I magic missle your judgement!
Here’s a little secret: I’ve always wanted to try Dungeons and Dragons. Ever since middle school when my girlfriends and I would try to crash our older brother’s ‘Death Fest’ (an all night gaming extravoganza), I’ve had this secret fascination with it. But I managed to get through high school and college as a sorority girl/park ranger/earth muffin and never quite ‘got there’.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, I’m dating a gamer. Now, I’ve dated gamers before and one of the reasons I’m not dating them anymore is the fact that they were ‘too’ into it. As in, it took over their lives and they’d spend beautiful summer days in front of a computer playing WoW in 10 hour stretches. I couldn’t work with that. My current Partner in Crime kept his gaming past pretty well hidden for a while but when Gary Gygax died (aka St. Gygax and creator of D&D), he started slipping away for late night sessions. There was an enforced ‘No Girlfriends’ policy in the group though so eventhough I was curious and wanted to try, the door was shut.
Yeah, as if that would stop me. I organized my OWN game and it happened to fall at the end of Norwescon weekend. Perfect timing.
Norwescon is a conference for sci fi and fantasy junkies and there are workshops, dances, lazer tag, room parties, costumes, all that. Basically, imagine every single genre typically associated with geekdom and I can say to you with reasonable certainty that it was represented there. His gaming friends were going and once I got a look at the schedule, we cancelled our weekend plans and headed down to Sea-Tac. Here are some photos:
Here’s what I noticed:
Going to Norwescon for the first time was almost like experiencing Burning Man (on a smaller scale). There were people there who clearly had an insane passion for sci fi/fantasy and this was a chance for like minded folks to converge and go nuts. Sound familiar? At one of the room parties, I even heard a girl mention her ‘Con Boyfriend’.
I also think the whole community has a bad and slightly undeserved reputation. This stuff is actually really really fun and I’d totally prefer my kids playing D&D until late hours instead of drinking and doing all the other stupid things kids do at school dances, ya know? Not saying that it’s one or the other but I think that stuff is pretty harmless and actually provides a good catalyst for community building.
And when I was telling people that I was about to have a mega nerd adventure weekend, people came out of the woodwork and admitted to having played the game back in the day. People I NEVER would have expected. Which just goes to show that it’s got broad appeal.
And lastly, Eric brought up a good point last night: why is dressing up, role playing, and learning stats socially awkward and for losers in the context of gaming but not in the context of sports? You have office sanctioned March Madness brackets and all that and you’re seen as ‘more manly’ if you participate.
Anyway, I had a great weekend. Much bonding was done and I had my perspective changed ever so slightly.