I've recently come back into contact with some of the folks from my college sci-fi club, folks with whom I gamed for several years. Hearing about what they are gaming really reminds me of how much my style of doing things has changed since I departed my hometown some six years ago. Back then, my gaming was all about characterization and the telling of fictional stories with lots of narrative and layers. Now, my gaming is predominately about exploring a fictional world and doing whatever you want in said world.
I remember a Mage game with this particular crew, and it was full of pathos and catharsis and all sorts of narrative stuff like that... and I'm not sure I'd even be into that type of thing anymore, although the Shadowrun game I am currently playing in does have a lot of characterization and what I guess you would call "immersion." I know that I've thought a lot more about the life, background, and personality of Count Hackula than I have about any character since perhaps my wife's last World of Darkness game (which she ran in 2008.)
It will be interesting to see where 2011 takes me, gaming-wise. I wonder if my two play styles are really as mutually exclusive as I have convinced myself.