“I can’t hear you, is your mic even on?”
Yes, read the title again.
Such is life in the time of a global pandemic. Still, avoiding Covid-19 is still easier than getting your friends to play something together. Bless your soul for thinking it would be easy. I hope this article demonstrates how wrong you were.
Even on an easy-to-use platform like Discord, there are so many hoops to go through to make sure everyone is on a call. First and foremost, you have to find and add everyone using their increasingly weird usernames. You might want to ask why someone's username is 40 characters long with the declaration of independence written in shorthand inside it, but some questions are best left unanswered.
Then comes the talking part. Just like kindergarten, once everyone realises that they can speak they decide to do it all together without pausing for breath. One person also decides to have a shouting match with their family while they're unmuted. The most concerning part, however, is that one of your friends sounds like they're using a telegraph to communicate. The unholy combination of static and electronic interference really does make you wonder whether this is actually your friend or R2-D2's verbally challenged offspring.
One of your friends says they need to go to the bathroom. That was four years ago. Please come back Rashik, we're sorry and we miss you.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO PLAY?
The usual debate that ensues when choosing a restaurant for a hangout has now evolved and taken on a more frightening form. Whenever this question is popped, the whole call turns into a session of parliament. Everyone is yelling, and all for their own selfish desires. The hardcore gamers might want actual games like competitive FPSs or Minecraft. People who don't game at all will try their best to avoid games that need to be purchased, opting instead for things like skribbl.io, card games, or board games. Finally, there will always be one weirdo in a quiet corner of the call suggesting everyone watch anime together instead. May the loudest participant win.
WHO IS PLAYING MUSIC?
Everything is going fine, and you and your friends are having a great time when suddenly you hear this ungodly noise. Yes, it's "Africa" by Toto but bass-boosted and played at 200 percent volume. It's not a bad song, but it's not a song anymore when it causes your ears to bleed. Do everyone a favour and don't play that, please.
Okay, so maybe you're not the best at games. Maybe your drawing of a bear looks more like something you'd see in a public restroom. Or maybe you accidentally shoot your teammate and get made fun of. It's still just a game, so please don't storm off and leave your friends scratching their heads wondering what they did wrong. How about you don't do that—take the hit to your ego and keep playing.
The only thing Wasique Hasan misses more than his friends is a climate where it doesn't snow in April. Console him at fb.com/hasique.wasan