Uniting Through Pixels: The Power of Gaming Communities

Author: Greg Lozano

Just about every game franchise has a community tied to it. From those who grew up with Mario to fans of indie smash titles by Toby Fox; if there’s a game, there’s a high chance of a supporting community that embraces the lore, music, speedrunning, and more. Years ago, I was introduced to the Twitch LA community, which led me to make friends through Smash Bros. It even enabled me to meet an amazing friend with whom I bonded over one of my favorite Final Fantasy titles. The Twitch LA community also connected me with an incredible group known as StackUp. This organization assists military personnel (including allies) by providing gaming and nerd culture to help during difficult times.

Growing up in a generation where games weren’t as mainstream as they are today, I can’t help but smile at how this wonderful medium has brought millions together. Back then, finding gamers to share successes with, like beating Super Mario Bros., was rare. However, I had my brothers and cousins, giving me a sense of community from a young age. This was enough for me to start a gaming club in my high school, which, thanks to titles like GoldenEye and Pokémon, only grew larger.

Video games gave me a sense of belonging. I was only social when talking about games; otherwise, I was immersed in my own imaginary world, barely interacting with others. I wasn’t into sports or much TV unless it involved cartoons, which ignited my passion for anime early on. I didn’t fit into what was considered ‘normal’, so having a community that grew from a shared love for this medium is nothing short of amazing. Back when the Internet was just becoming widely accessible and IGN was a prime gathering spot for gamers, I established friendships that last to this day. Despite it being considered strange to meet people from the Internet, we created a group that held almost annual community meetings, all because of our love for similar games.

I love seeing a title grow an organic following. Games like Animal Crossing helped bridge connections during a pandemic, when many felt isolated. The beauty of gaming communities is their penchant for sharing joy. Despite any negative perceptions, a smile always finds its place in the world. If you’re interested in gaming communities, I recommend exploring through Discord. You’ll often find people eager to help and possibly make a new friend in the process.

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