A question came across my twitter feed today posted by the most excellent Katie to which I was able to give a simple reply
It has defined my life for over 30 years
— Mike Marshall (@OldManMyke) June 5, 2018
Now this may seem a flippant off the cuff response but it really is true and I guess to most people a little bit sad.
If I was to say that I had followed a particular football team for over 30 years, spent thousands on being involved and had a room in my house dedicated to it then I guess most people would think, yep perfectly normal, but gaming, thats for neckbeards who need to get out of their parents basement.
Bollocks of course but that is still the perception of the hobby in the mainstream.
Tell someone you are a gamer and the next question will probably be about Mario or Pokemon 🙂 Try and explain its tabletop gaming and it becomes ‘oh yeah I used to play with toy soldiers when I was a kid. Do you make bang bang noises?’ Think I am exaggerating? Well at Bonescon this year this very scenario played out between myself and a sales rep who happened to be at a conference at the same hotel. Even down to shouting across to his mates and saying ‘they’re GAYmers’ Very sad but unfortunately very very true*
Now thats not to say there isn’t some mainstream acceptance of the hobby – this article on the BBC shows that – but overwhelmingly the impression is something that is for kids, not a suitable hobby for grownups. It would seem we should all be playing golf or become MAMILs on a Sunday.
However for me thats all just noise. Gaming and the people around it have completely and utterly defined my life since I first played Car Wars on my next door neighbours dining table in 1981.
- I met my wife of 22 years on a night out with Games Workshop staff (no hiding the gaming from her!!!!)
- The people that I have known the longest I met though gaming. I’ve known both Dave and Conrad for nearly 25 years and still count them amongst my best friends. I’m not in touch with anyone from University but gaming buddies are always there for you.
- The thing that has made moving to where I live now survivable is the friends that I have made, people that you would be there for if they called you at 3am
- The hundreds of folks who I have met over the years that when you see them at a convention stop for a chat and a catch up, walking around an event like Salute is like a school reunion, so many people to say hi to.
- We bought the house that we live in purely so I could have a dedicated gaming room – have I mentioned how much I love my wife?
- I don’t go to a store without thinking, oh I could use that for this project or that project
You get the picture.
The upshot of this, celebrate being a gamer, don’t hide it, if someone asks you what you did at the weekend, don’t say, went out with mates, tell them you were refighting epic battles across the tabletop. Chances are one of the people you are talking to will be doing exactly the same thing.
*I had the last laugh though when he asked what I did for a living and I told him I was retired 🙂
Lets face it, I’m a complete geek, wargaming, xbox games and playing with lasers. I tried 3D printing but it made my head hurt. Flighty in the extreme, hobby projects last a couple of days before moving onto the next one