first thing we do when one of us hosts a dinner party? Have a quick game of FIFA. This is the same, but we’re all just 70 or so miles apart.

The game we played tonight is called Fortnite. It’s like The Hunger Games in video game format except without the weird unrequited love subplot. None of us have any idea what we’re doing, but it’s fun. And the fun has nothing to do with the game. It’s just nice to be able to socialise with my friends in some way.

I’ve lost contact with a bunch of friends over the years because I haven’t put in the effort to stay in touch. When I left University I deleted Snapchat and Facebook, and weirdly that ostracised me from the group. They all organised meetups through Facebook group-chats and I wasn’t on the platform, so slowly I was forgotten about. Either that or they just all hated me, but I prefer to think it was the Facebook thing because that’s easier for me to deal with. Because I didn’t have a digital presence, it was like I didn’t have a physical one either.

This generation is weird.

That’s why it’s good to retain contact with my school friends in any way I can, although I’d hasten to add that those guys are not the kind of people who will disappear just because my Facebook account did.

So we sit and play video games because we’ve all moved out into our own houses, we all have degrees, and full time jobs. If we want to meet up, physically, it’s a £100 weekend in Reading, or Coventry, or Swindon, or a £200 weekend in London.

Until tomorrow, or a quick game of Fortnite and a Facetime audio call.


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