From The Archives: Getting Our Game On

English: A twenty-sided die (d20) as used in w...

English: A twenty-sided die (d20) as used in wargaming and roleplaying, most famously in Dungeons & Dragons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is another older post from my days of relying on FB notes to blog. I won’t being doing this more than once a week, and hopefully not even that often, but I do want to share these with you. Also, don’t forget, if you are on Facebook, you can always “like” my page there so you can get updates of HoA and my poetry quicker. Anyhow, this post is an ode to gamers and games and I hope you enjoy it:

(This was originally posted on June 10, 2009, holy smokes!)

My last post was something of a rant. It was a much needed rant, but a rant nonetheless. This time I promise to keep to lighter fare, honest. Don’t worry, there are further rants to come.

I am three and three in Statis Pro baseball in the league started by Lyle and Todd. Most of you will not appreciate this, as you have never played Statis Pro baseball. It is a wonderfully complex board game, and falls under the category of “Dungeons and Dragons™ for people who used to beat up the people who played Dungeons and Dragons™.” Except of course that I did, and still do play Dungeons and Dragons™ . I would probably not be writing this if Todd swept me, but he didn’t so here we are.

I only mention this as a prelude to a longer discussion of games, and my love of them. The term “gamer geek” is relatively new, and it certainly applies to yours truly. Images of obese, acne riddled, middle-aged men covered in cheeto dust, sitting in their parents basements no doubt springs to mind when I use this term. Also several, hilarious (well, to me) Chick Tracts may come to mind. There is some truth to former and none in the latter, at least not amongst the “not in need of serious medication” crowd, which is to say, the vast majority.

I have been gaming almost as long as I can remember. I have warm memories of sitting at the crappy little table in my grandparent’s garage, learning Dungeons and Dragons™ from Lyle. Later would come other role-playing games. My favorite as a youth was the Marvel Super Heroes rpg. My favorite all time is the Storyteller system used in the World of Darkness. Savage Worlds, the SAGA system and even the execrable Paladium also provided me with entertainment.

Role playing games, however, are not the entire picture. Video games, PC games, board games, trading card games, fantasy sports, and, of course, real sports, are all part of the scene. Most “gamer geeks” that I know, partake of at least two of these. We all blissfully bask in our status as geeks, and it is a label that fits. Most of us love knowledge for its own sake. Many of us speak in Star Wars quotes (I pepper my speech with Marvel Comics quotes as well.) Beyond that we are as varied as the stars. Some of us are Christian, some Pagan, some are Republican, and some are Democrats. We come in every race and class. We come from every conceivable profession, and I do mean “every” (Vin Diesel used to play, and I’m willing to bet the current president is, or at least was, a “gamer geek”.)

We often get a bad image as slackers, and in my case, it often applies. Yet many of my friends do not fit that image at all. They are multitasking go getters that volunteer their time or are engaged in several hobbies, some of which have nothing to do with games. They can be serious people, even when gaming, or they can fly completely by the seat of their pants in every aspect of their lives. They are gay, straight, bi sexual, transsexual and (yes let’s hear the laughter) often asexual.

I can sometimes give my friends of varying belief systems grief for proselytizing, whether over religion or politics, but if the truth is to be told, I can be as bad when it comes to gaming. I try to convert everyone to the altar of “gamer geek.” Nephews, nieces, my brother, my sister, my father, all of my friends and even the cute clerk at Wilson Farms are all targets for my passionate sales pitches on the merits of games. I have taken hobby to the level of ideology, and I am quite alright with that.

Games expand our minds. They teach us problem solving. They teach us competition and, if learned from someone with even an ounce of decency, they teach us honor. They are a relatively safe way to spend a weekend, compared to walking around in an alcohol induced haze not remembering what you did the night before. They build memories, most of which are positive. Many involve conflict, some do not. One of my favorites is Arkham Horror. It’s the players versus the game, and we all work together to win. Games teach teamwork too.

It’s not all wine and roses. Some of us devote more time to our games than is healthy. I can certainly be accused of this. Others, I have met a few, get too into character when they play. A few others that we have all seen on the news go even further, staying in character. That last bunch would probably find another outlet for their derangement if no rpg’s were available. By and large, however, it is a safe, fun, educational experience, and I would not give it up even if threatened with death. Take my games, and you have destroyed me.

So here’s to all you paladins, clerics, wizards and rogues. You monster hunters, investigators and fantasy baseball managers all raise a glass. Chess players, Sudoku addicts and crossword junkies all hold your heads up with pride. All of us shout out: “I’m a damned gamer geek, and I’m damn proud to say it!”

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