Monday, September 30, 2013

See!

Without question, people did not take me seriously.

I would expect to hear voices shout, "Not me, I'll play this game forever!" Those who would say so, who would not give the matter the introspection it deserves, are either young, unimaginative or still living in their mother's basement. Gentle reader, be you 15 or 45, you CANNOT know what you will be doing ten years from now.

I do love this game. And I can say with some assuredness that I will be running it six months from now. But should something happen - should my circumstances change, should it come about that I obtain a different position or find success some other place than here, I recognize that I may have to give up playing this game, because it would be impractical to continue.

The example I gave my partner Tamara, over the weekend, was this: Suppose that someone who knows me encourages me to submit my resume for a position that they feel I would be suitable for. And suppose this position involved giving seminars, where information was imparted about the business I work for, to various people, including travelling ... the sort of thing that would be 10 days on and 4 days off.

Offered this sort of position, which is entirely possible, I can tell you that something I would not 'feel' like doing during those four days off was further presentation, ANY presentation, including D&D. Sorry, but that would be the facts of it. I might work on maps, I might write a post, I would probably write something fiction and out of fields, but I probably would mostly veg and get quiet time.

Why would I take such a job, if it involved the likelihood of killing D&D for me? Because I'm 49. I'm well aware, more than any other time of my life, that the time is coming when I will be overlooked where it comes to hiring. That is a reality. At 25 I could quit jobs on a whim and never worry about finding work in a day or two, for I was skilled and smart and able to make myself liked whenever it mattered. At 49, those things matter less, because I work for, and apply to, people who are younger than me. People who visibly flinch when I mention the 80s.

The gentle reader had better prepare for it. The brilliant self-employed people in technology and research I knew 20 years ago are struggling to keep their households together, for what was brilliant in 1993 doesn't meet the expectation quite so easily for them today. The business I spent fifteen years breaking into, journalism, crashed and burned five years ago just around the time I was making a good living at it.

The world changes. And its a gawddamn good thing the world changes. I am thrilled to be alive in this world, and not the world of 1981 - to begin with, there were no blogs in 1981. There was no possible way to get a consensus against whatever company-fostered D&D there was, no way to posit an alternative, no way to show thousands of people my maps, or chat about philosophy of gaming, etc. The laptop did not exist as a tool, nor did Excel (shit, in 81, even LOTUS didn't exist, which I learned on incidentally). Nor did every convenient tool for generation that we have now. Yay for change.

Change is relentless, however, and all those decrying the possibility that they would EVER quit playing D&D do so in the safe and secure belief that no one will EVER come up with a better, more astounding version of the game, as though DDO is automatically and without question the highest state of gaming that a computer can offer. That's the sort of dull bovine perception of change that I do expect of the unimaginative. The reader claims to be involved in a hobby requiring imagination and yet, somehow, THIS escapes you? Gad, what fools read this blog.

While the fan boys and gamers argue the moronic divisions between narration and simulation, people having nothing to do with this game are building the applications that will DESTROY this game, as you or as anyone knows it. Believe it. Prepare for it. Open your gawddamn eyes.

There are others coming along who will smack you right in your blind face if you don't.

6 comments:

cbakerson said...

This is a timely post for me, because I believe I'm right on the cusp of such a decision for myself when it comes to roleplaying. It might mean that I just give up running games and become a player full-time, at least for the foreseeable future. Or, it might involve me giving up the hobby again (I've left behind the gaming table in the past for long stretches of time...years, in fact).

A friend of mine recently reminded me that I shouldn't let what I like get in the way of what I love. Indeed. I like D&D, but I love my family and want to provide for them. I love my aspirations for bettering the world around me.

In the end, you've got to keep the priorities straight.

Nine-toes said...

Your argument cuts both ways. Just because you have a change that takes you away from the game for a time does not preclude another change that would enable you to pick it back up again at a future date. As I said in my previous post, though I've given up the game for the time being, I'm not ruling out playing it again if I ever have the chance.

Matt Judge said...

I was midway into an overlong reply to your earlier and then got interrupted by family stuff and abandoned it -- how appropriate!

I'll try again: I think it's entirely possible that I'd abandon gaming, just as it's possible I'd abandon my other love, music. All I ask from life is that I have at least one thing going on that meets the emotional need those pursuits do, something to get excited about, something that captures my imagination, something I can lose hours in.

However, at age 36 I can already foresee circumstances under which all toys must be put away, family being the most likely impetus. And yes, there's always the possibility of a layoff, a career ending health issue, an all-consuming legal problem. I have responsibilities, and likely will take on more, that would have to take precedence over my hobbies if they were jeopardized.

I also recognize there may be a time when there are no tabletop gamers left, or a time when tabletop games have taken a direction that I cannot enjoy. With the prospect of no one to play with, abandoning the game might be necessary in order to find a more fertile creative outlet.

Bottom line, the urge to game comes from a creative place inside me that could potentially find another, equally satisfying conduit. So I don't cling to the game or need it permanently for my identity. It's just a privilege I have, to be able to play it.

Dave said...

Oh, I took your question seriously... but maybe I was too loose with my definition of gaming? I played from 77 thru 84, then from 89 thru 93, then from 10 to the present, with several one-offs in the gaps. Did I ever "give up" my gaming? No, it was always there, ready to be picked up again. It was always there, in notes I took when I saw something that intrigued me, whether it was fiction or "real," when I thought to myself, "Damn, THAT would be cool in my game..."

I truly don't see anything changing that. Will there be future gaps? Sure. But taking a break due to current circumstances doesn't mean I'd ever give it up for good...

Dave said...

Oh, forgot one thought I had, regarding these statements: "people having nothing to do with this game are building the applications that will DESTROY this game, as you or as anyone knows it. Believe it. Prepare for it. Open your gawddamn eyes.

There are others coming along who will smack you right in your blind face if you don't."

I can get together with friends, as I did a week ago, pick up a deck of cards, and play a game of euchre. No new game or app will change that. D&D, like a deck of cards, will ALWAYS be there for me to pick up and play on the spot!

Alexis Smolensk said...

When D&D has the history euchre has ...