Saturday, December 28, 2019

Gamers of a Certain Age

Venger Satanis talked about "being an outsider" recently and it got me thinking.

I am 47 and didn't start gaming until I was a sophomore in College. We had moved from Northern KY to Southeaster IN when I was 13 and I only found one other person that read comics in my entire time in High School. 

In my experience, geeks were often forced to practice their hobbies in secret because our hobbies were rooted in being the outsider in the 70s, 80s, and 90s

From my perspective the older a geek is, the more, in my opinion, they faced bullying and "socialization" from families, schoolmates, and often mentors.

And now, in a matter of a few short years, we are not only mainstream, but cool and the types of people who did bully us are now sitting at the table with us. On top of that the younger set of geeks may have faced a different path to get here. And it's good for them, I wouldn't wish the bullying I lived through on anyone, but some of us aren't ready to be cool or we'd have done it when we had the chance to conform. And all of this is compounded by an assumption that if I play D&D and you play D&D then we can be friends, which is often not the case. Finally, fandom suffers from within because one way to be an outsider as a fan is to take your "favorite" subject and to hate it and wish X would take it over, or to fully believe that no other fan or group of fans loves X as well as you and yours do. 

These are just the thoughts of someone who is pushing 50 and I'm 1000% certain that, to some of you, I got it all completely wrong. As a gamer and a merchant I want 8 billion people to enjoy what I sell, I think role playing helps, with the right group, people blow off steam and have fun, but I think some of us have some old wounds that we either can't or won't let go, and that has nothing to do with age.


Scott Anderson said...

We are still outsiders being bullied. The hobby has been taken over by people who don’t really know about or care about the hobby. They want to establish “a community” with rules and gatekeepers and top-down overlords telling you what to play and how to play.

There are people who want to kill the orc and take the treasure, and there are people who want to hollow out the hobby, wear it as a skin suit, demand the same respect of the founders of it, and then sell it as a lifestyle brand for gays. Or whatever.

Bullies incoming in 3... 2... 1...

I’ll kill the Orc.

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

Interesting. Yeah, I still operate mostly under the cloak of anonymity- my closest friends know about my blogging/action figure collecting, but most my other acquaintances really don't. In essence, I operate like the superheroes I write about- with a secret identity. While that's part of the fun for me, your post made me think maybe there is more to it buried inside me.

Cross Planes said...

@Super-Duper, And it might not. I'm sure, most likely, that Geeks who merely embrace their fandom are mentally healthier, on average, than myself. But bullying still occurs too, y'know? And there is a ton of bullying and shaming in fandom still.

I work at a comics and game store, yet I started following the NFL to have things to talk to my neighbors about (it was that or watch the Big Bang Theory, which I despise). I'm still not comfortable talking D&D or the Flash without knowing the other party has an interest.

Unknown said...

People act like the older gamers are outsiders. It is perfectly fine to make fun of us and then act shocked when we retaliate.

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