Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Society & Gaming

A recent podcast on gaming and stereotypes by the Fear The Boot guys (http://feartheboot.libsyn.com/) caused me to ponder mine and other gamers’ interactions with non-gamers. Do you hide your hobby from others? Are you somewhat embarrassed that you like killing ogres and you get excited over a “nat” 20? As you read over dinner, do you hide the cover of your Warhammer book from prying eyes?

I generally don’t discuss role-playing or war gaming with non-gamers, and although this could be due to the “geekiness” associated with the games, I believe I mainly don’t discuss them because I don’t think the people are interested. For example, I don’t talk techno-babble with non-computer guys neither. That is not to say that I don’t believe there is something of a stigma attached to gaming… I grew up in the ‘80s after all (when D&D was gonna cause us all to be homicidal killers, sell our souls to Satan, or both). However, I have the feeling that the stigma has fallen some over the last decade or so. Fantasy and science-fiction both seem to be viable main-stream topics for movies and books, and computer gaming (a cousin to table-top gaming if you ask me) is definitely on the rise (especially with the popularly of multiplayer games).

That being said about secular society and gaming, I think the stigma may be better than previously but still pretty bad in most Christian contexts. (I’ve not had much experience with other religions, but it seems like Christianity and its branches are the only religions that have a problem with table-top gaming.) I may be wrong about this; I haven’t participated in any open discussions at church about gaming. It is just a “feeling” I have… that may be based on all that crap from the ‘80s mentioned previously. However, I don’t seem to be the only one with that idea. A gamer friend and I attended the same church a few years ago, and although I was comfortable with discussing the latest gaming news with him before/after service, he was always shushing me and telling me that we could talk about it later. He always seemed amazed that I was willing to discuss gaming in front of other church members, but I’ve been a Christian for most of my life and the only problem I have with gaming is the amount of time I “waste” goofing off. That’s no more a sin than football or fishing or any other main-stream hobby, so I’m not going to be ashamed for that. (I’ve lived long enough and made enough poor decisions that I’ve got plenty of other things of which I am ashamed.)

Any other gamers care to share their thoughts/experiences?

1 comment:

Josh said...

I confess to a little bit of Gamer Shame. It creeps out periodically and makes me think that other people will look down on me for being a comic/gaming geek. Sigh.

The first step is admitting I have a problem - I know that. What comes next?