Quiet songs play in the background as cat girls dressed in black, elves wearing suits, and child-like creatures carrying a black umbrella all walk to a massive tree to pay their respects to a fallen comrade in a video game.
Video games have a bad reputation. Many claim that they cause violence and cause people to be antisocial, but that is not what I think of when I think of video games. I think of the communities, friendships, and all the support that would have never happened without these games.
Final Fantasy perhaps has one of the “families” in gaming. One of the best examples of this happened in April of this year when Ferne Le’roy’s player, in Final Fantasy XIV Online, died of Covid-19. The people that she played with online couldn’t go to her funeral, so they did something that showed the bonds between players. They did a ingame funeral march which the organizers only expected a small number of players to come, but to their shock hundreds if not over a thousand players appeared going with many jumping through hoops just to be able to go. Many did not know her but wanted to show support for the people who knew her. People around the world brought their characters all dressed in black carrying umbrellas marched for almost an hour to pay their respects.
I witnessed this overwhelming show of support and was amazed. It’s hard not to feel emotional seeing this. While I could not be part of the event, I paid my respects along with many other people in comments of footage. While many people may think this event is a once off, in 2014 a similar event happened in the same game.
Another community that showed how strong it was the Persona community on Tumblr. A member of the community had to drop out of college due to family issues and their college expected them to play a massive debt in a very short amount of time and talked about it on their Tumblr. So what did the Persona community do? Work together to fundraise enough money to pay off the debt. While I was not able to give any money, I did what I could and spread the word about what was happening.
You don’t see news articles being written about these events very often, but they are there. Video games help to create communities and friendships that Covid-19 make hard to create. Sometimes you just have to look past previously conceived notions to find there is a lot more than what you think.