Light + Heat - Dark
Like many kids, my early experiences with RPGs took place underground -- in a basement. In Michigan, basements are common, and excellent places to spend the (relatively) hot summer days.
Now I live in Austin, and the heat index has broken 110 degrees far too often recently. (This summer is falling short of last year's "100 days over 100 degrees," but it's still miserably hot.) Why don't I have a basement now?
And does Central Texas' general lack of basements have an impact on the frequency of gaming in the area? Based on the number of gaming conventions (and my own wildly unscientific analysis), areas where basements are common seem to have more gamers than areas where basements are rare. Any opinions on why this is? Tell me your theory on Twitter (@sjgames) or our forums.
-- Paul Chapman
Growing up in the suburbs, many of my early gaming sessions took place down in the basement. This was simply because it was the closest we kids had to our own private creative space. It was a place were our mothers could be certain we were safe beneath their feet without the need to constantly check up on us. That is, until things got quiet down there. That's when they knew we were up to no good.
The advantage to playing down in the basement was that you didn't have to worry about rain leaking through your treehouse roof or the wind carrying off your 24th level magic-user when the breeze got stiff. I'm pretty certain that there's a percentage of gamers who, lacking a basement, made do with the family garage for the same reasons.
The basement (and garage) as a private creative space goes far beyond the realm of gaming. It's not surprising that these same venues served as the spawning ground for countless teenage bands in later years. In my own case, I later kicked out the jams in the same place that I once guided my friends through hours upon hours of dungeon adventure.