My first memory of gaming is falling asleep in bed as I watched my grandma beat Tetris on the NES.
I grew up in a household wherein gaming was a near daily occurrence. My mom had my sister and I playing Settlers of Catan as early as 2000 when I was just 8 years old. I’ve been obsessed with board games ever since, and the same goes for video games.
Naturally, I was always fascinated by the idea of tabletop roleplaying games, but I didn’t have the chance to play until 2009. That’s when I started my first Pathfinder campaign, and I was immediately hooked. The thrill of our group’s struggles, our failures, and our victories was addictive. I obsessed over my character’s stats and backstory, I roleplayed my little heart out, and from then on, there was no going back. I went on to play the same character type for every campaign after that – basically a heightened version of myself with badass magic powers – and as a teenager, it was the most thrilling form of self-expression I had at my disposal.
Since then, I’ve grown up quite a bit and found a new appreciation for gaming as a means of telling a story as a group, solving puzzles together, and getting to know people better. However, there is still a small part of me that simply enjoys that self-expression. At the heart of it, these games are a creative endeavor undertaken by a group of individuals who all want to articulate something. What we create together can be altogether different from what we set out to create as individuals, and that’s what makes it so special. That’s why I game.
Short answer: I’ve always been a daydreamer. I’m a sucker for drama. And dragons. And aliens.
Longer answer: Sometimes functioning in the “real world” is an exhausting blur of work, bills, dentist appointments, and other mundane tasks or obligations. Roleplaying games let me disappear into a different place and become a different person for a few hours. It doesn’t hurt that this person is often exceptionally magical with fantastical problems.
When I was in college these games would last for several hours – sometimes all night long. As I’ve grown up we had to slow it waaaaaaay down but I still make sure I always cut a little time out of my week to game. It’s imaginative, fun, and something that you and your friends get to create together. Gaming is a way of connecting us to our inner child. It always brings up fond memories of playing pretend with my sister when we were growing up. Playing games that lasted for hours and devolved into long arguments about what a witch could actually “realistically” do.
And let’s face it – the real reason is that it’s damn cathartic having the option to light your enemies on fire instead of making nice with them at parties. Amirite?