As Cracked has pointed out before, mankind is just now coming around to the idea that video games might actually be good for something after all. We need these stories to counterbalance two decades of claims that games brainwash kids into going on shooting sprees, and after having watched many friends abandon their social lives in favor of grinding for XP.
Remember, games are neither good nor evil -- it's all in what you do with them. For instance ...
6Online Gamers Have Saved Strangers' Lives
In any discussion about the benefits of multiplayer gaming, its capacity to bring people together would not usually enter into the equation. Yes, current technology allows gamers to speak to opponents at the other side of the world with nothing but a cheap headset, but the conversations tend to revolve around the promiscuity of the mothers of said opponents, so that's not all that impressive.
But among the jerks, there are some downright heartwarming stories. For instance, a Canadian teenager made the news after helping an autistic youth online who was showing serious signs of depression, to the point of hinting at suicide. The teen had no idea who the other kid was, or where he lived, or anything other than his gamertag. That didn't stop him -- he got in contact with the police, who contacted the at-risk kid over Xbox Live. They were then able to spend a few hours talking him down.
Since the hero of the story hasn't been named, we just have to assume he looks like this.
And here's the best part: When authorities got in touch with the suicidal kid's parents (who lived in Texas), they said they had no idea there was a problem. It took a 14-year-old gamer who lived 1,500 miles away to see the signs.
Meanwhile, Robert Chambers also benefited from the concern of online strangers. He was sitting at the computer playing the browser game Evony when a fire started in his house. His muscular dystrophy prevented him from getting to a phone to call for help, so he turned to the people he was playing with online. He gave them his home address (which isn't advised when your house isn't on fire). Thankfully, his fellow players got in touch with the authorities, who showed up and carried Chambers to safety within minutes.
This would have been a very different story if Chambers had a history of griefing.
With all those stories of cyberbullying swirling around, we need to be reminded that on the whole, forging connections between strangers is a good thing.