5/08/2014

Published on 5/08/2014 Written by 4 comments

We Need More Casual Gamers

That headline may incite some backlash towards me, and you know what? I'm fine with it.  It is time to try to change some gamer's attitudes.  Unfortunately, the ones who really need to change will probably have already stopped reading.
This is stemming from a couple of incidents that have come up in recent weeks, like one about a t-shirt and a great reaction to it, and another about a comic book cover and the ridiculous reaction to the article written on it.  I won't go in to details about those ones, you can read them yourself if you haven't already. I won't even mention the disgusting rampant sexism they display, instead, I'm just going to tackle this at a general and gender neutral level.
I don't think anyone wants to touch him, casual or not...
Thanks to shows like The Big Bang Theory and Cosmos,  high profile tech people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, and the proliferation of comic book derived movies, being a geek, nerd, gamer, and/or technophile has become "cool".  Those of us that were shunned just a few years ago are now the people that many others want to emulate.  And I get why this can be annoying to some of us that had to put up with the abuse in the past.

But let's look at what makes us geeks: We love something.  Whether it's comics, video games, table top games, sci-fi books, or anything else, it's something we love.  Something we have dedicated a lot of time and resources to.  So why do we get so offended when someone else decides that this same topic interests them too?  Yes, this person may not be as "in to it" as you. So what?
Instead of belittling them, why not show them what they've been missing?  Use your own knowledge to expand their world instead of trying to drive them out of it.
Find where you are on the chart.. Then ignore it and go play a game.
I've had an interest in table top gaming ever since a group of friends began playing pretty regularly back in 2000.  After dropping off for a little bit when one of the main drivers of the group moved away, I've had a big resurgence in the last year or so.   My wife had never played anything other than Scrabble before she met me.  Did I ridicule her for it and go play without her?  No. (I know which side my bread is buttered on!).  Has she since become a big board game geek like me? Also no, BUT she does join in many of the games I play, and we get to hang out and have fun together. Plus when my group needs a 4th person for Settlers, we don't have to go hunting for someone to play with.
Not all of us can LARP to Felicia Day levels
 Wesley Crusher Wil Wheaton sums up what it is to be a geek very well here (the most relevant part starts at about 1:35).  So if that fangirl, that jock, or that casual gamer doesn't love what you love, or loves it in a different way or to a different degree than you do, don't exclude them.  Welcome them to the world they have been missing out on, show them around, and be happy there is now another person to share your interest with.
Last minute addition - I was going to wait to publish this, but it seemed even more relevant with this video having just come out.
Feel free to yell at me in the comments below.

4 comments:

  1. You keep mentioning me in all your posts. :-)

    I think hardcore nerds (for lack of a better term) want to scare casual people away because the involvement of new people takes away the one thing (the nerds) thought that made us special and different. Gaming/comics/collecting was OUR thing. We may have felt left out or awkward in other places and situations, but in our close-knit circles we were protected and safe.

    Now that those circles are rapidly expanding, we're suddenly exposed to a greater number of people than we're used to. Some of us really are not good at dealing with large groups of people or seeing other's points of view - that's what made us feel different in the first place. And some of use are not handling it well, as evidenced by those articles you pointed out.

    While I understand their position, I don't think it's the right reaction, though. The proliferation of "nerd culture" is not a bad thing. It makes cool stuff that was hard to find a few years ago much more accessible. While it may make a few people feel threatened, it makes many more feel like they have a larger, safer place in the world they can be a part of. If nothing else it gives us more people we can play games with, and will hopefully make us less embarrassed to have D&D books displayed publically on our shelves.

    Great post and hopefully it will generate some discussion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard not to mention you when you're a large part of why I play games in the first place...
      You're right that we nerds are not the best at meeting new people, but as tough as it is for me personally, I'd rather go through the discomfort and then have someone to play with. As for dealing with large groups of people: just look at ComicCon, FanExpo or any of the other conventions - We do just fine when it's all our type of people!

      Delete
  2. I really liked this post, so I added to my Best Reads of the Week series. I hope you don't mind.

    http://dyverscampaign.blogspot.com/2014/05/best-reads-of-week-may-3-9.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind at all. In fact, I'm honoured!

      Delete

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