Young People These Days

I listened in on a teenaged RPG group gathered in the teen room at our library yesterday and it was so charming. I mean the game sounded pretty terrible, and I’m not even really sure what they were playing (it wasn’t D&D), but I was filled with so much nostalgia. Much more than I got watching Stranger Things, and of a different quality than when I’ve ever read through an OSR text.

I think my favorite part was the totally guileless all-in investment of everyone at the table. No dramatic irony, no arms-length authorial positioning. They were there to disappear into their roles for a while, and the GM was there to make it happen.

I got jealous that they still get to discover this crazy thing of ours. Some, probably half, will just drop out when they discover money or sex. At least one of them will never want to do anything other than what they’re doing right then and there, and who can blame them? At least one won’t stop digging, and that kid will have to grapple with a lifetime of dissatisfaction balanced against constant discovery. They’ll probably be the GM.

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0 thoughts on “Young People These Days”

  1. One of the best gaming experience I had in the last 10 or so years was playing DnD with my daughter. She only played a few times, didn’t have the taste for it. But seeing the game again through new eyes was awesome.

  2. I’m running for a group that ranged from 9-12 years old right now and it is a blast!

    The weirdest thing is during a fight with a big monster they started chanting “one, one, one!” when one of them was rolling in hopes of a crit. The fact that they were all hanging on every roll and not just waiting around for their own turn was pretty sweet.

  3. I was texting with a friend about escapism in gaming. She said it was escapist for her until somewhat recently. I think gaming has been escapist for me just once as an adult, and otherwise only maybe for the first year or two I played D&D when I was in junior high. It has always been a creative outlet, just not escapist.

  4. Fantastic. I have some amazing memories of early roleplaying experiences – the willingness to suspend disbelief was just so strong.

    I’ve always thought that was one of the “unspoken” reasons people drop out of the hobby as they get older. It’s not just social pressure and lack of time, etc – it’s also a different attitude to the game itself which makes it less fun.

    When you live a relatively controlled life, and the game is your only way to experience agency and have adventure, it packs a very different punch.

  5. So as a totally out of the blue request kiddo just asked me if we could start up a family game of DnD. The last time she played was about 3 years ago and hasn’t shown any interest since then. Mom – who last tried playing oh 25 years ago has been pretty adamant against playing herself, but even she is considering it. Must be something in the air.

    Kiddo started describing what she wants to play which is some kind of magical wolf with wings – so not trad DnD in that sense. If you are familiar with the online game Animal Jam I think that’s wants. I doubt we’ll start anything tonight other than talk about it. But I’m thinking I’m probably not going to use DnD. Maybe Cortex Heroic. Have to ponder this one.

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