The computer is your gateway to new and exciting people! Yes, some may be sociopaths or pedophiles, and some of them are simply dicks. But still, what would the world be without people?
On second thought, don’t answer that.
I like to play with people. I like cooperative games a lot more then I like competitive games. I enjoy being a story with fellow players in my tabletop games, and I enjoy smokin’ a Spitter before she vomits all over my team mates in my newly discovered love for Left 4 Dead (1 or 2, they’re all awesome.) I enjoy it. I enjoy the broader (and usually older) community on PC connections then I do on say, XBox — in fact, XBox Live is a reason we chose to go PS3 instead of XBox (along with the Red Ring of Death, general catalog being superior on PC, etc). It’s got a bad reputation. I just wasn’t interested in dealing with it. So the computer is my box of choice. I prefer single or dual player on console, and I enjoy a broad range of games from puzzlers to shooters on my PC.
And now I’m using it as a Tabletop aid. A friend of mine, who I have known for going on ten years now, used to run a tabletop Exalted (2nd edition, for the curious) game online as his regular gaming group spread over several states. They added a few other friends, and wa-la! They used Google Wave as their first tool for it’s ease of sharing documents and having a ‘bot’ dice roller you can ‘invite’ your group communications. (This is still how they do dicerolling.) But to expedite the communications process, they set up a group Skype and now we all spend 2-3 hours voice-gaming over the internet.
So now I have a new Thursdays group, and I look forward to seeing how this works. I’ve been gaming — roleplaying specifically — since I was about eleven years old. I am now thirty-two. This is two decades of gaming books, and if I wasn’t ashamed of it’s well loved, tattered shape I would photograph the first gaming book I ever bought — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. Fangirl? Yes. Do I care? No. I’ve done statted, non stated, consent-based, ICC=ICA, you name it, I’ve played it across various platforms and tools. But I think, after the laughs shared over Skype Thursday night, this should be a fun experience if my schedule allows me to keep up with it.
In the other end of the spectrum, I’ve found the cooperative campaigns of Left 4 Dead to be highly rewarding with good pals, some laughs, and even getting the husband involved. I bought both games while they were on sale on Steam after The Passing DLC had become available. It lead to a lot of fun times with friends, and I eventually convinced my husband to get it. We did some with friends and some friends-and-bots campaigns, and enjoyed every minute of it. He’s a little frustrated with some of the gameplay elements, but I think it’s all part of the fun. I’m on Steam if anybody wants to give it a crack, and welcome others into my gameplaying circle. Just be aware I tend to have friendly fire accidents. Shooters are not normally my usual choice for gaming, but I’m getting much better with them!
We added a player to our Shadowrun game this weekend; a friend who had migrated from out of state to be with his long distance lady that I knew from a forum or two. They both came over early, had dinner with my husband and I, and we got to know them a little better. We’d met the player before, but this was the first time interacting with them as a couple, which is sort of important to us as we have few married or otherwise committed friends who share our interests and are tolerable human beings; we know other married or ‘serious’ geek couples, but they tend to be the worst kind that gravitate to each other and make each other worse, not better.
The lady was something of a geek herself, but she is low key and not very active. She’d gamed with her significant other but not much else, and had neither the time or really the enthusiasm to join the game, so she simply came to dinner to meet and greet her boyfriend’s friends. This bodes well for him — it means she’s willing to let him have his life and she have hers separate from each other when need be, but doesn’t talk down to us or to him for these nerdy interests.
So we had a nice, home cooked meal (I prepared lemon chicken with sweet and sour stir fried turnips and carrots), talked extensively about life and work and nerdness, and little before game was about to start, she excused herself and went her way. We helped him finish his character while we waited for the others to show up at our new time (eight o’clock) and settled in for what turned out to be a very productive game.
I think our new friend will work out well with us. He kept up with our jokes, tolerated that most of the group brought laptops and set them up (we have a very tech heavy group — and many use netbooks to handle character information and/or sourcebooks) and I think both starting earlier and adding a new player helped them be more alert and on better behaviour in general. We’ve had problems with the computers being a distraction in the past (and I should never have given them the code to my wireless router) but we’ve all had our distraction slip-ups.
Our new player kept up, RPed accordingly and while he’s a very straight-laced character in a group that’s a little wild, I think things will work out okay. We made our pick up, headed out and had a stop off in Salish country (for those who have an idea of what that means) and then found our that our Rigger pilot got hijacked while in a deal and half our cargo was being demanded as tribute. We don’t even know what the cargo IS; it’s in a briefcase that’s attached to the write of a young elf Rat Shaman on his vision quest — a total non-combatant! We don’t have the key to the cuffs, to the briefcase, nothing.
It’s gonna be a very interesting session! We’ll be playing again in two weeks – next week is our Iron Kingdoms game. Our new player won’t be in that game (it’s too established to really bring anybody new in) but I think once it’s wrapped we’ll be able to integrate him more thoroughly into our other games if he decides he wants to.