Most of my friends live in the Philippines. Over the past few months, I’ve found that there are a few problems with living so far from them.
One of the most apparent problems is of course, not being able to see or hang out with them. I’ve written about going to the internet cafe and spending hours playing video games with them before, and it was always really fun. Now we still do keep in touch, usually chatting or still playing video games together, but there are some inherent problems with playing video games with someone from half a world away. You see, most video games are very reliant on ping, which is the time it takes for your inputs to reach the server and for the server to send back any information necessary. This is measured in milliseconds, and for most games, around 50-80 ms is good ping. when you play half way away from the server, you could see up to 500 ms, which means there’s a 5 second delay from what you see in game and what actually happens. It gets very annoying, especially for some of the games we play. Recently, we’ve taken to playing Left4Dead 2, which is a zombie shooter game. We already finished the campaign together, so now we download fan-made missions which are really fun. For these fan-made missions, someone usually has to host the server for it, which means using their computer as the server. I ended up becoming the host because I’m the midpoint between my friend in New Jersey and the rest of my friends in the Philippines. In game, my friends in the Philippines usually see around 250-300 ms, which isn’t good but still kinda playable. I say kinda because sometimes they end up inadvertently shooting at one of us, which isn’t good because the four of us (four is the maximum number of people allowed) teammates against a huge horde of zombies.
One of my friends has a huge collection of anime, his computer is actually so filled up that whenever he needs to download something that takes up a decent amount of space, he has to think about whether or not he actually needs what he wants to download and if so, which of the series he has to delete. Whenever I wanted to watch a certain anime, I always asked him if he had it. Most of the time he did and since his house was a short walk away, I would sometimes walk there and have the anime I want within a couple hours. In the same vein, when I was going to the States for the first time, I let one of my friends borrow a graphics card I had laying around. It was better than what he had and since I would be away, I wan’t gonna use it. What I’m trying to say is, friends help each other out and being away from them kinda makes it hard. Something as simple as sharing a few files could take way longer and just isn’t very viable.
At the end of the day, me and my friends make the best of it. Playing video games has always been our way of bonding and having fun, so I guess in a way we’re lucky because we can do that pretty much from anywhere with a computer and internet. Some people and their friends hang out through other ways, like rock climbing or skiing. When they move far away, they can’t rock climb or ski together.