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I saw a story on the Today Show about a group of women in California who met in online gaming and have become very close friends. They call themselves The Big Fish Babes. They started out playing a beta version of the Big Fish game Mystery Case Files: Madam Fate. Big Fish had a beta forums for this game and they came together through their various posts. As the relationships grew, they started talking about off topic subjects like their family and personal lives. When the game and forums were released, this group of women wanted to keep those personal relationships together, so they started a Yahoo! group and have actually become a very close set of women.
Through this group, we became even closer. We shared sickness, death, marriage and births. We excitedly supported one of the Babes during her son’s wedding which we attended in spirit. We posted to each other what we were wearing, the music playing as we danced, and how wonderful everyone looked. We had a wonderful time. We danced, drank and were happy together. Pictures were posted and when we saw them, yep, we were there.
Big Fish has actually invited this group to come in and be pseudo “alpha” testers and bounce ideas off of them.
I cringe when I hear the stories on the news or even people at gatherings talking about gamers as anti-social and hiding behind their avatars. While this may be true for some, groups like this prove that on-line gaming provides a conduit for people to explore friendships outside of their geographic area. I have made many friends through games such as World of Warcraft whom I consider “real” friends and they are just as important to me as my friends I have met through work, school or other areas of my life. I hope everyone out their has a chance to connect with the people you play with on-line. Who knows, they may become a life long friend!