Friday, April 29, 2022

Old Man Yells At Clouds

 I have not started a new game yet. 

I'd like to, but I find that I just do not enjoy running games on Discord. I just don't. I've run several now, different systems with a variety of peripherals, and the experience leaves me wanting. It's like burning a blueberry muffin-scented candle in lieu of eating an actual blueberry muffin. 

I enjoyed my online Ravenloft/Masque of the Red Death game I ran online back in 2014-ish. I also didn't mind having one player play remotely via Skype when I ran AD&D 1st edition back in 2009. (The player moved away mid-campaign.) So why has my taste soured so? Perhaps Covid has just left me utterly sick of online interaction. Perhaps I've just had worse luck with these last few online outings- someone always has mic or connection troubles, multitasking runs rampant, the game stalls out as I try desperately to draw a hexagonal chamber on Jam Board, whatever. 

The bottom line is: I have reached the point where I think I'd rather just not game than game via Discord. 

That leaves a related problem: I don't want to game at conventions. Masks are optional now. I have asthma. I have diabetes. I'm recovering from and honest-to-fuck stroke. Yes, I'm vaccinated and I have the booster, but I'm in a high risk category, and I frankly do not trust people to be safe. People are dumb as shit, my friends. I'm not going to KantCon this year, or DemiCon, or Midwest Game Fest. (Which I might have actually missed already, I just don't care enough to check.) 

There are a few game stores nearby with small tables, social distancing, and masks. Unfortunately, they are all tables being run by someone else, and I am a forever DM. I just don't like running player characters in other people's games. 

As for home games... most of my local gaming friends would rather play via Discord. One has very young children who can't be vaccinated yet., so he avoids in-person gatherings. One lives fifty miles away and can't swing the extra time and gas. One doesn't have a car and lives all the way across town. One has like five kids and zero free time away from the house. Etc, etc, etc. One of my friends last night told me that face to face gaming is outdated and a thing of the past, and she suggested I need to just realize that it's time to let it go and embrace Discord/Roll20/whatever. For the record, I don't believe that's true, yet, but I can also see it happening. 

So what do I do? Box up all my books and sell them at Half Price Books or on Ebay or Noble Knight or something like that? Resign myself to playing remakes/reissues of JRPGs on my Switch? Continue playing Bard's Tale 2 until I put my face through my computer monitor?  I don't know. I'm not really ready to give up my biggest hobby for the last thirty years. I'm trying to learn FlexTale, which isn't grokking with me at all and, let's face it, that 600+ page PDF is looking increasingly impossible to tackle. Will solo gaming even be satisfying? Will it feel like I'm just playing an extremely analogue computer game? 

My shelves runneth over with dozens of books. Dozens and dozens, in fact. Most of them I have never read. In fact, my recent attempt to read my more recently acquired books ends in my dragging myself through half a page, retain nothing, reread, retain nothing, and then just shelve the book and fire up a video game or take a nap. 

So, I guess for the time being, I'm just in a holding pattern. Anhedonia is a thing, and it's a thing I'll hopefully be treated for in a few weeks. It's also quite possible that gaming the way I want to game is just not something that's part of my life anymore. 


  1. I hear you. I was doing some of my gaming online before covid, then all of it (via Hangouts and Twiddla at first, then Hangouts and Roll20, then Meet and Roll20, then Discord and Roll20, sometimes just Discord...), plus using Zoom to teach my classes for the past two years. I get tired of online interaction as well. Have cancelled the last two game sessions I was supposed to DM, and have skipped as a player when my friends are running recently, too. I just need a break. Talked to a friend the other day who is actually running face to face with a small group, but they don't really want another player joining. I may just have to move my game back to face to face to finally get motivated to run it again. Maybe then I won't be so tired of gaming online as a player. Who knows? Anyway, I feel you. Hope some opportunities pop up for you soon.

  2. I hope the gaming scene turns around for you, my friend. I got burned out several years ago and never really went back. Now I just sit and the piano and seethe. Or I take my fishing rod to the beach and yell at seagulls. It's hard to find one's gaming mojo. I do think it's possible, but it seems to require more effort than back in the day.

    1. Seething at the piano? Iunno, I guess I can't knock it 'til I try it.

      I wish FlexTale wasn't so huge and obtuse. I could just run some solo OSE or something.

  3. Online gaming doesn't do it for me as well (even pre-Covid). Face to face gaming is still going slow in my circles with many having made the permanent and complete switch to online play and others still being reluctant to game in person. In addition to that, I do not have a lot of time between my family and my job. As a result, I took up solo gaming a while ago and the only drawback I see thus far is that it might permanently sour me to gaming with other people :D

    1. Since posting this I've actually given up on the hobby entirely.