Friday, February 27, 2009

January Boston Globe Article on DnD

Something to mull over on a quiet Friday morning:

"The Never Ending Story"

While you can find gamers anywhere, here in Boston, mecca of college students and high-tech businesses, it seems the percentage of nerds to normals is definitely above average. There are a number of gaming stores in the greater Boston area and in Boston proper, and because of this nexus of geekery, the Boston Globe seems to run an article on D&D or gaming in general every couple of years.

I just found this particular article today, even though it was written in January. Overall it's a little dorky but good natured, although some of the quotes are a somewhat cringe-worthy, like this one:

From there, he spun off his own private group to meet regularly at his house. There, they eat candy and drink soda as they play surrounded by tomes of books and a large statue of a fire-breathing dragon that watches from a shelf.
Anyhow, I figured I'd share the article with you folks and see what you think. Good, bad, or just ugly? You be the judge!


Questing GM said...

There was a video that accompanied that article but can't seem to find a link. It should be somewhere in the Boston Globe website.

There's alot of Pathfinder endorsement in that one.

Blotz said...

"Some of these warriors started playing when they were teenagers in the 1980s and can't stop."

Hey man.... I can stop anytime I want to...

Samuel Van Der Wall said...

Any press that isn't overtly negative about gaming is good. I wish there were more articles written about the industry and its players.

Darkwing said...

The problem I have with it is that it still presents D&D gamers as a "fringe" group, seeking acceptance. The numbers of gamers these days means that this isn't necessary.

"[Gilsdorf] fondly reflects on those days and credits the game for...improving his verbal and team-building skills."

Playing a team sport or having a poker night with buddies will give you the same benefits, but no one "credits" those pastimes with improving various social skills. Why? Because it's obvious. Saying it here seems like he's trying to justify the value of D&D.

Later on in the article, Shamma is quoted as saying: "The Internet is the way you find players, because you are not going to randomly meet guys or gals out there who play". You aren't? I've played in multiple campaigns using multiple systems in high school, college, and grad school, and also larped. And I got involved in NONE of them via the internet--in each case I met other players face to face and got involved that way. If anything, THIS guy seems to lack the communication skills the other one brags about. The internet is a fantastic tool, but it's not the only one that works to meet new people.

D&D as a tabletop game is still a niche market, but with the rise of computer RPGs, LARPs, and greater media exposure of fantasy in general, the concept of the "gamer" has become mainstream.

Tabletop RPG players are going to remain marginalized nerds as long as they continue to view themselves as such, and feel the need to justify their existence to the "normals". Come out of the closet already! Stop saying that the game gives you valuable social and communication skills. Instead, USE those skills to express that you enjoy the game without being embarrassed and awkwardly trying to justify that enjoyment.