Gaming Helps...No, Really. It Does.
I have to jump on the bandwagon and pound a drum as well. In the same vein as our illustrious Alacrity's introductory article...
Hi. My name is Lance (Bromern Sal to you Innmates), and I'm a gaming addict.
Living in Utah, I've had to defend the gaming lifestyle a bit more than in some less conservative states. I can remember one friend who really wanted to game with us after hearing us retell our adventures standing outside the cafeteria at school. So, being good neighbors, we invited him along for the ride.
He'd never played so I rolled up his character (AD&D for those inquiring minds), and spent a while explaining the intricacies behind it (I'm a bit detail-oriented). Then, we called it a night and he went home excited for the next day's session. Only he never showed up.
So, we cornered him and demanded why he ditched us. As it turns out, his mother was absolutely against the "Devil's Game" and refused to let him play. We weren't shocked, but we were a bit disappointed. After all, who doesn't enjoy an excited new player?
A couple of weeks went by before he cornered us once more and let us know that his mother had relented provided we play one game at his house under her watchful eye. My friend Corey was nervous. He didn't like the idea of putting on a show. For some reason, I could care less about who I gamed in front of (I was the DM, a role I rarely turned over to someone else). So, we arranged the evening of play.
She sat and watched us for about fifteen minutes before determining that the game was harmless entertainment.
Now, as a parent, and as an artist and author for the industry, I often find myself in the same mode of defending the game to other adults (even my wife calls it "Playing house for adults"). What I tell them is that playing D&D (and other RPGs) helped teach me a number of skills that I use in everyday business and life management:
Computer skills (I eventually started creating all of my character sheets, maps, etc. on the computer using everyday office software, and computer graphics programs)
I don't know of a single sport, club, or academic resource that could have taught me all of that in one glorious pass.
So...LONG LIVE GAMING!
posted by Bromern Sal on 8/13/2020 at 08:09:52 PM
posted by Brianna on 9/10/2009 at 12:23:53 AM
Sometimes, I think I am the only person who married a gaming girl. So I have the distraction of my wife pushing me to game instead of not.
But I hear you on the stigma with D&D as in the 80-90's when I gamed, we had to hide out at a friends cottage during the winter (and it wasn't winterized) to get a good game session in. I wasn't allowed to play at home at all.
Good blog. Hope to see more.
posted by Alacrity on 9/10/2009 at 08:22:48 AM
My parents were always cool with the gaming, but my aunt did express her concern over this "game" that had been getting bad press.
Given that among our original crew we ended up with a lawyer, two computer consultants, a printing manager, an English professor, a stock broker and a salesperson, I think we turned out alright. (Sorry Mom, for being the salesperson...I'll try to do better with the grandkids)
posted by Vanadia on 9/11/2009 at 01:08:23 PM
My mates and I didn't really have much trouble getting into and playing the game. Since I was the DM and had the books, we played at our house. MY folks were very highly educated (not all that common in Finland of the 70's) and fluent in English so they could've taken a good look at the books with an objective eye and then decided whether it was ok to play the games or not. But they didn't. Instead they chose to let us play.
It may be that the posters of the 80's heavy metal bands covering up the walls in my room would've caused a reaction already, if my parents had been inclinded to give one. The bands were after all judged as devil worshippers of their time in the media, even in the far away land of Finland.
And yes, D&D did receive the same kind of response in the conservative (and dare I say, religious at that) circles in our country too. But perhaps we learned to be more open-hearted during the Russian rule or the first decades of freedom after it. Dunno, at least my parents did.
My father can be fairly strict at times and since he's gone through the last years of the big war and lived the poor times after it, his attitude towards "wasting" money is well... strict too. But since I bought the books with my own pocket money, he really had no objections. However he certainly would not have purchased them for me.
I've no idea whether my folks used to listen behind my door or not, but they never said a thing against the playing. Maybe they'd lost all hope of me becoming anything in the field of sports. After all I'd given up swimming a year or so before I got my first own game, which by the way was Runequest should anyone feel like knowing. But there was one thing that later "forced" us to move into other quarters (a friend's basement room) for playing...
Like said, dad had (and has) a fairly principle and rule -oriented way of handling life. He's not one of those people who need to yell to be heard, mind you, but on the contrary. Dad has always had a knack for making people feel stupid about themselves. I guess his mind was too sharp for us teenagers to compete with. He could always come around any defense we came up with. More often than not, our gaming sessions would come to an early end due to dad. He would come knocking on the door (after numerous hours of playing) and tell us to close the books, gather our dice and get outside. And we did. It was no use trying to argue...
It sure made me (and guess my friends too, since they still have vivid memories of my dad) angry, but I've been very thankful later. A couple of hours of playing outside - be it baseball (the Finnish version, not the foolish American one :P) or football or whatever - really can charge one's batteries far better than coffee (which I didn't drink at the time), candy or whatever. So after a decent doze of fresh air and some real food, we were good for another few hours of RPG.
But a bit like Alacrity's comment on Brom's blog, we too did some playing at our summer cottage 25 km (or 15 miles if you will) from Oulu by the river Kiiminki. That of course wasn't possible until the oldest one of us received his driving license (need to be 18 for that in Finland). But from there on going to the cabin - which had electricity and heating, but no running water - was all fun, very unlike the 6-7 years prior to that. And I guess mum and dad were secretly proud of me for going there or at least happy that I would use and enjoy the family hideaway again. (not that it was hidden anywhere, but in a small village of 50 or so houses and cottages)
Where was I? And how did I end up in here? Strange how one's mind runs... As for Brom's blog, I'll for sure sign the list in the end. But I'll have to add a couple items to it. Since my native tongue is not English, but naturally Finnish, I've had more trouble than most of you Innmates in learning things from the RPG books. One devious example was the spell-casting and magic rules of Runequest... Geesh they were hard to understand for us and I'm not sure we ever got them correct.
Never mind.. We skipped RQ fairly fast and moved into MERP and D&D, Ad&d, Palladium RPG, BattleTech, Traveller, Rolemaster, RIFTS, Stormbringer, Paranoia, Cthulhu, Star Wars RPG, Cyberpunk, GURPS, Harn, Top Secret, Vampire, Warhammer RPG, and so and so on... Not in that order and still missing more than a few I can't remember right now from the list.
But there I go again, straying from my path... What I was saying, was that playing RPG's has really given me a boost in the English language. Sure I'd had it in school from 3rd grade up and I'd listened (and read the lyrics of) to foreign LP's ever since I could read really, but RPG's and English novels certainly taught me much more than school ever could.
And another thing I've gotten from gaming is creativity of mind. (and perhaps even some drawing skills) People like Brom, who get the art from mother's milk ;), probably don't feel quite the same. But for me the games have really forced me to not only use my brain, but also to wing it. I've had to learn to come up with something new out of nothing and to do it convincingly. How well I've managed it, you'd have to ask my fellow players. But I'd like to think I haven't done too bad a job since they've stuck with me for all these years...
- Pekka aka Raven
posted by Raven on 9/14/2009 at 03:42:46 PM
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