March 4, 2014

Get Off My RPG Lawn!

I am 48 years old.
I have been playing rpgs since the late 70's. I am also part of a LARP (Live Action  Role-Play) and have been since the late 80's. The average age within the LARP is around 25 and that is only because we have a fairly high retention rate...but it still makes me far older than the majority of the players (often, I am the oldest person on site). I am constantly around far younger people who all like the same things I do; people who love the same things I do.

And part of me resents it.

I was doing all this far longer than you (and by 'you' I mean anyone younger than me). I was doing it before you were born. I was doing it years before you even knew it existed. I was doing it before it was "cool". I was a hipster of nerd/geekism. And you are trying to take all that away by liking the things I like.

I was playing D&D before you knew what an rpg was.
I was watching Doctor Who before there was a Christopher Eccleston or David Tenant.
I branched out and was playing non-D&D games before you knew what D&D was.
I was watching Star Trek before there was a Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
I was experimenting with new system mechanics such as Target Numbers while you were learning how to play D&D.
I was reading Tolkien in a first printing and realize that he invented the cliches.
I was focusing on story-telling and narratives while you were discovering there were other rpgs than D&D out there.

I was doing all this before you came along and started enjoying it.

Sometimes I feel like these young people are taking my memories and making their own, in their own way. Like, somehow it lessens what I have done before. That my niche activity is no longer a niche and now a part of society. Like, I am no longer special in my choice of activity. Which, of course, is silly. No one can infringe on another gamer. RPGs don't belong to any one generation of people, it belongs to everyone - that is a fundamental concept behind rpgs.

Honestly, I kinda like the fact that what I do is not as stigmatized as it once was. I like the fact a younger generation is enjoying the things I enjoy. Maybe I'm not behind the times; maybe the times are catching up to me.

But, remember, I still did it before you.


Tori Bergquist said...

I think of it like this: if we hadn't done it first and laid the groundwork, our culture might not have opened up like it did allowing the next generations to actually be able to enjoy this hobby the way they do now.

Herb Nowell said...

I know this is tangential to your point but the age thing (I'm a year longer) is why, when I moved here in 2010 I didn't check in with the local boffer groups despite loving boffer fighting.

I just didn't want to be the creepy old guy.