I recently turned 31, and it’s been an interesting 31 years. Let’s see how my love of geekdome has changed over the years…..
Prioritizing Video Games
One of the hard parts of growing up is finding time. I’ve become an adult, and it’s boring. No not the parts of life where you become more responsible for everything, or the part where I’m a semi-successful researcher. But, the part where you have to prioritize your time. There just isn’t time to sit and play every game that comes on the market. Heck, there isn’t time to play all the games I have! I’ve come see all the new games on the market as very repetitive. Call of Duty whatever and Battlefield just seem like two sides of the same coin. It’s too boring for me to play the same game every year. If you want to get my attention, you have to innovate or tell me an excellent story. I LOVED Bioshock Infinite. Sure it was a pretty middle of the road shooter, but man, that story kept me glued to my seat. I’ve been sitting on Black Ops 1 for the longest time, and honestly, I don’t plan to start playing that any time soon. Bravely Default? Yep, playing that right now before I go to bed each night. It’s now story or innovation.
RPGs > Board Games > Video Games
Now this next one is hard to explain. It’s like choosing between my children! But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found I love video games less and less. Oh, I still play, and when I get hooked, I’ll do the standard geek thing and play 20 hours straight. But, if I’m given time, I tend to spend it doing RPGs over anything else. Then, it’s board games, and finally, video games. I guess it has to do with how I interact with others. I see RPGs and board games as having a high degree of social interaction, but video games just don’t have the same level. I know some strong friendships and relationships are forged online. However, for me, it’s all about seeing the other person and talking about the game or even life in general. I have a quote on my library wall “The best memories are made around the table”, and I hold that to heart.
Time > Money
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to earn more money. 10 year old me would be thrilled by being able to pick up any game (board, tabletop, and video) that I want the day it comes out. Now, I’ve got house payments and bills, but even after all that, I’ve still got a bit of disposable income. However, what 10 year old me had in spades was free time. 31 year old me has to go to work and spends his time organizing other things. 31 year old Ed just doesn’t have all the free time. I’ve got stacks of video games, board games, RPGs, movies, comics, and a full steam library that I don’t have time to read, play, or do! No matter how much I earn, I can’t earn time! It’s taken a long time to learn this, but I understand why so many people drop out of the hobby. I mean, heck, I don’t even have kids, and I don’t have time!
I used to try to just get three other guys (and I mean guys!) together and start a home game. We would meet in our secret area and just play by ourselves. I’ve come to see that that’s not what I want any more. I consider myself a geekvangalist-I want to spread my love of various geek cultures to as many people as I can. I’m not pushy, but I try to get new people to try what I love. Or better yet, try anything geeky. I want as many people to play as possible. Geek is chic now, but most people don’t know where to begin. I want to be one of the people who introduce people where to start and give them a description of what’s out there.
Story > Mechanics
I now see that the mechanics of the game are much less important than the stories the system tells. I used to love carrying over 20 3.x books around to whatever convention I was running games at to make sure that everybody knows how to play. I love knowing minute details about each system and debating how the mechanics of action X were wrong. I am done with that now. I just don’t care about the small details anymore. I’m tired of fiddly bits on a system. I want a nice and trim system to carry my games. I am still a card carrying member of the cult of the new. I buy way too many things that I might never be able to get too. But, I don’t want to spend an hour of my Saturday night debating if a goblin could grab me based on it being half underwater when it did so. When a system is just too rules heavy, I see the system as bloated. Give me some nice, simple trip rules, and I’ll be happy.
I didn’t start being a major geek until I was in grad school. Yes, I did play video games in high school, but I didn’t start board games and RPGs till late college. Before, I just considered them a fun distraction. But now, I consider them a part of my life goals. I would like to write for a major company and add to their product line. Now, this isn’t a goal of being complete freelancer, but I would like to have some hand in some of the games I love. These things have given me many hours of joy, so I would like to give back to my community.
That’s where I am today. It’s been a fun ride getting older as a gamer. I’ve made some great friends who I see only one a year at GenCon. Heck, I even met my wife on Yahoo Personals because she said she love DnD. I plan to keep being a gamer, a dork, and a geek. Can’t wait to see what happens next!