I’ve been thinking about gaming again quite a bit.
Anyway, here’s a little insight about how I became a tabletop gamer geek. I wrote this a while back, but it still holds true for me.
What Brought Me to the Table
I have been gaming since I was about thirteen years old. My friend Jason showed me a red box one day when I was at his house. He said he had read some of it and it sounded cool. It was the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Boxed Set. That little red box was awesome. I could play an elf that could swing a sword and cast magic spells. I could slay evil monsters and take their treasure. Oh, my imagination went nuts. So Jason and I took turns reading the two little books. We made some characters as outlined by the game rules, and we went through the tutorial adventure that was in one of the two books. After that, we got a couple more of our friends together and the rest was history.
At first, Jason ran the games as the dungeon master, but with more players involved and no “ego to bruise” and a desire to play a character over running the game, he decided to ask me if I would take over. He thought some of the ideas I had for the game were great, and he knew I was into it enough to work hard at making a good adventure for him and the rest. The other guys had no problem with that; they just wanted to play. This was cool, but I needed a red box of my own so I could work on my adventure ideas without borrowing Jason’s books all the time.
So I begged Mom to buy the red box for me. I showed her Jason’s red box and told her what it was for. Mom said okay to getting it for me; I found out later that she was just impressed with the fact that I wanted something that involved a lot of reading. We went to Checkered Flag (a local hobby store). When we got there, I quickly found out that there was much more to this Dungeons and Dragons thing than just the red box. Sitting there in front of me on the shelf among a bunch of other books and boxes with D&D logos on them were a blue box, an aqua-colored box, and a black box. Oh yeah, they had a few of the red boxes, too. The picture on the blue box was even cooler than the one on the red box. I went crazy. I begged my mom to get the blue box, too. She was not happy about spending the money on something she wasn’t sure I was going to play with for more than a week, but she gave in and I went home one up on Jason. I had the red box, AND I had the blue box, too.
I can remember almost puking in the car on the way home. I got motion sickness if I tried to read in a moving car. It didn’t slow me down much, though. When we got home, I was out of the car, in the house, and on the phone with Jason before my mom got the key out of the ignition. He came down with his red box after a couple of excruciating minutes – I told him I would wait to open the blue box until he got there…
Role-playing games… a gift to this world. RPG’s have had a major and positive impact on my life. Many years have passed since I picked up that red box. My collection of role-playing games has grown considerably. I’m still a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons. I have had some serious fun with D&D – with all of my RPG’s, in fact. I have made some great friends because of gaming. I’m also certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that gaming improved my reading and writing skills beyond the measure that my public school education could have done by itself.
The fun has been far more than just fun, though. Gaming has been an escape from the stresses of reality. I could leave work and go home – or to a buddy’s place, hook up with the group and whale on some orcs or some kind of horrific alien. Since I ran many of the games as game master – or dungeon master – I was the one dealing out the baddies and then “living” vicariously through the group as they had their characters crush, maim, and kill things. It was a hell of a way to take out the anger from a rough day at work.
It has been a creative outlet that I, personally, have needed. I’ve always had a good imagination. Gaming set that imagination free. As I said, I have been a DM or GM (dungeon master or game master) for most of the time I have been gaming. I’m the one who has had to make up the stories and adventures through which the players role-play their characters.
I also like to entertain people. I have no aspirations to be a big celebrity (but the paycheck would be nice). I have truly enjoyed making up the adventures, stories, and scenarios in which my gaming friends have played their characters. I have gotten to play the parts of “everybody else”. I have been able to be funny, mean, pitiful, and heroic; it’s been great. It’s a great feeling when the gamers around the table give praise to the DM for a good adventure. That is what brought me to the table…
I have been missing game night lately. It’s just I’m not sure about trying to start it up again. I really love iRacing, and that takes a considerable amount of my free time. I don’t want to give that up. Plus, I’ll admit, there is some trepidation about trying to bring a group back to the table. I think I may have unrealistic (no pun intended… much) expectations for what I want out of a gaming group now. It can be difficult to find a group of tabletop gamers that are like-minded and compatible with each other. We’re gamer geeks, and personality quirks, including a lack of maturity in some cases, is kinda par for the course.
I wouldn’t mind some outside perspective on this…