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.