25 December 2015

Um Not Quite

""Gamer" is not an identity. "Star Wars fan" is not an identity. Those are just things that other people made that you like -- and right now, they're things that everybody likes."
--JF Sargent 

Close but no cigar.

If you mean video game player, computer game player or console game player by "gamer" then perhaps you're correct.

The thing is, the term gamer is a bit older than computers.  Older than computers not merely older than computer games.

I've been playing table-top role-playing games (TTRPG) since 1979.  The most computerized thing about it was a Texas Instruments calculator.  What was the state of the art video game then?  Asteroids?

But the main point is while the rules were made by someone else for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and Traveller; the worlds weren't.

I created the setting and populated that universe with my own creations.  I didn't have money for more than the core rules so I never bought all of the expansions or subscribed to magazines that would have let me use someone else's game world.

I didn't always use someone else's rules either.  I made stuff up out of whole cloth and we free-formed many games.  It was more fun that way much of the time.

Video gamers, while properly gamers, simply PLAYERS.

But there's more than just players, don't forget the gamemaster.

The company that writes a video game is the GM (DM for you D&D motherfuckers) and game publisher in one.  Books, comics and movies are the GM and the players in a single package.

On a table top, If I'm the GM, it's my world you're playing.  My creation.  My active contribution to the interactive fiction.

There's a reason that I was the GM nine times out of ten, and it's not because I was good at rolling dice.  It's not even that I'm more creative or imaginative than everyone else at the table.  It was because I was the person who was willing to risk putting their creation in front of others and let them attempt to break it; and break it in a manner that an author never has to experience (and authors often talk about the anxiety about first contact with someone who's just passively reading the work) because a player in a TTRPG is sitting across from you, giving instantaneous feedback.

They think of things you didn't anticipate.

They don't take interest in the things you planned on them being interested in.

They act independently of your will.

You've got to be on your toes.

I might be a nerd, but I was one of the makers, not just a consumer of someone else's imagination.

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