Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Be Excellent to each other
I am almost 29 years old. I've been playing boardgames and video games (starting with arcade games and the Atari) since I was a child, card games since 1994, 40k since 1996, and role-playing games since 2001. I've lived in four states (and played games in all of them), and been a part of four official gaming clubs. I currently run a club that has consisted of over 100 members at once, and has survived the transition from one store to another. I have been an official judge/tournament organizer for four companies spanning over a dozen different games, and I have hosted and played in several tournaments both local and regional-level. I've even helped playtest and develop several games, written hundreds of game reviews, as well as written my own content and even unofficially published them. I've gotten into many rules arguments, made several great friends, met a lot of nice people, lost a few friends, met some jerks, and had some extremely enjoyable and memorable games in the process. I contemplated opening my own store and got as far as completing a fully fleshed-out business plan and speaking with realtors. I even met my awesome amazing wife at a gaming store where she worked.
Needless to say I have a bit of experience being a "gamer". I have met a lot of different types of people and seen several different group dynamics in the process and have enjoyed every bit of it.
Why does any of this matter?
Well over the last few years I believe I've matured greatly as a gamer. I've learned a lot about the different aspects of the hobby retail industry as well as the processes behind them. I've learned a lot regarding peoples' reaction to game releases, updates, competition, casual play, and even a club and company's business decisions. Most importantly, I have watched people alienate new (and old) gamers because they are too caught up in their own enjoyment, interpretations, conceitedness, and old ways to keep an open mind, promote the hobbies that they enjoy, expand the player base, and generally be excellent to each other.
Now, I generally consider myself a nice guy. I try EXTREMELY hard to please everyone, be polite and courteous, and introduce myself to and be supportive of new players to any game I play. I may slip up here and there but I do try my hardest to ensure the constant growth of the gaming communities I'm a part of and be kind to new (and old) players.
This brings me to my point. I don't believe many people currently understand how important it is to create and maintain a positive and supportive gaming environment whether it's at their local game store, at school, at the library, online, or anywhere else gaming-related things might happen. Coincidentally the point of gaming is to have fun, and escape reality. Shocker, I know.
Too many times have I seen people harass other gamers due to how or what they play (or even how fast or slow), be clique-y, completely disrespectful, and often downright rude. It really is a shame that people decide to act that way in public, and even to their own "friends". It is very discouraging and new gamers will see that kind of behavior and not want anything to do with that group, and therein lies the problem. Without promoting and supporting a positive and friendly gaming environment, your player base will dwindle and you'll soon find yourself without opponents. Once you and your close friends have grown bored of the game you were most recently playing (or grown bored of playing each other), you'll look around and discover there's no one left to play with. This type of behavior is the death of gaming clubs and hobby retail stores, and honestly benefits no one.
So, lately I have been trying to curb my language and the tone of my online posts to be more supportive, positive, friendly, and tolerant. Does this mean I no longer feel it's appropriate to voice my opinion regarding things I don't like, such as specific models, certain rules, etc? Absolutely not, but that doesn't mean I need to spoil them for others, or be SO loud and boisterous on the issue that I start to make other people feel uncomfortable. If I don't like the look of say, the older 40k miniatures, I'm not going to constantly berate the sculpts or the quality and harass the person who owns them. I just wish other people felt the same way.
I sometimes wonder why I surround myself with the people that I do. Sometimes I don't have a choice in the matter but most of the time I do and I often wonder if I should say anything to those that lower the quality of life around me and others. Free speech and expressionism does not warrant douchebaggery or rudeness and it amazes me how clever people think they are when they make others around them feel like crap.