I’ve been a fan of video games as long as I can remember. As a 27 year old, one of my earliest memories gaming was playing Secret of Mana with my brother. It’s a Role Playing Game where you form a little three person party and you are off to save the world from impending doom. Nothing unexpected there. But the fact that you could play multiplayer in an RPG got me both hooked on RPGs, and the magic of social interaction through video games.
I’ve played a lot of games since Secret of Mana with my brother. From RPGs, to shooters, to MOBAs (Massive Online Battle Arenas), to WoW (World of Warcraft), one thing sticks out to me: The times I played with someone next to me on the sofa, or even two people sharing a computer monitor, are the memories I’ll never forget in gaming.
A couple of years back, a few buddies and I decided to rekindle this multiplayer flame of gaming together in the same room. The way we decided to do this was to do the only thing you’re able to do these days: Take apart our PCs, drive to one of our houses (In this case it was my parents lake house), set up our PCs, and choose a game.
We landed on World of Warcraft because, well, we had four of us, most instances (teamwork challenges) needed five members, and we knew we could progress to max level quickly if we were in a party. BTW, Blizzard totally gets the social part with their recruit a friend model.
Low and behold, we got to the lake house, assembled our PCs, and began the long wait of downloading 28gigs of data to each one of our computers. Yes, WoW was a big game.
So, we did what any group of young, excited boys would do. We grabbed a couple lone stars and surfboards, loaded up the boat, and got pitted (this, is why we chose the lake house).
Needless to say after a couple hours on the water, we had to check where we stood on the download. Not quite finished, but almost to playing time.
Can you guess where we headed next?
Dominos, baby. That’s right, you can get 4medium pizzas with 3 toppings for 5.99 each as long as you go pick up the pizza. We had the time to kill and we also needed to grab some snackies (preferred spelling when having a grand ole time).
Oreos, milk, cookie dough, trolli’s, Pirates booty, energy drinks, cheez-its….. As I’ve always tried to say, go big, or go huge.
We got back to the house, and we were ready to rock and roll.
Log in, start blaring Daft Punk’s new album, Random Access Memories, Play Dredd on the TV (was on repeat all night), create our characters, and rush to level 10 as fast as we could (once you get 10 you can do those team instances and queue up as a group).
An hour later we were in our first instance. We were off to the races in one of my favorite weekends I can remember.
To be honest, there is a lot to that weekend I don’t remember. How could I remember every minute and every moment? But, I do remember us all screaming laughing as we all die to a boss and one of us barely kills it before he, himself dies (but he did). I do remember us always needing a fifth party member and we ended up finding someone who’s avatar was named “Betty White.” I remember we somehow ended up on skype with Betty and though they never spoke a word, we swear we heard some heavy breathing and we were losing our minds laughing. I remember Betty being a terrible fifth member while we were leveling, but then we ended up running into her at max level and she literally destroyed us. We laughed about that too.
I remember taking long breaks and getting back behind the boat, cooking meals together, cruising around at sunset, and staying up super late, always laughing.
I simply remember that playing a game in the same room created such a different memory and environment than we could have ever had playing purely online.
While this, this, is one of my favorite memories gaming. It’s a rare thing to be able to do this LAN party set up with friends. All too often I’m left gaming alone, though connected to the internet, from my house and most folks have that only option, as well. It’s not terrible, but it’s not what it could be.
To bring this full circle, memories like this have led me to start Proximity, a company that wants to help create local gaming communities and empower local leaders to have a place to gather.
Our goal is to create a local gaming community where all you had to do was show up. A home where you can enjoy hand crafted drinks and scratch made food, you can join a local WoW guild who meets together and equipment is there for them, where you can join a local esports team for your favorite game (much like we see with bowling, kickball, baseball leagues), where you can indulge in Beerio-Kart, Geek-Trivia nights, and make new friends.
That’s what this is all about. Taking the beauty of social communities in gaming and bringing them local. Or maybe even creating local communities that share a love for all things gaming and being able to play online, together. While sharing a pitcher.
We’re just beginning. While we’ve got a ways to go connect with us on social and reach out with any questions/ideas you may have.
Hope to see you guys soon!
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