As science teacher Alan Tran watches his best friend struggle for hours on Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, he quickly gives advice on how to defeat the boss. His friend finally completes the last level, appreciating Tran for his words of wisdom.
Tran has always found the colorful images and unique storytelling in games attractive. He has played a variety of games from his childhood to now, including Kirby Dreamland Two, Final Fantasy Seven, and Guild Wars.
“Gaming stands out from other hobbies due to the high level of worldwide competition,” Tran said. “There is a huge community everywhere you look.”
Playing games has been a way for Tran to meet new people and build relationships. He has made new friendships and even met his fiancé due to gaming. Through gaming, they have created various memorable moments together that Tran still cherishes.
“My best friend and I have a lot of inside jokes because of stupid things that happen in games,” Tran said. “Whenever we say ‘masterful play,’ we know something stupid is about to happen.”
Although their playing styles are different, with Tran being meticulous in his moves and his best friend being more extreme in his, they have built a strong bond.
“Sometimes we work really well together and sometimes we have horrible, horrible anti-synergy like in League of Legends,” Tran said. “He keeps things fresh, and except for when he infuriates me, he makes the game enjoyable.”
Furthermore, gaming helped Tran create a stronger connection with his fiancé. They met playing Guild Wars, as he created a Discord with different players in an attempt to level up. They started as friends, but their friendship later began to mean more to Tran.
“Two of the other guild members said, ‘She has a boyfriend,’” Tran said. “It turns out they were talking about a guy she was trying to farm with. In the back of my head, I was slightly jealous. After that, I realized I had feelings for her. I was like, ‘That’s not good. Whatever, I’ll just ask her out.’”
They dated long-distance for a few months because she lived in Italy at the time. Tran later decided to fly her to America and she eventually moved in with him.
“It’s nice to have the same hobby as your partner because then you could spend more time with each other,” Tran said. “You have similar interests, and get to enjoy your time together.”
Tran has received offers to play competitively for League of Legends, but he decided that gaming as a job takes the fun out of playing. However, he competed in competitions throughout his college years. Tran gives advice to those who wish to make a job out of gaming.
“You got to have the right personality and right drive for it and learn to adapt to change because games get less popular,” Tran said. “You have to learn to adapt [to] it over time.”