Open Letter from an Old School Geek
(I wasn't going to post this... in fact I wrote it some time ago... but it has been on my mind a lot lately)
I have been playing video games in some form since I was three years’ old, and pen ‘n paper games for over 18 years. I have been in game circles whose number have spanned over 100, all playing the same game, in the same area, at the same time… I really used to love LARPs. I have also played games with new groups, and new people all over the country. The fact that I have to preface that is a little irritating, but I am used to it.
I have read the articles and op-ed’s, and blog posts asking the question… “why do some in the geek community seem to bully people around, since they most likely have been picked on in the past…” or some such. That question all gets me to answer, “where the hell have you been?”
While some of the things being attributed to the gaming community aren’t representative of true gamers, there is this attitude that, unfortunately, are a result of being the only one to be interested in D&D or any geeky subject and being ridiculed for it. So anyone saying something that they disagree with, harkens back to the fights and the bullying and they argue back (because now they are older and know how to keep themselves safe behind a keyboard or have learned Karate… lol).
Now, some of the things we get blamed for is an unfortunate by product of becoming mainstream. It is cool to be a geek, and most of the people who call themselves that now are late comers who think it is cool. To me, just cause you like comic books, or sci-fi movies, or anything along those lines that didn’t get you beat up as a kid, doesn’t make you a geek.
Jocks read comics. A lot of bullies I know like sci-fi. They played video games, mostly like Madden (sports) or racing games. Now they claim the geek community, and have pushed people like me to the fringes. You ask a majority of people what games do gamers play and they will describe frat boys sitting around the xbone playing football, or racing, or sometimes COD and FPS. Pen and paper gamers are looked at as jokes in most corners, and sometimes as “not true gamers”.
Ok, I ramble. There is so many things about this topic, and most of them irritate me. Back to the main topic I wanted to talk about. Since I can remember, gamers and geeks have always been argumentative between themselves. They have their own ideas about how things should go, or what is the proper way to do things. It isn’t new. When the internet was just random bulletin boards people would post on, they started arguing on there. It has been a constant in the 37 years that I have been on this earth.
If anyone thinks this is new, they either haven’t been paying attention, or have just got on the bandwagon. Am I saying that this is right? No, but it isn’t new, and it is aimed at everyone who disagrees. I have been on the receiving end of threats, abusive talk, hell there was even a failed attempt to swat me not long ago (which is why I like living in a small town… they call to make sure I wasn’t just making a movie).
I remember on 9/11 that a member of one of the groups I belonged to (where we met in person to game) decided to post some inflammatory posts on our online message board. It made a lot of people mad, and he was banned from the board, our group, and nobody dealt with him anymore. He still talked his crap, but we didn’t put up with it.
I am not saying that there aren’t assholes. There are, I just mentioned one. The jocks and frat boy types that have infiltrated and are, in my opinion, the main problem. The nature of the internet, has also has caused this problem. But the true gamers, aren’t being sexist, or racist, or anything but true to their interpretations of the source materials. Honest criticism being written off as any isms, just creates an atmosphere where nobody wants to participate.