When playing online games, we make hundreds of small connections per day that we don’t really think about. Each player is another human, sitting in another part of the world, desperately trying to accomplish an objective before you do. However, while many of these interactions may be fleeting and insignificant, some have a long-lasting impact on us and blossom into legitimate friendships.
Unfortunately, the nature of these friendships means that we can quickly lose touch with the individuals on the other end of the headset. We asked the GameRevolution team about their experiences with striking up friendships with other players online, and how these relationships fizzled away, burnt out, or were cut short due to tragic circumstances. We’ve included the team’s stories below, and encourage our readers to leave their own in the comments below.
Halo 2, Predator Pete, and Harris
Paul Tamburro, executive editor: I met Predator Pete and Harris playing Halo 2 with some school friends. Pete was thoroughly obsessed with the army, but not in an aggressive Mike from Spaced kinda way. He just wore a lot of camouflage and his MySpace photo was of him covered in mud while holding a fake gun. Harris had a younger but tougher brother (also called Harris as we referred to them by their surnames) who would interrupt his gaming sessions in order to periodically beat him up.
Harris lived on a diet of Red Bull and didn’t go to college, as he was apparently hit by a bus when he was younger and lived on the compensation from that. I can’t verify whether or not that information is true, but he was great at Halo, so at least he had that going for him. I lost touch with Harris after I stopped playing Xbox, with him not making the jump to the Xbox 360 after deciding to get his life in order at some point. Pete and I played Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter for a little while and I still have him added on my old Xbox Live account. I believe he went on to actually join the army, which makes sense.
Second Life and Danielle
Robert N. Adams, contributing writer: Danielle (not her real name) and I met through her husband Bill. Bill was introduced to me by a longtime gaming friend and we had known each other for years. She was into gaming herself and would often come onto our voice chat servers to talk with everybody.
We played a bunch of different things, but we probably played Firefall the most. We had the game’s equivalent of a guild and we were constantly working on what little content existed in the game. Firefall, in particular, was a special game for me as I had been playing it since its earliest alpha stages.
My fondest memory also happens to be my saddest one. She had played Second Life for ages and really wanted me to check the game out. I wanted her to try out Minecraft since Bill and I played it together often with our gaming group. She paid up on her end of the bargain (and ultimately didn’t like the game). I never quite got around to playing Second Life with her before it was too late.
Danielle had a number of serious health problems and was on all sorts of medications. Neither she nor her husband ever went into explicit detail, but it wasn’t unusual to hear that she had been in the hospital for a week.
One day, Danielle was in the hospital again but her husband informed our group that it was much more serious this time. She was perfectly fine and cheerful one day and the next day saw her being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Unfortunately, her health took a turn for the worse. She passed away a couple of weeks after she fell ill.
I never did get the chance to play Second Life with Danielle. I downloaded it and I installed it. We just kept missing each other or one of us didn’t have the energy to do it. It was the only time I can ever recall being upset about uninstalling a game from my computer.
I’m still friends with Bill and we talk every now again. He’s much busier now. It’s been years and he’s managed to move on, but I still sometimes think about this insignificant social debt that I never managed to pay. She was a good friend and I miss her.
Skate 2, vgamenut, and skinnybriches
David Restrepo, features writer: I met vgamenut in a video chat during the PS3 days, and Skinnybriches while playing Skate 2 online. I very fondly remember being a dumb middle school kid in a chat on PS3 while vgamenut called GameStop asking if it was Toys R’ Us, after finding out the Modern Warfare 2 special edition that came with the night vision goggles had its goggles made by Fisher-Price. (This may not be true, but I remember reading that somewhere at the time and we both thought it was funny.)
Skinnybriches said around 2011 that he’d be gone for a few months because he had some sort of contracting work he’d be busy helping his dad with. It’s been 4-5 years since he’s been online. Vgamenut, however, just randomly stopped coming online and it’s been 5-6 years since I’ve talked to him.
GTA Online and Alex
James Sutton, contributing writer: Alex and I randomly both joined the same Heist mission in GTA Online, and quickly got sidetracked. He found it hilarious that Brits drive on the opposite side of the road, so I made it my mission to drive into oncoming traffic, shouting Old English expletives into my crackling mic. We added each other after that, and somehow always managed to be online at the same time, goofing around in the Los Santos sandbox.
I remember buying a Panto — the GTA equivalent of a Smart car — and just making it the most obscene little box, covered with stickers and the biggest spoiler possible. This monstrosity turned out to be near indestructible – we’d spend hours trying to crash it, drop it from helicopters, and wedge it into train tunnels, but even that didn’t leave a dent!
As it turned out, he was playing on his older brother’s Xbox 360 — and, when that brother left for college, the Xbox went with him. I got a brief message from Alex before his brother left, but I haven’t heard from him since.
Rocket League and Kailaboys
Toby Saunders, contributing writer: Back in the earlier days of Rocket League online, shortly after its release on PlayStation Plus, I met a player called Kailaboys. We were paired together randomly in a ranked Doubles match and decided to join forces as a team from then on. Together, we climbed the rankings quickly, both learning from each-other’s playstyles and tactics. We’d talk via the in-game chat, discovering that I was struggling to find work after graduating from university and that Kailaboys was planning on leaving home for university at the end of the year.
We played Rocket League practically every day and eventually found ourselves in the Diamond rank after starting in Gold. Then, Kailaboys did move to university and it all stopped. He still plays games, and we are still friends on PSN, but we never talk anymore, nor do we ever play Rocket League together. Perhaps I’ll shoot him a message, just for old time’s sake.
Gotham City Impostors, BuoyantPigeon, xJJGxMansell123, TheCrackFoxx and II MR CHiP II
Mack Ashworth, lead editor: I met a good few folks through the Gotham City Impostors game, a fantastic shooter that offers a unique spin on the Batman universe. The community was pretty small, so I’d regularly bump into the same players. We eventually formed a group, helped by the official GCI forums.
Squadding up with a full team of six was always a great time. GCI offers a huge variety of ways for players to be creative with their classes, and so we’d often try out wacky builds for fun. Having every player use the sword was always funny! There’s still a YouTube video floating around of one of the players, BuoyantPigeon, killing the rest of us:
I finished university and found myself playing games a lot less. This, and the fact that the next-generation consoles launched (GCI is an Xbox 360/PS3/PC title), led to me losing contact with most of the gang.