Monday, September 8, 2014

Reclaiming "Gamer"

There has been a lot of negativity going on in gaming recently. There was the whole "diversity" of D&D being raised in the new rulebook, the "controversy" of those who had had input on 5th Edition, and more recently the "Gamer-Gate" in the video game industry.

Part of this started a few months ago, and was one of the reasons I started #RPGaDAY - to try to get people talking about their fondest memories and experiences in gaming, rather than fuelling the fires of hate.

Just yesterday, Greg Costikyan, who I've always considered to be one of the reasons why I never gave up writing RPGs, posted an entry on Gamasutra blasting the hatemongers, and seeking to reclaim the word Gamer. We should be able to say we're "gamers" without feeling like that's a negative thing.

Most of the games we play are a social experience, bringing people together. Greg started a group on Facebook called "Reclaiming 'Gamer'" and people have been joining in and spreading the word of how gaming has been a positive force in their lives.

Below, is my post to that group:


I am a gamer. I didn't have many friends at school, but I joined a gaming group that have become the strongest friends that remain true and loyal even after 35+ years.
I am a gamer. When I first left school all I wanted to do was to write roleplaying games. While I was classed as "unemployed" I would type on an old typewriter for hours every day to submit manuscripts to West End Games.
I am a gamer. My first regular job was drawing maps for the local council's nature conservation department. My boss gave me the job because at the interview and on my CV it said I played D&D. He knew this meant I could work in a team, think my way out of problems, and could read maps.
I am a gamer. When I relocated across the country to study at university I found like minded people who rekindled my love of RPGs, and there I met the person who would become my wife.
Gaming has been with me for as long as I can remember, it is part of who I am, and now I have realised the dream and have worked on a large number of games, most recently designing the official Doctor Who RPG for Cubicle 7.
The ethics of tabletop RPGs - working together as a team to achieve a goal - has become so ingrained in my psyche that, while I love video games, I quickly get bored of the standard macho guys shooting guys games and look for games where players work together (Rock Band possibly being my favourite of all time).
RPGs have given me the best friends I could hope for, and with ‪#‎RPGaDAY‬I tried to get people talking about the positive side of gaming, and was blown away by the response - a simple month of chatting about our fondest gaming memories spread far and wide, across the globe and accepted by everyone.
Gamer, to me, is a positive word and we shouldn't let become tarnished by a group of narrow minded idiots. Thankfully, I've been lucky and I've not encountered any of them, and everyone I've met in the roleplaying industry over the years have been amazing and supportive people, and I'm proud to be accepted as part of them.


People should think of games and smile. So here's a picture of our cat...

Stay multi-classy...

No comments: