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Why does PnP Gaming get a bad wrap?

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Hand Amputation

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« on: <09-09-10/1334:02> »


Saw a post in another thread and it got me to thinking..

Why does PnP Gaming get such a bad wrap?

I'm 29, I have a great full-time job, I have a fantastic girlfriend, and I am in a band, yet anytime I bring up Shadowrun or anything related to PnP gaming I get the whole 'raised-eyebrows-oh-you're-that-kind-of-guy' response. It irks me!

What's so wrong with a group of friends getting together once or twice a month, have a couple of beers, and roll some dice? The last PnP game I was involved in was a D&D 3.5 game of 6 including the DM. 3 of the 6 players were in the band with me and we had so much fun. MUCH better than sitting in some expensive smoky bar trying to talk over shitty loud music.

I'd like to hear your opinion on this issue.

Critias

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« Reply #1 on: <09-09-10/1341:27> »
It's not like this is, exactly, an unbiased group of people to ask a question like this to.

Why not pick some random website -- a car site, a bodybuilder site, a band's official forum? -- and go ask there, if you really want a straight answer?  All you're likely to get here is PnP-weighted rants about how small minded the rest of the world is, because you're asking a bunch of RPG fans a question about, well, RPGs.   ;D

FastJack

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« Reply #2 on: <09-09-10/1347:48> »
To understand why, you have to look at the Geek Hierachy (see attached chart). Now, in the 26 years since we Geeks/Nerds became popular (Thank you Anthony Edwards/Robert Carradine), we've come a long way. It used to be only the 1st level (Published Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors/Artists) could achieve any sort of popularity. But with computers & technology advances, the popularity of arcade games and comic book movies, we can now claim that 3rd Level (the step below Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit Fans) can be as popular as anyone else. However, if you find that you describe yourself more closely to any of the levels below the third, you'll still get eyebrows raised as you proclaim your fandom. Don't believe it? Star Trek was the 7th highest grossing movie of 2009, yet Trekkies are still seen as just below weirdos and a notch above freaks.

But have no fear, as we continue to take over society through the cunning use of shows like Big Bang Theory and actors like Wil Wheaton, we will surely move the scale of acceptance further down the hierarchy chart. (Until we hit Furries. Somethings will NEVER be accepted...;))

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Usda Beph

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« Reply #3 on: <09-09-10/1404:13> »
I see it this way. Thiose that are jeleous, ridicule. Look at the greatest minds in this world? Did they belong to James Dean? Paris Hilton? Lady Gaga? No. Great minds belong to thinkers Eistien, Gates, Hawkings. who live outside the "norm" or "Cool" or 'Status Quo". We gamers are like undiscovered versions of those "Outsiders". We don't follow the trends we think for ourselves and be damned with the Popular! I'm kinda lucky. I'm 6'2" 280ish mostly lean pounds. I am a personality to be reconned with. I am also a proud Geek who laughs in the face of those who cannot imagine. *looks down at daughter tugging my coat*

What's that?

I'm making a joke of myself?

It's even worse cause I'm still Typing?

Oh :-[ Sorry!
Yeah, I'm A Minotaur! You Gotta Beef with that?
I'm a Minotaur not a bully!
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Chaotic Insane

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« Reply #4 on: <09-09-10/1411:01> »
I always got funny looks when I had AP Books open with my D&D books at the library, as though the two things couldn't coincide. I've had exes (as all of them have been gamers) that people (jokingly or not) didn't believe had a girlfriend because he was a gamer. People at work look at me reeeeaaaaal funny whenever I mention cons. Up at the college it's really not that bad. MOST people there are at least console gamers, if not MMO players, or know people that are.

People who aren't gamers (and don't know any gamers) just have what they hear from other people. My friend went to a private religious school and they had a whole lecture on how evil and horrible and sinful D&D is and she just had to stand up and ask the pastor if he'd ever even SEEN a game being played because the portrayal was so laughably inaccurate as to what ACTUALLY happens (which in that group was really a whole lott'a nothing). Then you have the media showing the larpers that take it waaaay tooooo seriousss, or are just ill/unstable people that needed medical attention and unfortunately never got it from anyone. That makes so much better of a story than "yeah it's just a pack of friends meeting in someone's basement over pizza and mt. dew nerding it up for a few hours and having a good time." That doesn't stick in people's minds. The horrible stereotype does. They don't want to put a "normal" gamer on the news or in movies/TV. They want to put one up there that fits the role because people find it more entertaining. Just like you will NEVER see a "normal" neopagan/wiccan/druid/shamanist on TV because people WANT to see ones that look like walking halloween decorations or Hottopic billboards. It's not so much that they're close minded, that's just the way media and the human mind likes to work. Things have to fit in the paradigm. Just like we gamers are shocked when we see a "jock" rolling dice or a "cheerleader" with an airsoft rifle collection, 360, and a pet lizard.

