The very moment i am writing these words, i am seating alone in a cafeteria located somewhere on a beautiful  Greek island very far away from home. Unfortunately, i got transferred recently to a new position which is ”alien” to me; apart from the new demanding duties i will have to carry on my shoulders, i have to cope with a huge change of my social circle in my work environment. Due the nature of my work, i am used to changing periodically work environments but, truth be told, the older you get the more difficult it is to adapt to these changes.

As you probably know, social relationships are essential for human beings. We simply cannot live without interacting with others, communicating and even having disputes on a daily basis. Socialisation is what separates us from the rest of the fauna. The question is though, how can you start a relationship with people you are forced to live together for over a month, that hold different positions in a profession that is based on a very strict chain of command??

As i have mentioned in earlier posts, all editors of this site are in positions that are very demanding; our daily routine involves a lot of dedication, responsibility and tough decisions. It is very natural that when the sun sets, we are in desperate need of some time to relax and blow off some steam.

2 days ago, we found out that one of us had a hard copy of a very old but good game that by today’s standards is probably considered archaic. This game upon release, sold huge numbers due to its innovative for the time and addicting gameplay. And this my friends is none other than Call of Duty. Do not be mislead; i am not referring to Call of Duty: WWII, but to the very first one that got released waaaaay back in 2003. Yes, the one where the characters look like a big ugly polygons and the car tires are almost square shaped.

Without hesitation, we searched the whole enterprise to find laptops that were not used wherever we could inside the eneterprise (you really cannot imagine what we salvaged from the trash, they were not ;;Alienware” class i assure you!). However, the good thing about this game in particular is that any laptop manufactured from 2008 and forward can run it easily, due to its laughable minimum requirements.

After ”resuscitating” 6 old laptops and an old router from the ”graveyard”, the LAN was set in no time. Thank god i brought with me my Xbox One headset and a small wired mouse that i use for my trusty ASUS T100 tablet/netbook. I really wanted to ”punish” some people…

Initially, we played Deathmatch. 6 players in a relatively small map eagerly equipped their rifles started shooting at each other. Our accuracy was close to 0%. After some games and as the ice started to melt between us, some comments started emerging from our foul mouths: ”Take this!”, ”you are as good as dead sir”, ”seriously who named his character after a helicopter??”,”my Thompson machine gun will turn you into Swiss cheese”  etc. As we started getting better at it, we decided to switch to 3 v 3 Team Deathmatch. We took our laptops to different rooms in order to communicate better with our respective squad mates and for the other team not to eavesdrop our strategies (which by the way were pretty much shoot-whatever-you-see-that-does-not-wear-the same-uniform-as-you).

And then, all hell broke lose. Screams of anger and excitement could be heard from the rooms we were. People from other offices came rushing to us to see if everything was OK and they were astonished about what they saw; 6 full grown males behaving like 10 year olds. We once chose a stage where the use of a sniper rifle was obligatory and the headshots amassed one after the other. I really felt like Vasili Zaitsev, the famous Russian soldier of WWII who exterminated his enemies with his rifle in the blockbuster movie ”Enemy at the Gates”. My team was flabbergasted by the way i could pull of shots from the other side of the map and the opposing team was ready to come send me flying out of the window from frustration.  Hours went by and we hardly noticed. Last time i I checked my watch it was 11:15 pm and now it was 04:00 am. Jesus Christ!!!

The other day, we had to wake up early and face another demanding day. Everything was back to normal, with all the formalities that our positions demand. But we all knew deep down inside, that we were anticipating another sunset in order to pick up our gear once and obliterate one another. This is called professionalism at its finest, and i love it.

This experience made me realise that video games are essential for situations like these. Through them, you can communicate with your colleagues, develop your teamwork skills and tactics and start a healthy relationship in zero time. I know that sports and other outdoor activities undoubtedly have the same result, but believe me, you really do not have any other choice when you are so fatigued after a long tough work day. This is the magic of co op video games. Now, you will have to excuse me, because i have to prepare my office desk for another epic confrontation…;)