By PerfidiousSinn 4 Comments
How many of your friends have you met in real life?
It’s a question that makes perfect sense to my generation but might not resonate with our parent’s generation. Thanks to online forums and social media, people my age frequently form friendships with people we’ll never meet in person.
So, here’s how I met three of my closest friends and bonded with them over Borderlands.
Like most 90s kids, I was obsessed with Homestar Runner in the early 2000s. I watched almost everything on the site, sent in emails, and spent what little allowance money I saved up on merch. I still own most of that stuff, like static cling stickers, a talking The Cheat plush doll, and several large t-shirts that I’ll never fit in.
Large shirts were in fashion in the early 2000s but I wear medium. They’re all right to wear if I’m working in the garden or painting, I guess.
Through Homestar Runner, I found the Burning Horizon Forum. Originally created as a way to archive all the secrets in Homestar Runner videos, the forums expanded to off-topic chats, sub-forums about music, gaming, and art. So we quickly went from a group of loosely affiliated H*R fans to a group of friends sharing their interests.
The group of three I met there also bonded over fighting games, and we’d chat while streaming tournaments at Evolution. Three of us even organized a real-life meetup at a tournament in Chicago.
We never got the full group of 4 together in real life, but we still became close friends just through talking on the forums and Skype groups. In 2009, we all started playing Borderlands together through Xbox Live as well.
That game became a new meeting spot for us. We’d all get together in an Xbox Live Party and play the game while chatting about life. As a social game, Borderlands was perfect. Engaging enough to make memorable moments (like one of us becoming such a terrible driver that we’d kick him out of the car, or my intense fear of the giant spider enemies), but also mindless enough to let us talk to each other and not just talk about the game.
Over the next couple of years, our group of 4 burned through Borderlands and all of its extra content multiple times, resetting the game with new characters and starting again. For friends that couldn’t possibly meet regularly, Borderlands was the perfect hangout spot.
That was 10 years ago though. Since then, a few of us have moved, gone through university, and gotten time-consuming jobs. We stayed friends after Borderlands, but didn’t really get a chance to have a social game experience like that.
Fast forward to 2019. We’ve all got PlayStation 4s and we all have access to Borderlands Remastered. So we get into a party chat again and catch up like we did 10 years ago. Despite all the time that’s passed, we’re still staying up way too late playing games, cracking jokes and trying to cut off uncontrollable giggle fits because it’s 4 a.m. and everything is hilarious at 4 a.m.
Because we played through the game so much, parts of Borderlands Remastered are just etched in my brain. I know where to go through muscle memory, I know what that character is going to say, I remember which guns are the best already.
But the game is really inconsequential, isn’t it? The best part is getting back together with all three of my friends for the first time in years and just talking.
Even though I’d have to drive several hours to meet one of them, or take a short flight to see another, or take a really long flight to see the other. We bonded over Borderlands and I’m happy the Remastered edition gave us the chance to do so again all these years later.
Our parents might not understand our relationships with people we’ve never met. But the internet and games like Borderlands are so amazing, they can keep friendships going for years, even friendships between people who live hundreds of miles apart.