Mar 21, 2008
As a young adult on my own, the card and parlor games began to take over - Gin Rummy and Trivial Pursuit and some chess among friends. But game playing got shadowed by another endeavor, playing music and "being in a band."
Technology-based games first came with Simon and Merlin, and at home dad had one of the first console games that wasn't Pong, the Bally Arcade, which we played Football endlessly. Video arcades were big when you had a pocketful of quarters.
Dad and I even wrote a machine language game on the TRS-80 which we tried to market, but the transfer medium was cassette tape and we lacked advertising dollars - it was a sort of Pac-Man ripoff called Spooks.
Since then I've had Nintendos, Playstations and later Xboxes, handhelds and PC and Mac-based games. All before the rise of the virtual gaming idea, the MMORPGs. Inexorably, the stick figure became the avatar
My first big RPG was the text-based Gemstone and Gemstone III which was role-playing with text, really. You could do what you imagined by the text-engine of the game and you could say what you wanted as a response. It was a fantastic world that brought together the elements of the idea of the interactive novel and D&D. The players were self-policing as far as In-character play and the acronym OOC (Out Of Character) was frowned upon heavily to promote true role playing (the R & P of RPG). I've played uncharacteristically angry women characters, characters with strong preferences other than my own with a history to justify it and even deaf-mute characters.
I have also played the avatar-centric RPGs of today, the online first-person-shooters based on war (Medal of Honor, Tom Clancy series stuff), and the MMORPGs (WoW, Runescape) and some sim-like games (Second Life, The Sims) and have found that roleplaying now involves more playing how you-the-player would react to given situations rather than playing a character who might be different from you. There almost isn't OOC play because few of the games I've been involved with promote developing an individual. And frequently, I'm the oldest player around (54 years old versus an average of 14)
Virtual play is still play, but it's strange how the nature of it has evolved and folded over itself. Many games seem to take the place of social interaction for many youngsters. They become Master Mages and have a second or third life of virtuality. I'm not sure I had a conclusion here, but it's a subject I'll come back to.