Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gamer Xenophobia

Let's talk about xenophobia, because that's a fun topic. I'm talking about gamer xenophobia in general.

As J-to the Mizzal once said, "there are some really crazy people in this hobby." Frankly, I think he was being quite diplomatic in his assessment.

I have met my share of unhygienic gamers. I have met crazy muthafuckas who sit down at the convention table and immediately want to start talking about how much they love knives, or how their next Deadlands character will be a guy "like, but not exactly like, The Guyver." One of them showed me a video of him mutilating stuffed animals with a firearm. One of them offered to translate what my cat was saying, and changed subjects in conversation approximately every two and a half seconds. You get the idea. It seems that the past few years, for every interesting or intelligent gamer I meet, I have to wade through five knife-tards and a guy with wet palms who stalks my wife by email.

I get kind of xenophobic about new gamers.

I consider my current Sunday group an enormous Karmic payback. As you may recall, the group actually didn't start out very well for me; I was ready to bail on our doucheboat of a GM until we had La Revolucion and booted his ass. Since then, the group has attracted some very fun gamers to play with. I look forward to playing with this crowd every Sunday. Shit, even the guy who makes generally problematic characters is just plain awesome to share table space with.

Then, out of the blue, a new guy contacts our host by email and requests to join the group.

My immediate response is to run silent, run deep. Seal the borders. Raise the drawbridge. No hablo ingles.

Ah, but what about the other guys? They were all new at one point or another... and so was I.
Yes, but it was our second GM, the one who spearheaded La Revolucion, that gave them a chance.

...but now, we rotate who the GM is. The decision-making in this group is a lot more democratic now.

If US political discourse has taught me anything in the last ten years, it means I need to demonize anyone who agrees with me and prey upon the latent fears of my Sunday group. (At least four of whom are likely to read this blog entry- zing!)

I do realize that this entry probably makes me come off as a raging asshole, and perhaps I am. At the very least, this is a private group and inclusion is entirely at our discretion, as opposed to being stuck next to knife-tard at a convention game. (Or having him show up at the table for the convention game you're running!)

Gentle readers, what say you about the subject? Is gamer xenophobia at all justified? Am I just being a snob?

**word for word quote... guy ambushed me at the place I was working back then, so there was no escape...


  1. as one of the gaming bruthas, I do agree with the gentleman from Lincoln. It seems like live, InYoFace gaming is getting rarer and rarer and at conventions I see why. Reality really Can be stranger than fiction,,,,

    off topic a bit.
    Zombies take over the world scenario:
    most folks think: I'm dead
    RPG'ers think: I'm gonna need more ammo

  2. Hahaha, yeah, I have never actually attended a gaming convention or really hung out in gaming stores because I'm afraid of the misanthropes. I know on the one hand I've probably missed out on some great experiences and a chance to interact with some cool fellow gamers; but I liked my cloistered beer and pretzles crowd with whom I hung out with in social setting outside my dining room table.

  3. I do a lot of public gaming. Usually I'll try and find a way to say something about someones behavior. I've been in public games that have kicked people out. I wouldn't want to game with a group that couldn't or wouldn't ask people to clean up their act or exit. I think the store needs to support the gamers and not allow for any shenanigans. A stores support helps a ton. So no, don't put up with any crap. I sympathize with your paranoia.

    However, I think that folks deserve a chance. I'm not sure what form that would take, maybe meeting and gaming with them outside of the normal game? Either way, let them know up front that the group will uninvite.

  4. I am often put in situations that make me believe that my gaming group contains the only gamers that either regularly bathe, talk to women, aren't sociopaths, and are relatively sane in all other regards. Conventions CAN be fun, but can also be scary with all the fucking weirdos (when did black duster coats, giant fucking hats, and body odor more pungent than Sasquatch become stylish and cool?).
    However, the worst experience I've had with a gamer was at a game store. I was scouring the internet for gamers in my area (wanting to inject new blood into the group) and found a dude who played 3.5 at a nearby store. A buddy (who was very apprehensive) and I went to the shop to meet the dude and make characters for the game that was going on that day; neither of us had ever played 3.5 before). The dude turned out to be a kid who was 18, but looked 14, with a really bad case of ADD. He owned NO books; but had every single D20 book EVER PRINTED on his "Macbook" (he was VERY quick to point out his awesome Macbook and how awesome its awesome-ness is). So, the two of us had to make characters for a game that neither of us had ever played before off of one laptop.
    So my buddy wanted to be a dwarf wizard, but somehow became a fire-elf bard, and I wanted to be a gnome fighter, but ended up as a fire elf wizard. That's kind of strange right? Guess who LOVES fucking fire elves? Oh, also, I was there for 5 FUCKING HOURS and never finished my character, or played in a game. My buddy left me stranded because he got so pissed off. I was stuck with this self-absorbed idiot with a fetish for elves. I hate elves.
    Mother fucker continued to call me for weeks afterward trying to get me to come back. Not only will I avoid that store like the plague from now on, I will also not attempt play 3.5 ever again, and am very iffy about trying out new people.