Building your own house of cards, pt. 2

August 1, 2007

Where does this get us?

1. One True Wayism

If there’s multiple ways to play, there might be differences in your group, and that might make you not really a group. Or might give folks the idea to go elsewhere. Better not let that happen. No- there is no other way to play, just this one way. And it’s the best way. Period. After all, you’re “really” roleplaying because you get together every week for 6 hours and never say what you want to happen so you’re good roleplayers.

Even if you’re bored.

2. Irrational Defensiveness/Reading judgement into everything

If someone else talks about another way to play, they’re clearly criticizing the way you play, and calling it less than “real roleplaying” therefore you have to go apeshit on them. Otherwise you might think too hard about that and feel bad about whatever kind of gaming you’re doing. Because, like Highlander, ther can only be one.

3. Passive Aggressiveness

If you are stuck with the same people for long periods of time, and cannot say what you want or talk about the issues of differences (because that would either be cheating or endangering the group or both), you have, by definition, walked into the land of the Passive Aggressive.

4. Anti-socialization

It’s always an old saw- “Gamers are anti-social, etc. etc.” I’ve met lots of gamers who were very social. But I’ve also met many who weren’t. And at first, I believed there was something about gaming that caused those folks to gravitate towards it, and perhaps there is, but I also thought about the above and what it does to us as gamers.

First, if you’re playing with the same people, for months on end, you’re not meeting and socializing with new people. Period. Unlike some other things, like say, even if you played racketball with the same circle all the time, you’d probably meet a few new folks at the court just before or after you- it’s still some kind of new input.

Second, if you’re operating on passive aggressive behavior as the norm, you’re working from broken social cues and communication.  You can’t assume anyone really means what they’re projecting, and odds are you’ve found projecting honestly results in trouble, so you don’t do it either.

Third, if you have to protect the group no matter what, you can’t let other folks in easily, for they might endanger the group by bringing new ideas or exposing differences by accidentally blundering into “the thing we don’t talk about”.

Fourth, neither going out to meet new folks nor having new folks regularly come in, means you get stuck in a comfort zone that is never really pushed or expanded.  Expanding your comfort zone is pretty much a necessity to socializing.

Though I’ve met both social and poorly socialized gamers, I noticed the more they conformed to the beliefs and behaviors in the previous post and this one, in general, the worse the socialization, and vice versa, the more they got away from this, the better the socialization.

My unscientific anecdotal belief is that this set of beliefs and behaviors, combined, trains bad socialization into people.

Mind you, it’s not the act of roleplaying per se, it’s all these weird practices that have become attached to it, that I feel are problematic.

(next: Options for better gaming)

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