My family knows, as do my friends. I will never tell anyone at work. I do not advertise what I do with my free time.
I play table-top role-playing games.
I am writing this post out of frustration. Frustration at the horrible stereotypes table-top gamers live with every day. The few times I mentioned what I do, I get the standard responses. Perhaps you recognize these choice comments.
“Do you worship the devil?”
“Doesn’t that make you commit suicide?
“Do you still live in your mother’s basement?”
“Hey, didn’t Tom Hanks make a movie about that game? ”
These comments usually accompany a look of scorn and fear.
Perhaps we should examine the activities of these “average” people. The vast majority spend their free time either watching television or some other technological device to amuse themselves. No brain required, just lie back and let some giant corporation feed you information. Ironically, many of them play MMORPG games. Pretending to be an elf with your friends is “geeky,” but doing it online makes it socially acceptable.
I actually pity these people. They cannot see or understand the basic premise of gaming. They forgot their own history.
People gathered around a table telling a story and having a good time. It is an ancient practice. I do not see a difference between a good game and an ancient shaman telling stories of heroism and glory to his tribe. It is one of the foundations of human civilization, to share an oral history. Gaming keeps this tradition alive in an era of digital recordings and eternal storage. Each telling unique, to both the teller and his audience.
Denigrating gamers is like sneering at a master blacksmith crafting a fine sword. The human component of ancient skills is what makes them valuable and worth preserving, regardless if there is a “better” way of doing things.
I hope someday the world comes to understand this, but I do not see it now. So, I intend on staying the closet, quietly moving through the normal world in silence. It is an existence I can tolerate for one reason.
I am in the closet, but my mind is free.