And that geek hierarchy is so true. I stumbled upon it a while ago. I'm on every level of it save the furries, which is just a whole'nother can of worms.

And I love how dad posts here before I can finish. You're not home. I'm not tugging on your coat. I can, however, tug on your post which is above mine. *tugtug*
"People say I hate the living. It's not true. I just happen to see the potential inside all people; those great things anyone can do if they aren't trapped in their own consciousness and morals. And when I unlock that potential, death is the side-effect. I can't help that." - Dr. McMourning

FastJack

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« Reply #5 on: <09-09-10/1425:26> »
For some history on the stereotypes of gamers (right or wrong, most often wrong), I'd recommend starting your reading at The Escapist, then doing some searching of your own.

Key things to Google (touched on at The Escapist's site):
Gary Gygax on 60 Minutes
BADD/Patricia Pulling
Dark Dungeons by Jack Chick

Usda Beph

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« Reply #6 on: <09-09-10/1428:18> »
Psst. I dont need to read it...I lived it!
Yeah, I'm A Minotaur! You Gotta Beef with that?
I'm a Minotaur not a bully!
I studied at the Rocky Mountain Culinary School.I specialized in Seafood.
My Dad worked out of el Toro In New Mexico.

FastJack

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« Reply #7 on: <09-09-10/1445:28> »
Psst. I dont need to read it...I lived it!
I nearly did. The only thing that saved me from most of the BS was that my Mom was ultra-cool and there were literally NO other gamers where I grew up, so it was only reading material for me... Which is ironic, because you'd think the loner with D&D books would've scared people more.

Critias

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« Reply #8 on: <09-09-10/1445:39> »
I really don't think the "gamer stigma" is as linked to the whole devil worship/Chick Tracts nonsense as we like to sometimes believe.  We latch onto that stereotype as a way of -- after a fashion -- stereotyping Christians, and by extension stereotyping everyone that doesn't like us.  It's flattering to us to imagine that everyone that doesn't like gaming, doesn't like it because of how small-minded and bigoted they are, or how they believed a speaker at a seminar, or whatever.  It's crappy anti-gamer rhetoric and propaganda that we've "owned" by claiming it's reversal for ourselves;  we comfort and flatter ourselves by throwing the "shrieking right-winger" label on folks who don't like our hobby.

Likewise, it's pretty flattering for us to compare ourselves to Einstein.  It's pretty silly, too, though.  Individually, some gamers are certainly quite bright.  As a group, in fact, the average IQ at GenCon might be a little higher than the general public's average.  

The hard, ugly, truth, though, is that Einstein, Gates, and Hawkings did stuff with their intellect.  Yeah, they're all badass renegade supergenius types who think outside the box or whatever, but...well...they're using it.  They're sharing their genius, making lots of money off of it, changing the world.

We're not.  

We're rolling dice, playing with toy soldiers, and telling stories with our friends in a basement somewhere.

Yes, what we do is awesome and fun.  Yes, what we do requires creative thinking, team-building abilities, communication skills, imagination, quick wits, and all that good stuff.  Yes, as a community we're terribly, monstrously, imaginative and bright.  But -- and this sucks to say, trust me, but it's true -- ultimately, we're squandering it.  What we do isn't terribly productive, when you get right down to it, any moreso than Lady Gaga's latest song, or Brad Pitt's six-pack abs.  

To non-gamers, pen-and-paper RPG games just don't matter, and by extension neither do the people who play them.  When a game gets "mainstream" -- and look no further than WOW for an example of this -- you suddenly see people talking about Druids and Wizards and Fighters...people everywhere, commercials for it on tv, characters on popular primetime shows, mainstream soda bottles coming out in Horde and Alliance colors...  but that came from going mainstream.  That didn't happen after thirty years of sitting in our parents' basement and rolling dice.  It came from breaking the "gamer" mold, and going public.  Selling out, in a way.  I've got buddies that refuse to play WOW because of that.  It's some weird geek backlash stigma thing.  WOW's too popular, so they're like the kids that hate a band when it hits big;  it's not "indie" enough for them, so they stubbornly refuse to give it a shot.

People don't give gamers a bad rap.  Gamers give gamers a bad rap.

Chaotic Insane

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« Reply #9 on: <09-09-10/1500:50> »
I started disliking WoW when my friend's boyfriend started putting it far before her. Because, you know, telling her to quit calling him when she's upset about her 4 year old dog being put down because he's trying to raid is totally ok. As was quitting his job. And refusing to come hang out with us (and when he would we couldn't talk to him because he was PVPing). If he hadn't gone downhill so fast, I probably wouldn't have developed such a sneer when it gets brought up, but I would really really like my friend back and it's a personal sting.

