I’ve always seen teammates in games as computers, CPUs and nothing else.
Not from the lack of people willing to play with me, or the growing number of people out there who play on games, but because I have a tendency to be antisocial. I may be able to keep a decent, if somewhat snarky, conversation with people in person, unfortunately in the digital stream of things (Video game Chat, Cell Phone calls/text, etc.) I’m as antisocial as they come.
Just something about the people on the other end of the line hearing my voice, or knowing what I sound like when I’m not prepped for social situations is just terrifying. I have always had this issue, it started with phone calls making me anxious. I never even liked to answer phone calls from my grandmother, it scared me that much to just think of talking on the phone. Enter the digital age where we could plug in a headset into a computer or like now days a controller, and instantly be speaking to friends while you play a game. At first, I tried to embrace it because, hell, video games are a huge part of my life, and here I am letting something so much as talking stop me from playing. So I tried a few rounds of Halo 2 with some friends local to me and tried talking that way. At first, it was ok, no real issue other than they had no sense of direction on the map and I was better with what was considered the ‘cheap’ weapons and so they bashed me for it. Soon enough, it turned sour when we lost and they started the usual trash talking towards me since my score under performed.
At the time, my anxiety and antisocial behavior was to such a bad point, I couldn’t even handle what I know as trash talking. I still had that issue till a few years ago before I could emotionally accept that it’s just a thing. No need to stress about, but it was hard for me to distinguish that when panic set in through every thought.
Today, I still have issues doing any real social gaming with friends, so long as it has voice chat, I tend to stray away from it. It’s messed up to keep dodging friends who actually want to play/interact with me when they otherwise can’t, but I have yet to find a perfect way to break past the barrier that both years of habit and anxiety have built. I have met with my best friend while testing the waters in Guild Wars 2, but only because he is someone who I can talk to without much panic (Only a select group of people make that list but it is steadily growing). I can’t say if I’ll ever be over it or even remotely comfortable with voice chat in games or phone calls for that matter, I do know that is something I want to get over.
I’ve always wanted to do podcasting, I’m even in the works of cooking up one now with a friend, but I am afraid that when the time comes, since it is a vocal medium, I’ll push my dreams aside because my panic wont stop till I do. Here’s hoping my future self can find a reasonable answer to this issue. Otherwise, I’m in for one heck of a ride as I get older.