Tuesday, July 12, 2011

... and the climb back.

In the last post I talked about how gaming is essentially always educational.  You learn something from doing it.  Even if you don't want to...

... which was the case for me.

What had me disillusioned was not boredom, but lessons I was trying NOT to learn.  Somethings I didn't want to accept, but once I did, my love of the game came back and the problems I was avoiding fell to the side where they belong.

One issue was a personal problem between me and someone else.  (If you're wondering if it is you, it probably isn't... and if you think it is... it probably is).  Ultimately it's a unique situation, and not one directly gaming related.

But another lesson was.  And that came from someone who doesn't even game.  I was bemoaning watching "the Dungeon Masters", and how... again... a movie that should be making us more inclusive, and easier to relate to... once again... made us out to be the kids that were left alone for a reason, when my soon to be wife said:

The problem is this:  There's what you think gaming is... and there's what gaming is.

And that truth really hit home for me.  Gaming has embraced being the nerdy kid in the hall so much that  it has gone from being 'inclusive' to 'exclusive'.  And not for the right reasons.  Gamers almost wear the 'geek'/'nerd' abuse as a flag of honor.  A way to separate us from non gamers.

The exact OPPOSITE of why I got into this in the first place.

So, I have a couple options.  Accept gaming isn't what I want it to be, and walk away... OR make it what I want it to be (well... try anyway...).

Obviously... I'm not one to just give up.  In the next posts from me, I'll talk a little about what made gaming great, what we can do to improve upon it, and post things I find that help show us in the best light possible.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Fall of a Gamer

There is a type of game that people label as educational, presuming that the rest of them are for pure entertainment.  In fact, the only thing that makes games fun is when they’re educational.

If you think about all the games you’ve played through the years, from Tic Tac Toe to Monopoly to Settlers of Catan, they’ve all had the same end point.  Eventually, you get bored.  You’ve learned how they work, their mechanics offer no secrets anymore, and the story they tell you’ve heard before.  So you move on to another game to learn about. 

Occasionally, a new player is introduced to you, and the old games hold their magic again for a moment.  Not because you’re learning about the game, but because you’re learning about the opponent.  You’re discovering how they think, interact, their personality.  Are they aggressive, or cautious?  A good looser?  A good winner?  Do they take the game seriously?  Or do they chat and relax while they play?
All the while you’re learning.  And that learning is what makes the game fun.

Which is why I’m writing this.

I’ve become bored of table top role-playing games.  They seem to have nothing to teach me anymore.  I know the systems and mechanics to where I annoy myself when I question a GM’s call.  I’ve heard the stories we tell, told a hundred times before.  I’ve explored my psyche through other personalities.  My inner badass, coward, politician, tactician, warrior, savior and villain.  I’ve felt those parts of me, and walked away knowing more of who I am.

I’ve seen what my friends bring to the table.  How they like to play, and what they want to be.

So… now what?

Normally, this would be the point where I offer my point of view through telling stories of my own.  By bringing the lessons I have into the game, and then I get to learn from the other players new ways  of looking at them.

But I’ve told my stories before.  I’ve told them again and again.  I’m tired of listening to them.
I occasionally get a few moments of escapism in the forms of a computer game.  Something that at least lets me explore and learn about a new world.  Learning a history, and discovering interactions that have become predictable.  Rarely am I surprised, and often I finish a game feeling more empty than I did when I started, only because I made room in my heart for a surprise that never came.

And even the escapism is less fulfilling as I get to middle age.  I’ve reached a point career wise where I get to have my own adventures, even if they’re all about accounting and coding.  Sometimes I win at work, sometimes I loose.  I get to see how other people achieve their goals.  The things I once turned to gaming for are being met here at work.

I’m in a good relationship.   I can share my adventures with someone who shares theirs with me every day.  A weekly gaming group is a step down.

So now what?  Where does that leave gaming in my life?  I know I’m not done learning.  That would border on arrogance even beyond what I can imagine.  So what’s next for me gaming wise?  I’m open to ideas.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If I had it to do again.

Watched Darkon again last night.  (Thanks Nina... you're a trooper)

If I had it to do again, I'd use the same rules I wrote, take out some of the 'movement' phase stuff, and make the following changes to the plot.

- No story.  I know, counter intuitive, but it's hard to do when getting started.

- Make people have 5 people before being able to start their own kingdom.

- Characters who have no kingdom (by choice, or because they can't find one that will accept them) either team up with defenders, or are mercenaries hired by kingdoms.

- Once a month have a battle day.

The end.  

2 years ago, I'd make these changes and try to start the LARP up as a better version of itself.  I just don't have it in me anymore.