If a community for video games is what you seek to meet people and find some friends then steam is the place to be.
It can be found at steampowered.com and at first glance it looks like an online store, but don’t judge this book by its cover. The reason why it’s so popular is the support and features it offers to its users.
Steam is a place to buy and play games. It does this with its own program, that can be installed with a quick download.
A Game is Best When Playing with Others
The games themselves come in all shapes and sizes: shooters, strategy, MMOs, you name it. With its huge catalog of games that range from free to play to the latest releases, it’s almost impossible not to find something to like and once you do, the real fun starts. A game is best when I become so interested in it that I start seeking other people to talk about it and of course to play with.
Video games have gone beyond the leisure activities. These days, it’s more of a culture where people spend hours upon hours, thinking, playing and even discussing them. And steam provides us with all the tools we need to socialize with like minded people.
The forums under the discussions tab practically have one topic for every game that’s on steam. Topics range from helpful strategies, to people looking for someone to play with. Based on experience, I can say that it’s a great place to meet people for casual games.
Of course, the social experience wouldn’t be complete without there being any groups to join and associate with. Groups in steam are a gathering of like minded people; only on steam you can schedule events like kill boss X or a tournament showdown. All and all it helps in coordinating fun and enjoyable activities.
Chatting While Playing
The icing on the cake is steam’s chat system. Once I add someone to my friend list, I will immediately be able to see if they’re online and what game they’re currently playing. Cool huh? It gets even better: as long as they’re playing a steam game, whenever I send a message, it’ll pop up and even have a distinctive sound alerting them that someone is contacting them. It’s a great feature that has allowed me to talk to my gaming friends about other things besides video games, like family and love issues.
Lastly there’s the profile. It tells everyone (even non-steam users) a bunch of information. Things like what I’ve been playing, what games I own, my friend list and even my wish list. With the boatload of info, it seems that the profile is kind of the gateway to everything about me.
Building Relationship is a Gradual Process Though
With all these tools, it should be easy to make friends and meet people, though it’s usually not a fast process. It’s a gradual thing to build the relationship up, especially when people just talk about a game.
A few years ago I was looking for people to play a game with. I drifted from group to group not quite fitting in with anyone because of my limited gaming hours. Eventually I did find a couple people to play with regularly, once a week. We could only play if we were all (4 people) in attendance, so week after week we played. Sometimes a person would opt out or was busy and we’d suspend play for that week, but it was okay real life came first.
When we weren’t playing we were still talking about it, planning the next move and so and so. Like any other discussion topics would wander, sometimes we’d get into personal lives.
Turning Point to Friendship
One time things got serious. My friend James said he couldn’t make our weekly shindig. Naturally I gave him crap about it until he admitted that his father had just died. I felt bad of course and made him talk about it. Surprisingly enough he did. We had known each other for months merely playing a game over the computer, but even if we were miles apart, we still bonded. It may have been in an imaginary world, but we were comrades of a sort and relied on each other for help; it was only natural for that help to extend past the game. He talked about his dad, about he would miss him and I listened trying to help him out anyway I could (mostly with humor).
That was probably the turning point to our friendship. James knew he could rely on me and even to this day we talk about some of his problems where I just listen. Of course it isn’t one sided; I may have never met him, but we shared a bond and I told him about my troubles. He listens, he may laugh or make fun of me, but I know he’ll help if he can. Sometimes it’s advice, but other times it’s a helping hand. One time I had trouble finding a gift for my then girlfriend, James was kind enough to suggest making an e-card, and he even taught me how.
In the end I’m glad I used steam to seek out other people; I wouldn’t have met my good buddy James without it.