Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Truthful to Ourselves

Over the weekend, I had a moment that occurs to me every few years or so. I was proofing the Stonehell book, making sure that all the monsters and their loot were accounted for and that the traps were all in place, when the camera suddenly pulled back and gave me a broad glimpse at what I was doing. Immediately, the thought struck me that this is an incredibly goofy hobby we have.

I’m not knocking what we do, but a little self-honesty every now and then helps one keep from getting too wrapped up in this fantastical recreation we share. It also makes us more understanding of our non-gaming friends and loved ones as they try to grapple with this arcane pastime of ours, and struggle to understand what we exactly see in moving little figures around on a grid, rolling weird hunks of plastic, arguing over nonsense, and speaking in funny voices. Bless them, for they are a put upon people.

Lest you think I’m only pummeling our own pastime, I admit that most any recreational activity is pretty strange if you stare at it long enough. We humans spend an awful amount of time and money on our regular attempts at recreation, and very rarely have anything more tangible to show for these pursuits other than lower stress levels and some happy memories, but anything to help us make it through the week, can’t be a bad thing, right?

This satori doesn’t mean I’m planning on putting away the dice for good anytime soon. As I stated, I have this revelation every few years. Once I reintegrate it into my mind set, I keep on with the playing. It does help me keep in mind that, to the average non-gamer, our books and periodicals make about as much sense to them as an issue of Cat Fancy magazine does to me.

Just a little something to keep in mind the next time the hoopla storm front blows through the blogosphere.

12 comments:

Chgowiz said...

(Puts away his Cats Life magazine, Whut? Doesn't everyone read it?)

Good perspective. :)

Robert Fisher said...

Perhaps I’ve just been lucky, but I’ve never experienced any stigma attached to this hobby. I think, however, it’s more than luck. It’s because I choose to spend my time with people who have their own hobbies and realize that all hobbies are equally weird.

Michael Curtis said...

...and realize that all hobbies are equally weird.

That's my point. I just think we need to occaisonally remind ourselves how weird our all our pastimes are when things start getting a little too serious and the arguments start flying.

JimLotFP said...

I'm getting the impression that "weird" is somehow being taken to mean "not serious."

BigFella said...

BigFella looks up from woodburning an awesome dragon onto a napkin holder...

Huh? What? Weird hobby you say?

Bah! Let your freak flag fly, says I. I'll be cool when I'm dead.

Michael Curtis said...

No, "goofy" was the term I originally used to indicate that there is an element to this hobby that doesn't always require the Sturm und Drang we sometimes apply to it.

Will Douglas said...

Good post.

Pity the hordes of football fans out there can't grasp this simple fact.


verification word: baste (Gee, is Thanksgiving getting close?)

Al said...

Hmm... Bridge, Fantasy Football, Bird Watching, Quilting, yep, we're in pretty weird company, weird as our hobby may seem to others :)

Jay said...

I recently saw an ad on TV for "The League" a new comedy about Fantasy Football and they used the term "Fantasy Geek," which struck me as both accurate and odd. Odd, (obviously) because at least in my high school, a "fantasy geek" was certainly not into football--or sports for that matter.

And accurate, since there is a massive amount of nerdly stat-obsessing in sports culture...which often is given a pass because "it's sports".

In any case, I've got my feet planted squarely on both geekly soils. (Though I'm more of a baseball geek than a football one).

E.G.Palmer said...

At least we're not furries! Heh..

Chris said...

...or those weird cross-stitchers.

*squints suspiciously at the eldritch codes and bizarre totems of that unhallowed clique*

Yes, we're grown men (and women) who play magic tea party with our toy soldiers. No, I don't have a problem with this. When I became a man one of the childish things I did put away was the fear of being thought childish.

"I engaged four friends in a spontaneous tale of exploration and epic adventure for four hours last weekend. You? Oh, the pub again."

Anonymous said...

"magic tea party with toy soldiers" is one of the best descriptions of rpg's I've evr heard. That should be the standard in the what are rpgs section of every game.