There is a local event for developers to bring their games and get people to play test them. I have attended this event several times before, not as a developer but just to try and be part of the community. Just one problem, I am very introverted and not good at integrating into new groups.
As such when I went to these events I would do my best to try and play the games, socialize, and generally be present in the event. But I would often either stick to one place where I felt “safe” or just leave. I just felt awkward and out of place. After a few attempts I largely stopped attending these events. I wasn’t getting much out of them, and I don’t think the people who brought their games were getting much from me either.
Then COVID happened and the events understandably stopped. But just recently the events started back up again. And now I had something to show, something I needed playtested. So I resolved to attend, full of dread for my introverted self, 3 hours in a room full of strangers wanting to talk to me…
And then I was at the event. People were playing my game (and enjoying it more than I expected, even as they failed). I was taking some notes on things to change. And then I looked at the time. Two of the three hours had already passed… and I was having fun. A simple change in perspective/goal/role had turned something I dreaded into an enjoyable and useful experience.
This doesn’t mean I am suddenly an extrovert. Or that there is anything wrong about being an introvert. But it does mean I have discovered another part of my comfort zone. I may actually be looking forward to the next of these events.