A lot is made these days about the new social revolution in videogames. The conventional wisdom goes something like this: Games used to mainly be a solitary experience for socially reclusive, nerdy kids who preferred sitting in a dark basement to interacting with the outside world, but today’s online first-person shooters and massively multiplayer RPGs allow gamers to come out of the basement and forge relationships in the warm cathode light of LAN parties and dungeon raids.

Anyone who actually grew up with games knows this is a bunch of hooey. Social interaction has always been a part of gaming. From drunken frat boys betting on Pong tournaments to school kids fighting side by side as Ninja Turtles to crowds of eager teens placing their coins on a weathered Street Fighter 2 cabinet, the socializing influence of multiplayer games predates recent telecommunications advances by decades.

But discussions of the deep, personal connections that can be made through multiplayer gaming usually gloss over the deep, personal connections that

can also be made through single player gaming. In fact, one single player game in particular helped me connect to two of the most important people in my life – and I didn’t even realize it until I played Super Mario 64 DS.

(full article)