My brother and I have had to live apart for around six years now.
This separation has meant that we’ve never really been given a proper chance to bond. Nor have we managed to open up to each other. This is because we missed out on the big moments of each other’s lives, and our schedules rarely matched. Recently we both became fans of the same multiplayer game, and it’s brought us closer than ever before.
I moved abroad for university right when my brother started middle school. That also happened to be the age when we finally had more things to talk about. Before, all he did was pester me to play football with him. This meant that from the start, we didn’t talk that much to each other. He isn’t great at chatting on the phone, and I didn’t want to bore him with student things that he wouldn’t understand. In itself, this isn’t that big of a deal. However, it was hard when I went back home and noticed he was struggling. Even if it was about school, friends or family, all I could do was distract him.
In a recent attempt to get to know him better, I decided to take an interest in his biggest hobby, gaming. He is really into Among Us, a game that is seemingly starting to take over the whole world. As someone who is really bad at games (unless that game is Sims, or Animal Crossing), I was surprised at how quick you could get the hang of it. This made me more enthusiastic about the game, and my brother more willing to teach me his tips and tricks.
Soon, we were playing as a team of two.
Even though the game is “every man for himself”, we made our own strategies to help our team win and worked together all the time, especially when we were the bad guys. Something started happening during our gaming sessions. While playing, he started opening up to me more than he had ever done before.
The game helped played the role of a safe environment where he could vent about school or family or other issues. Helping him with tasks in the game turned into helping him with problems outside the virtual world. And giving advice moved beyond making strategies to win. Because things that happen on Among Us, stay on Among Us, I made sure to never push him for more information while we were not playing, nor did I ever bring up our discussions.
While we still don’t pick up the phone just to have a heart to heart, we do talk about what’s going on in our lives more. We do this even outside of our gaming sessions, which have now become a weekly occurrence.
Whoever thinks that there is nothing valuable about video games should think again.