There have always been a few misconceptions surrounding table top gaming culture. A few have passed with time but others seem to stick around. I’d also like to call your attention to the movie star dude in the picture. Big time RPG player there.
1. Gamers are obsessed with numbers, statistics and ‘facts’ to the point of missing out on real life.
Which, on the face of it seems very geeky and horrible to the average non-gamer. Until you look at any fan of any major sport. They’ve digested years worth of statistics, pour over charts, get into fisticufs over fantasy leagues and paint their faces up in multi-colored streaks. Sure, not all sports fans behave this way. Neither do all gamers dress as wizards or fighters and argue for hours over who has a better offence/defence ratio, a palladin or a knight? Most of us look just like everyone else, whether we’re football fanatics or gaming fanatics.
The truth is, every group has its outliers. There are oddball HVAC repair nuts and bizarro accountants as well. It’s often not best to judge a group by the vocal minority. It may be true that in the past the vocal majority of gamers were seen as on the fringes of society but that is no longer true. Lots of normal people who have kids, jobs and a social life also enjoy playing games.
2. Games are for kids and you’re an adult which is just plain silly – go do something meaningful with your life!
Yes, kids play games. Adults do as well. There are many games that are far to challenging for folks under a certain age to master. There’s a huge culture of gaming for adults which is picking up traction in the US and already has traction in lots of other places. There is a real shift in culture when it comes to gaming as adults which includes gaming with the family. Whether its Monopoly or Carcassone, games are a great way to bring people together in a social setting, stretch your intellectual muscles a bit and have fun. As a hobby games are great. As an obsession, well nothing is great if you let it devour your life.
3. Ha ha! You unwashed nerds will never touch a woman!
This comment, which I’ve heard a lot in passing over the past few years immediately makes me think of all those women who play games. I can picture them unable to complete the easiest of tasks because they can’t brush their hair or apply contact lenses. No touching! This then makes me think of Pratchett’s “gifted hydrophobes” . Those folks who detest water so much they are able to fly above it on large lenses carrying people or cargo.
The often true stereotypical mid-80’s gamer geek guy has grown up. He’s no longer a 15 year old kid, he’s gotten past those awkward years as a teen and learned how to interact with other people, even people of the opposite sex.
In many cases he’s married, has kids and continues to game. Add to that the fact that there are a good number of women also interested in the hobby who actively game and this point becomes moot. It’s an old hat, generic insult that no longer carries any weight. If you really want to insult us talk about how little sun we’re getting. Except, isn’t that a good thing now? So take your vitamin D supplements, walk around your misconceptions and come join us for a rousing game. You’ll probably enjoy yourself.
[tags]rpgs, table top games, geeks, ben’s corner[/tags]