Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tabletop, Geeks, Games and Me

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 Tsuro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized recently that I may have been wrong about myself, and where I fall on the geek spectrum.
See, I don’t feel like I have many of the biggest markers of true geekdom. I have never been a comic book fan, and I’ve never been to a convention. I’ve never played a RPG or LARP, but I know what the initials mean (I think) and I certainly have gamer friends. I’ve never managed to finish the entire LOTR series of books, and even the movies leave me a little cold. I’ve never dismantled a computer (but I know people who have), and my coding knowledge stops at basic HTML. I find video games fairly boring.
But–I did read the entire Shannara series, by Terry Brooks, in fifth and sixth grades, not to mention the Harry Potter series as an adult. I did play on my high school quiz team, my high school sweetheart was a Mathlete, and I did score a perfect score on my (verbal) SAT. I did teach myself HTML back in 1998 to put up my first webpage, and I remember the sheer thrill of figuring out how to make images become links. I’ve been blogging for about nine years, and I remember playing video games that were all text (“You go into a room. In the room, you find an Orc”). I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones and have read the first four books of the Song of Fire and Ice series.
My husband is a little easier to peg, I think. He played Dungeons and Dragons in his youth, treasures his battered copies of the Dragonlance novels, and can tell you more than you want to know about X-Men and the Avengers (before the movies came out, of course). He can also tell you lots about techno music and the impending zombie apocalypse, introduced me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and enjoys Chemistry Cat a little too much. As a result, my girls already have opinions about their favorite superheroes and are waiting to be old enough to love Buffy.
I don’t remember the first time I read Wil Wheaton’s blog, but it’s been a regular read for me for at least the past year, and slowly but surely, I’ve become intrigued with gaming. Wil’s new webseries Tabletop got me hooked; I’ve seen every episode, but the real kicker came when my girls caught me watching an episode and wanted to see what was making me laugh. It was the Ticket to Ride episode, and they were instantly hooked! They have seen every episode now, and their favorite is the episode featuring casual games. So for their birthday, I bought Tsuro, and we have really enjoyed playing it! Lucy even likes to say, “Stop getting up in my dragon grill,” because one of the Tabletop guys said while they were playing. I think sometime this summer, we will end up owning both Zombie Dice and Get Bit, and then we’ll decide on a bigger game to purchase that we’ve seen on Tabletop, probably Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride, once we feel ready.
Are we raising geeky/nerdy children? I can only hope so, as one of the great accomplishments of my adulthood has been embracing the idea of being a geek or a nerd: a highly intelligent and passionate person who dives deep in each enthusiasm and is inherently curious and engaged in the world, someone who wants to share those passions with anyone who might be interested, and someone who always has a new fact or opinion to bring to every conversation. What’s not to like about that?

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