Being introverted is tough.
Just check out this Guide to Understanding Invtroverts. Oh, the anguish and torture that social interactions inflict upon those suffering from introversion.
But something magical has happened… something that took shape in the 80s, exploded in the 90s and became a way of life in this new millenium…
Impact of Video Games on Social Interaction
Video games held great promise for introverts in their early years. The number of players was limited and local… people had to stand or sit side-by-side to play. OR, the happy introvert could develop skill with a game in the safety of their own home.
An introvert may even develop such skill that he or she could dominate an arcade game for hours on end, laying waste to all who tried their luck against the video game master.
…And it was good.
Video games of the 90s took introverts by the timid hand and guided them gently into the world of socialization. Video game fanatics now had a simple way to weed out extroverts and zero in on those all-important invtrovert sympathyzers.
Thank you Super Mario Brothers!
Enter the Internet
Introverts embraced the internet immediately. Or at least as quickly as they could… depending on the quality of their dial-up connection and whether or not Dad was using the phone at the time.
AOL opened up a whole new world of introvert networking. Chat rooms, message boards and forums. What joy!
Until the trolls joined in… and the creepers… but, that was to be expected. Introverts aren’t dumb, they can block or avoid most of that crap.
BUT, how the heck do you deal with today’s mass adoption of video games by extroverts? Farmville is considered a video game. Farmville. Suddenly everyone plays video games, just not the way we used to. This news anchor demonstrating Candy Crush LIVE on the “news” says it all.
And if you really break social media down to it’s core, aren’t Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tinder and the lot of them actually video games with human components?
Just think about it… are there winners and losers? Are there digitial activities you must engage in to build experience points/credibility/visibility? Is the experience of “playing” social media addicting and all-encompassing at times?
Now consider who LOVES these types of social networks… ahem, video games.
Maybe social media is the ORIGNAL virtual reality…
So now that extroverts, grandparents, and everyone else is on-board with the internet and social media and video games… where do introverts stand? How do they handle this influx of public transparency? Public shaming through social channels… bullying to the next level of intensity. The internet can be a scary place for an introvert.
Many went back or stayed inside… connected, but disconnected at the same time.
Fast forward to the year 2016 and it’s safe to say that the era of introvert-dominated video game socialization has come to an end. Extroverts are “all in” when it comes to video games, social media, and their favorite subject… themselves.
But introverts are not easily disuaded from trying something new, especially when that something has anything to do with technology and video games.
VR: An Introvert’s Delight?
Maybe we should begin strapping the video game screen directly to the player’s face. That’s an interesting idea. Make the person feel like they are in the game! What could go wrong, introverts?
Augmented Reality: Good or Bad?
Maybe Pokemon Go will help introverts get a little sunshine and find fellow introvertonians.
Not sure that is realistic, though. Have you seen the way people “play” Pokemon Go?
We have detached from game consoles, we’ve abandoned side-by-side gaming, and gamification marketing has become big business. Depending on how you look at it, the future can seem a bit bleak.
Introverts driven deeper and deeper into other realities is not necessarily the “social mentoring” that old school Nintendo dished out in the age of Mario Kart and Smash Bros.
But there is demad for old school! See what I found on Nintendo’s “What’s New” page today…
So, what do you think? Where are video games and socialization going next? How will introverts adapt to this incredibly extroverted video game world we now live in?