Gamers, as a whole, can be a loathsome lot. (Much like the rest of humanity, you might say....if you're a cynic...) First off, I'm not a 'serious' gamer. I see it as an excuse to get together with folks of a like mind, and over junk food and good times, tell a good story, and maybe stage a little combat on a hex-map, involving miniatures and a nifty prop or two. I can comfortably skip a week of gaming, and go to a movie, play cards or do some other social thing instead. I'm not hard-core.
That said, let me break down 'the gamers that bug me'.
1. They wrecked Monty Python for me. (And almost, the princess bride) Pure and simple. I'd never seen holy grail. I'd heard every pesky, probably originally witty line of the film a dozen dozen (that's 144 for you counting at home. a gross) times before ever seeing it on film. the result? Something that's supposedly very funny is reflected on by me as passable, but no great shakes. Honestly, I think Life of Brian is a far better film.
2. There's no question that there's a sort of "dork aura" that surrounds some gamers and turns them into spasming little social retards. We've all had the occasional discussion about why this is, exactly, and what causes it. I don't think you can fully codify it, though. It's more like there's a whole bunch of different personality traits, no single one of which is necessarily offensive on its own, but in certain combinations they cause this regression into infantilism.
3. Personal hygiene. Bathe Regularly, please?
Memories of con folk -
I run into my first Smelly in the dealers' room today. He lumbers around the corner as I'm passing the WotC castle - morbidly obese, covered with a slick of sweat, an expression on his face like he's just suffered a massive head injury and is now watching the great unknown come to him out of the lighted tunnel. One second after I pass him, his wake hits me, and I literally retch. Right there in the middle of a crowd of people, I lean against the wall and make a horrible face. It was embarrassing but completely unintentional - I just couldn't help it.
Poor hygiene is the perennial Con joke, of course - How do you get a bunch of gamers to agree on something? Threaten them with soap. But actually I've been pleasantly surprised at the nonodorous nature of the crowds. This guy made up for all I'd missed. Someone like that can't be explained away by mere social ineptitude; I would not be surprised to learn that Mr. Stinky is to some degree or another mentally ill. You just can't get like that without some fundamental disconnect between yourself and the rest of the world. I've hung out with homeless people who smelled better than that.
I've gamed with some folk that really had a sickening funk about them. it was so bad, I used it as a valid reason to quit, and later, to check to see if I was to enter a new group... If I can smell a person's reek, I'd just as soon go home and read a nice book inside my own fragrance, thanks.
4. Rules Lawyers. I don't mean people who can quote rules from the air, or take time to look 'em up. Those folks are generally very helpful. I'm referring to folks that dance and debate around a rule-set to make an event go their way. (and usually go another way in a similar situation for the enemy). That's not fun, that's just annoying.
5. Folks who take the whole thing Waaaaay too seriously. I've had players in my group *Flip out*upon finding out that someone else's character had died.
Ok, Time out. another description for Role-playing games is 'cooperative storytelling'. It's a story. That's it. I can understand enjoying a role... but come on. Do you threaten breakdown when a character in your favorite book dies? It's a valid plot point... see Romeo & juliet, or countless other tales of folks dying heroically or romantically. This is a game. The weirdest thing to me about this is they often also fall into a very strong reality haze. see the following.
6. (almost 5b) Folks who Identify maybe a little *too* much with the role. Ok, Now some folks are method actors. I'm not. These are the folks that allow personal reality to slip focus, to varying degrees of badness.
Example - If you're a graceless, nonathletic fumblethumbs afraid of butterflies... (gosh, I'm glad she doesn't read this journal), it's perfectly natural to want to play a pantherlike, limber, master thief and assassin (as another side note... why do girls *love* to play master thieves and assassins so much? Dang!) Coming to the game dressed as the part... well, for me, since it's not a larp, I think it's interesting, but a little weird. Same person plays the same sort of character for a long time in assorted games....and starts buying her own presskit. No... I'm sorry, young lady. (At the time, I think she was 33? Well older than my 27) . You're not a ninja/master of sorcery/acrobat. you play one in a game. Bragging that you can fade into another reality space doesn't make you cool... it makes you at the least... Comical. at the worst, delusional.
even my buddy Dan is not exempt from this... although I prefer to hope that he did it as a joke rather than something else... Crossing the street holding his arms up to stop cars, and exclaiming "Nothing an stop MAN OF IRON!!!" Always gave me the heebie-geebies. I rarely chastised him for it at the time, because the once or twice that I did seemed to amuse him, and egg him on more. (I know he reads my journal here sometimes...I wonder what he'll say to me about my bringing it up )
What do you folks think? What do you especially like/dislike about gaming? Can someone explain to me why the reality and socially impaired gravitate to the hobby, and cause so much bad press and bad playtime for the rest of us?