March 30, 2013
Why Am I A Gamer?
I am regularly surprised by how often I am asked this question in one form or another. Occasionally it comes from my fellow gamers, those who are just curious about what led me into this particular hobby. More often, it comes from people who just cannot seem to grasp what a bunch of grown men and women see in sitting around a table, telling odd stories about wizards, warriors, demons, and dragons while rolling a bunch of strange looking dice all over the place — as it is rarely just on a table. I have gotten this question from co-workers, friends, family, local religious leaders, girlfriends, the list goes on. For the longest time, I tried explaining what it was like to play games like Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, Anima: Beyond Fantasy, etc., but often this led nowhere. Eventually, I simplified the answer down to “because its fun,” but that doesn’t really do my hobby its proper justice. So, why do I game? Why am I a gamer? Here is why.
I am a gamer because I love storytelling. Through the medium of a role-playing game, I am able to give life to characters that, before, existed only in my mind. Through the setting, the rules of the game, and even my fellow gamers, I am able to see and experience a world, any world, through eyes not my own. I get to be my character, albeit only for a little while. During that time, though, I can be anything. I can be a cunning wizard who wields powers beyond imagining, working to save the world and those he holds dear from an ancient and terrible evil. I can be a renegade gunslinger, able to shoot down a dozen men in the blink of an eye. I can be a sly bard, able to turn the tide of battle with nothing more than a song. I can, literally, be anything I can possibly imagine, and there is something amazing in that.
Something just as amazing is watching my fellow gamers also become someone else, someone altogether different than who they are, and then to experience these other worlds with them. More than that, it lets me see not only who my friends are, but who they might like to be. It shows me what they idolize, what they fear. It lets me see them in a whole new way, just as I am letting them see me. Maybe they wish they could be smarter, stronger, more attractive, or more assertive. Maybe they would just like to see the world through different eyes. How different is it to be an elf, a troll, a clone, or maybe even just the opposite gender? Gaming can give you a glimpse into that world. Is that glimpse always accurate? No, not always. Can it make you think? Certainly. Does that sound like powerful stuff? It is. Believe me, it is.
So, why am I a gamer? That’s why.
Oh yeah, and because its fun.
Image Credit: amasterphotographer / Shutterstock