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Gaming Stuff CEO shares his thoughts with us…The pros and cons of gaming and gaming-related connections.

Let me first introduce myself; my name is Matthew Timberlake, and I have been properly gaming since around 2008 when I got my first console (PlayStation 3) as I started life at University. I had always enjoyed gaming, however, my parents weren’t keen on the idea of me staying indoors and playing video games, and so they never bought me a console as a kid.

So, where to begin. Gaming to me has had many different impacts on my life, both positive and negative. The first, probably the most notable impact, is the great friendships I have built up as a result of playing games. Not only is this with friends I know personally face to face, but also those new friendships I built up through the Online PlayStation Network, that’s still present today, nearly 8 years later.

This started back with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but grew to its peak firstly with Battlefield 4, and then Destiny. The days on Battlefield 4 were a major highlight of my gaming life, as I created a platoon from nothing that over time grew and grew into a competitive fighting unit. The bonds we had with each other were great, and I’m glad I can call them my friends.

With the evolution of the platoon group, I went on to create an entire Facebook community of fellow Battlefield 4 platoons, with the sole purpose of meeting other teams, and arrange platoon matches. This was very popular, and led to a handful of self-run Tournaments, with up to 24 teams participating. The organisation and leadership skills that I learnt from running a team, and then managing a group of teams in tournaments, is invaluable, and whilst it may not seem like much coming from a personal gaming background, it really does give a good insight of challenges you may face in the real world.

 

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The bonds we had with each other were great, and I’m glad I can call them my friends. With the evolution of the platoon group, I went on to create an entire Facebook community of fellow Battlefield 4 platoons, with the sole purpose of meeting other teams, and arrange platoon matches. This was very popular, and led to a handful of self-run Tournaments, with up to 24 teams participating.

 

The organisation and leadership skills that I learnt from running a team, and then managing a group of teams in tournaments, is invaluable, and whilst it may not seem like much coming from a personal gaming background, it really does give a good insight of challenges you may face in the real world.

The evolution of Destiny for me was similar to Battlefield, however on a much larger scale. For those that don’t know, Destiny is very much a social Online Multiplayer game, and so naturally, getting the most enjoyment out of the game requires playing with friends. I met a few guys whilst playing online in the early days of the game, and from there we created a Facebook group solely for PlayStation 3 Destiny players. The group grew like wildfire, and before we knew it, we had 300+ members.

This was a completely new challenge compared to the Battlefield group I had to advertise to get members, but none the less, the experience of managing different people in that group massively helped us with this one. The group was a success, hitting over 1,200 members (solely for PS3, there was also a smaller group solely for PS4 players). This is where the love tale ends for the group and me, and starts us on the path of negative impacts of gaming.

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I made a lot of close friends from the Destiny group and made many of them group admins. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”; unfortunately the responsibility of those friends I may admins came to clash between a few of them on numerous times, and ultimately put me in the middle of it as I had to choose between friends who was on the right and in the wrong. I was perhaps too quick to grant the power of admin over a group so large to a lot of friends, and in the end, it caused some people to leave the group, including myself.

This was not helped by the fact Destiny has many flaws, and the nature of large social groups is that some people will moan about it and cause trouble, however, had it only been the original 3 or 4 players having control over the group and what the rules of the group were, I’m sure it would be in a better situation that it ended up being before I left the game completely.

Even the smaller Battlefield social circle I had created was not without its problems; we had occasional moments of infighting, players saying things and falling out. It even caused problems outside of the game, in my daily life with my girlfriend. To say running a platoon can be difficult is an understatement; perhaps it was just because I wanted to put my all into it to make it grow, but the amount of time it took up for me was phenomenal.

I would spend a lot of my free time talking to the friends I had made from the game, sometimes during the times, I was supposed to be spending with my girlfriend. I would spend hours during the day, even whilst at work sometimes, trying to recruit new players to the team, or keeping the Battlefield Platoon Facebook group up to date, or even creating/running a new tournament to host.

It got to the point I was spending every bit of free time doing something Battlefield 4 related, that naturally, it caused arguments with my girlfriend….it even almost caused us to break up as she perceived the game was more important to me than she was. As fun as the game was, it was also addictive, due to the competitive nature of the game and the competition we had, and the amount of time and effort required to stay at the top.

I have since stopped playing Battlefield as new games and consoles have been released. My gaming time now on PlayStation 4 is taken up mostly by offline games, with the occasional stint on multiplayer games like Elder Scrolls Online, linking up with old friends I had lost touch with since dumping Destiny and the group I helped build.

I enjoy collecting trophies of the games I play, and now do that more than the competitive side of playing. Gaming has taught me many things, notably how to socialise and make friends, how I should organise my time and what should take priority of my time, and also the successes and failures of creating something special, and managing small and large groups of strangers and friends alike – hopefully one day in the future, the latter experience will serve me well when I am able to manage employees in my job.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my piece.

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