Monday, February 23, 2009

Various Geekery

(horrifying picture of me from high school with long hair, still wearing flannels)

I realized last night that I no longer have anyone to 'geek out' with.

Which was a new term to me actually. I didn't know that 'geeking out' was a type of verb.

I learn new things every day.

But I miss having someone to talk to about dorky things. I don't really have roleplaying / video game playing / dungeon and dragons type people in my life anymore.

In high school, those were basically the only people I knew. There were also a few science nerds, and a few english nerds, but most of us ran in the geeky crowd of 'gamers'.

I feel very out of touch with that world now.

And having someone to talk to about various geekery, if only for a little while, was definitely a bit of nostalgia and a bit of 'is that still who I am?'

I'm not sure, being so distanced from that part of myself, if I'm still interested in getting back into that world.

It's a fun place, usually peopled with incredibly odd-ball creative types.

It's also usually an incredibly immersive world, where most people spend all of their free time 'gaming' in some form or another. And I know that even though gaming is a type of creative endeavour, I wasn't drawing much or crafting much when I was a full on gamer.

I do like talking about it though, and reminiscing. But I doubt that I have the time or the energy to 'game' in any capacity anymore. Maybe a one off sometimes, but I think that's about it.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about...well I don't really know how to explain it to you.

I guess a modern example you might understand is the online community of people who play 'World of Warcraft'.

But in high school, we would sit (usually in someone's parents basement) in a rough circle, and eat snacks, and pretend we were all people in a fantasy world, or a gothic world, or a space opera type world. Playing things like Dungeons and Dragons. Here's the link to the wiki on that, but if you've never played a roleplaying game, I think it might just sound like jibberish to you.

I think anyone with experience playing 'tabletop' roleplaying games (as opposed to LARPing which I don't want to talk about, or video games) will tell you a different story about why they like it or want to do it.

For me I liked it because it had all the aspects of reading a really good book. But you were doing it with your friends. And you could control your own main character. The only games I liked were when there was clearly an over arcing plot, and not just a 'dungeon' or 'dragon' to defeat to gain 'experience points'.

Experience points always irritated me. I just wanted to know how the story was going to turn out.

I think in the end, after looking back at roleplaying, I would have probably been happier just telling stories to each other/with each other. Though admittedly the format of a 'game' was helpful. Ideally it kept the story interesting by adding chance over someone's ultimatum. Rolling dice was the equivalent of having a hand of fate or omniscient author type ruling over the storyline.

When you were really little, and played games like cops and robbers, and 'shot' each other with sticks as guns, there was very little recourse when someone said, "I shot you! You're dead!" You could say, "No! You missed!" or you could fall down dead, but it was really up to you. There was no one level of chance. It was really about your own mood.

The 'game' of dungeons and dragons meant that if someone claimed to have killed you, you at least got a roll of the dice to help you out. Maybe you would be dead, maybe you wouldn't be. But instead of you just arguing about it loudly, you just agreed to submit to the roll of dice. Or maybe a flip of the coin. Heads I'm dead, tails you missed. Etc.

I think it's pretty human to want to tell stories. And to share creative worlds.

And in the end I think that's why I miss roleplaying. Watching movies or tv is a very passive form of participating in the act of storytelling. And even reading a good book or seeing quality theatre is going along for someone else's ride. Someone else's idea of a good story.

When roleplaying in a group, you're all telling a collective story. And telling it in your own way, right now.

It's a sort of creative high that I miss.

And I know that in many ways I'm glorifying a time of my life that wasn't all that great, and certainly wasn't any sort of ultimate art form.

But I miss making up people and creatures and not just showing them to people, or embracing them from other peoples minds.

I miss actually interacting with them. I miss making them live and breathe and bringing them out of a dark subconscious into the world.


Cynjon said...

Ya know, I never got into the gaming thing....but I hung out with gamers constantly in my early high school years. They're definitely a fun, wacky bunch of people!

Diana said...

"For me I liked it because it had all the aspects of reading a really good book. But you were doing it with your friends." I liked it for almost the EXACT same reason, but I saw it more as writing than reading.

I've tried it since HS, but geekery is not the same everywhere. We were lucky we had such ridiculously brilliant, creative friends. So lucky.

Cheers to geeky Rose! But also to you now. I'll be in the states last week of July and first two of August. If you'll be DC-bound around that time let me know. I MIGHT go up to NYC as a tourist, but I don't know yet. I would like to see you.

Rosemoo said...

I miss you two Dian-nana!

You're right. It was more like story TELLING, with the writing aspect.

We did/still have such great friends. Though I'm out of touch with most of them.

I'd love to see you in the summer. Keep in touch!

Cris Melo, of said...

Finally find someone who writes blog posts as long as mine - and you may win over me. :D

Postmaster said...

I didn't find gamers to interact with until just out of college. And the group I was with tended to not tell each other the exact rules of the games so you could NOT play the rules, but had to actually roleplay.

Right now I want to do a similar group creation thing, but with puppets and improv. Gotta find where we're settling down first before I try and start up a group.

Rosemoo said...

Puppets and Improv sound like a great idea for roleplaying.

I took a puppetry class where we made puppets and did skits in college. And the rule was that we had to talk as though we were our puppets.

I don't remember if we made up that rule or if the professor did.

Anyway, it was a load of fun to have a roomful of puppets talking to one another and constantly improvising.

Ah, those were the days. I miss my puppets. They got lost in the great fire of el franciso fantastico.

Or they got lost, not sure which.