I don't care that it's popular. I kinda like that's it's popular BECAUSE the general population talks about druids and wizards and fighters now. So much easier to make friends when you have something in common to talk about! Sure. If I had 15 bucks a month to blow and didn't work full time I'd think about picking it up. But I don't. So that's why I play DDO (free) and Guild Wars (no sub). I don't get people who do the "it's too popular" thing. I -WANT- to introduce as many people to fantasy gaming (console, computer, pen and paper, whatever) as possible. I WANT as many people to hear Emilie Autumn and Abney Park as possible. To watch Firefly and Serenity. Etc. Just like I want my friends to introduce me to as many of THEIR hobbies and interests and passions as possible.
"People say I hate the living. It's not true. I just happen to see the potential inside all people; those great things anyone can do if they aren't trapped in their own consciousness and morals. And when I unlock that potential, death is the side-effect. I can't help that." - Dr. McMourning

FastJack

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« Reply #10 on: <09-09-10/1504:35> »
I admit that the gamer stigma isn't entirely linked to the Satanism/Mazes & Monsters stuff, but it did send us a quite a few steps back and put us on the defensive for many, many years. And, yes, we do seem to be our own worst enemy at times, but even popular shows like Big Bang Theory (a show I LOVE by the way), do perpetuate the stereotype that we're an anti-social, chortling bunch of guys that don't know how to deal with women.

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« Reply #11 on: <09-09-10/1506:40> »
And, yes, we do seem to be our own worst enemy at times, but even popular shows like Big Bang Theory (a show I LOVE by the way), do perpetuate the stereotype that we're an anti-social, chortling bunch of guys that don't know how to deal with women.
It sucks when you're on the receiving end of it...but, well, would the stereotype exist if there wasn't a kernel of truth to it?

Look around at a GenCon, some time.  You'll see walking avatars of the gamer stereotype all over the place, y'know?

FastJack

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« Reply #12 on: <09-09-10/1514:04> »
Oh, yes. I agree. The first step in approving how everyone views a group is changing how that group appears. Hence why daily showers should be mandatory at GenCon and other conventions. ;)

Usda Beph

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« Reply #13 on: <09-09-10/1514:47> »
Quote
That didn't happen after thirty years of sitting in our parents' basement and rolling dice.  It came from breaking the "gamer" mold, and going public.  Selling out, in a way.  I've got buddies that refuse to play WOW because of that.  It's some weird geek backlash stigma thing.  WOW's too popular, so they're like the kids that hate a band when it hits big;  it's not "indie" enough for them, so they stubbornly refuse to give it a shot.

People don't give gamers a bad rap.  Gamers give gamers a bad rap.
BUT WoW is a Computer game, an on-line game. so because you have to use your caomputer to play it it is different from the original Pencil and paper played in our moms basement RPG. I don't dislike Warcraft. I don't play it because I'd probably play it so much I'd loose my job, house & family. It's why I don't DO online gaming. When I first got Final Fantasy 10 for X-mas. I played for 2 1/2 days straight! Sat on the couch and only got up to relieve myself and eat! I'm that kind of gamer.

I remember when I was in college for Criminal Justice classes, one of the teachers gave us a list of items we'd have after a crash on the moon. we had to rate them in most/least important to survival. I was the only one to have gotten them all in order according to NASA in the history of the teacher handing out the list. She asked how I did it.

"I play D&D."

The class laughed.

Teacher asked, "Why did that help?"

"First thing you do is equip your character to survive adventuring in a hostile surounding."

People stopped laughing when the teacher added that RPGing does help in preparing for those Unexpected senarios even if there are not monsters involved.
Yeah, I'm A Minotaur! You Gotta Beef with that?
I'm a Minotaur not a bully!
I studied at the Rocky Mountain Culinary School.I specialized in Seafood.
My Dad worked out of el Toro In New Mexico.

Usda Beph

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« Reply #14 on: <09-09-10/1516:37> »
I admit that the gamer stigma isn't entirely linked to the Satanism/Mazes & Monsters stuff, but it did send us a quite a few steps back and put us on the defensive for many, many years. And, yes, we do seem to be our own worst enemy at times, but even popular shows like Big Bang Theory (a show I LOVE by the way), do perpetuate the stereotype that we're an anti-social, chortling bunch of guys that don't know how to deal with women.
Married 24 years to a non gamer wife. We can and do get the girl. :-*
Yeah, I'm A Minotaur! You Gotta Beef with that?
I'm a Minotaur not a bully!
I studied at the Rocky Mountain Culinary School.I specialized in Seafood.
My Dad worked out of el Toro In New Mexico.