Monday, March 14, 2011

Roll 2d10 to save vs. dork

Dungeons and Dragons.
Aah, the very words invoke wonderful visual images of mole-like, misshapen and vaguely humanoids with bad skin and worse hair.
No, I don’t mean any kind of demon, spawned of hell but the poor misguided souls who actually invested countless hours and cash into this role playing game.
Poor social skills, forgotten hygiene, bad fashion choices and a complete lack of a reality check are just the standard norms included here.
These twisted minds spend hours upon hours stuck in a room with other likeminded individuals and a few sheets of paper, a pencil, a bag of dice and some books.
And a HUGE honking imagination!
And we couldn’t be any happier.

Gosh I do recall the marathon sessions spent in my parents basement (I know, very cliché) anywhere from 2 to 5 of us surrounding a ping pong/pool table. Going into the game at 7pm on a Friday night and not finishing until oh we could go till 6am easy.
Well when I was in my teens there wasn’t really anything else to do, so time could be invested into a hobby such as this. Once I gained a wife my gaming slacked off to just 3 or 4 hours occasionally. Then once I had children it dropped off even more.
Oh the hours and hours spent solving puzzles, developing diplomatic skills and developing acting skills.
Why, I have been tough, shy, quiet, brash, menacing, Scottish and female (well not all at once!) 
We would spend hours as strategic generals using our talents to allocate meager resources, using what we had on hand to send our characters up against insurmountable odds. 
This game taught me well how to use my problem solving skills in abstract ways.
For instance: One time our party had to get across a completely frictionless room. My solution for this puzzle was to have the Mage cast a stone wall spell with nothing to anchor it to. Than the Ranger shot an arrow attached to a line across the room into the far wall. We all then pushed the wall down into the room and leapt aboard as we tobogganed across.One of my best inventive moments, not even close! Just the first that came to mind.
You just cant get free thinking like that from a video game.
Sure it has been proven that the youths today who invest their time in video games do achieve a faster reaction time. That’s a pretty good skill to have. But it is limited in its scope.
To play a game that makes full use of your logic and imagination though, not that is a game that can have far reaching skill development. So much can be learned in the game and then applied to the real world.

The game really got a really bad rap from those lost souls who sunk themselves into the game and refused to come back out. I remember being 14 or 15 and explaining to my mom that these people who killed themselves and blamed it on a game were already lost. They would have done the same thing no matter what their hobbies were. The game did not facilitate their descent into madness it just gave them a outlet. Blaming a game for their misfortune would be like blaming football for steroid use or blaming a song for secret messages. Boiling it all down it was still just a game and you can’t blame the game only the players.
Don’t just take my word for it, explore it for yourself. Go out to your local game shop (they are a dying breed in themselves) you should be able to find ads a group looking for more players. I have never met a group who didn’t accept new players in with open arms. You will find most of them friendly, accommodating and more than willing to share their knowledge with you.
Go on and sit down and play a few sessions with them. They certainly don’t have to be marathon sessions, just an hour or 2 out of your time. Most players won’t even mind just having someone tag along to watch.
Dip your toe into the RPG (role playing game) world.
Have a good time.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny because I have really been trying to push my boy into this instead of video games. Like I tell him: why pay someone to run down paths someone else created when you can forge your own?


Thrill me...dripsome brain droppings here.