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If you’re reading this, chances are that table top gaming is one of your favourite pastimes, and that you are what society considers an adult. It’s also quite possible that at least once in your gaming life you caught a funny stare when you admitted to spending your personal time over what many consider a toy.
This is by far not the first time the way “regular people” look at gamers is explored. Dig long enough here on the Geek, and you’ll probably come up with stories of people forced to explain that they don’t wear elf ears to gaming nights (not that there’s anything wrong with wearing elf ears), or that a responsible adult would not consider game a worthy pastime unless they could make a few bucks winning. Still, most of those stories would be kind of old.
Gaming and “general geekery” is in a different place than it was five to eight years ago. Board games seem more widely recognized as an actual idea for a fun evening, as opposed to be the straw desperate parents clutch on a hopelessly rainy Sunday afternoon to somehow manage potentially destructive, boredom-induced tendencies of their offspring. Our non-gaming friends usually know what we do in our free time, and we’re not considered as weird as we were back in the day. Society, it seems, has accepted us as its fully functional members.
I bet that after reading the above paragraph, there is somebody there thinking about proving me wrong. Honestly, I would not be surprised. From what I see here in Poland, even though designer board games are available in chain bookstores and supermarkets, there are still people thinking that each of them is based on the idea of rolling a die and moving a pawn that many spaces, and – as a consequence – games are “only” toys.
So, perhaps something else has changed? Perhaps the fact that being a geek is no longer truly an insult, we ourselves are mellower when it comes to dealing with people who know all about our hobby having played only Monopoly, than we used to?
Finally I’m able to arrive at what I wanted to ask all along, but needed a few paragraphs to set the stage: does it really matter to you, how your pastime is perceived? Do you feel the need to prove that gaming is something people can treat seriously, as seriously as they treat more “adult” pastimes? If so, do you feel that your experience is somewhat lessened by other people looking down at the fun you have?