søndag 2. november 2008
Talking about games to non-gamers
We have all been there. A questioning parent, uncle or grandparent trying to find out what you do in your spare time. With great enthusiasm I try to share my exitement about an upcoming game, the latest develpement in my character or a planned drink-and-play evening. The reaction is mostly the same; a polite but worried smile.
Of all the things I share with family, talking about gaming is the only time I never get follow up questions. Even the times when I am able to rein in my enthusiasm and give short and brief accounts of my gaming existance.
Am I telling it wrong? Or is it just that boring to listen to?
One obvious answer is the lack of respect and understanding that still surrounds gaming as a activity, however is that all there is to it? Can it all be blamed on The Damn Fascists (tm)? I am trying to look at other possible answers to why noone seem to want to listen to the glorious virtual exploits of the gamer.
Perhaps it is boring. I am fully aware that I "went native" into (especially) the MMO community and still have a hard time differantiating between words that are and aren't explainable for people with no epics. And to be honest I have never really found the narrative of a single game session something of great estethic value. The times I enjoy talking about games, is when I am talking to people who play the same (or similar) games. A chance to explain and compare, where the small stories created within the game (like when you find that OH MY GOD AMAZING SWORD OF DEATH) are used as examples - not as stand alone account of events. Without that common background, it would make little sense and its entertainment value would be even lower.
Its a moment of self reflection when I realize that this probably works more then one way. I would have to agree that I dont ask follow up questions (unless I am in a extremely good mood) about my sisters new shoes. Neither about how things are going for my dads fotball team. Cause honestly, even though I love them to bits, I dont care. Them telling me feels like wasted time, like pollution of my brainwaves.
So perhaps I shouldnt be so surprised when they dont bounce up and down to hear more about my latest epic item, an upcoming con or where I am planning to take my character next.
Another part of me also want to keep it to myself. To let gaming preserve its somewhat mythical and unknown qualities. The more its described, populerized and publisized - the more magic disappears.
Perhaps its ok that people dont want to listen....
EDIT 11/11/08 :
A comment was made to me today during lunch about this topic: that the lack of followup questions, or show of interest - might simply be a lack of knowing. Cause its hard to ask about something you know nothing about. Noone likes looking like a fool, and if you barely know what computergames are - it can be hard to know what to ask about. The point is: This is not necessarely a lack of interest in the topic, or the experiences of a gamer. It can simply be that its so different from one's own known world that one doesnt know where to start.