As many of you reading this will know, I began my Tactical Gamer career in our Battlefield 2142 community over three years ago. I was drawn there by my husband and fellow TG member Aruncado soon after we bought the game; he'd found the TG servers and declared them the promised land of maturity in gaming. Mind you, we'd come from a heavily Halo/Halo 2 multiplayer gaming background during the time when online gaming culture was still largely forming and screaming, cursing twelve-year-olds on Xbox Live were the norm, so TG really did offer the be-all, end-all of gaming experiences for us.

Three years and quite a few games later, I still think it does.

Regardless, no community is perfect. Within just the microcosms of TG with which I'm familiar I've seen dozens, maybe hundreds of players come and go, a few of them in less-than-perfect circumstances. I've watched as the camaraderie of people who'd played countless hours together was ripped apart by simple differences in perspective. I've had fellow players I count as friends stop speaking to one another over disagreements on how to play a game, all in the name of "the TG way."

Segue to a discussion on personalities in general as it relates to these issues. One thing I've observed about people is that everyone has a different perspective--on life, morality, values, you name it--that defines their interactions with others.

What do I mean by that? Let's look at an anecdotal example. Say you have a friend who isn't the most punctual person in the world; she shows up fifteen minutes late to every engagement the two of you plan. You, on the other hand, are incredibly punctual and always arrive ten minutes early. During the intervening twenty-five minutes, you get annoyed, then angry that she would show such a lack of respect for your planning. But when you express your displeasure, she doesn't see why you're upset--after all, you'd agreed to meet at "around 3:00," right?

Now let's change the story a bit. Your friend is a fellow TG member who enjoys playing the same games you do. One day, you're on the TG server for a few rounds and you see her do something that's not against the hard-and-fast rules, but that you feel is against the spirit of what TG represents--say, for instance, that she spends the entire round hogging one of the team's vehicles, waiting at base for it to spawn instead of participating on the front lines of battle. Her squad leader says it's fine with him that she does so, but you still feel she could contribute more to her team by sticking with her squad and taking the vehicle as opportunity arises. What do you do?

Situations such as this arise constantly in the TG community as a result of differences in perspective. If the subject of our anecdote were to ask--objectively, not accusatorily--why his friend felt the need to wait for an armor spawn, the answer might surprise him. It could be that she hadn't really thought about the actions she'd taken and their impact on her team. She might feel that her skill with infantry roles is so poor that she's a detriment to her team boots-down on the front lines. The point is, you never know until you ask and encourage an honest answer. You might even inspire someone to improve themselves while you're at it.

In short, our dedication to teamwork must go beyond the games we play. We're all here for the same reason: we enjoy gaming in an atmosphere of maturity and teamwork. That atmosphere encompasses a myriad of perspectives on what teamwork and maturity mean and how they affect our interactions with each other. So the next time you encounter another perspective with which you disagree, I challenge you to question it, to learn everything you can about it in as objective a manner as possible, and to encourage others to do the same. Even if you still disagree, you'll find you've strengthened the bonds of teamwork and society within the TG community--and expanded your own horizons, as well.