State of our hobby, least the perception of it anyway

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I have a ten year old daughter who loves everything Disney channel can offer (hence me recent trip to Disney Heaven) and tonight we were enjoying a bit of tv. One of the shows that happened to be residing on my DVR was a show called “Good Luck Charlie”, an annoying show that focuses on teenage drama, family comedy, and all around life. Well, it isn’t that bad, but I would never watch it if it were not for them, typical teenage Disney comedy, if you have ever seen “Hanna Montana”, “The Sweet Life”, etc you know the type. Anyway…

So I spot the title of the recorded episode and it makes me curious: “A L.A.R.P. In the Park”

I immediately think “No way!” an episode focusing on LARPing? Mainstream? Now, I must say, I do not LARP, and have always thought of it as a bit of nerdgasm weirdness, but hey, if people like it and it harms no one, more power to them. Would I do it? Nah, after seeing that YouTube video of the dork yelling “Fireball!” pretending he was casting a fireball spell….yeah, count me out. (thank god none of my teenage video recordings have made it to YouTube!)

He is the synopsis of the show:
Teddy falls for a guy named Evan who she finds is interested in Pokeo (a spoof of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!), a fantasy card game for boys that Gabe is into. So, she pretends to like Pokeo to impress Evan and he makes her play a game of larp out in public with him, which turns out to be another one of his hobbies.

So I watch the show and I must say all RPGers are I’ll represented by the show. It completely makes the CCG people out to look like dorks and the LAPRers…wow, total losers. Teasing each other about using their real names while gaming and yelling “Reality!” and other stupid stuff. Really damning stuff, least from kids and teenagers view point. I even asked my kids their opinion, they are well aware I play RPGs, and both were horrified that their dad could possibly do “this LARP thing.”

I thought it very interesting how our society has grown to accept people who sit at a game console for twenty hours straight, yet still find it acceptable to make of people who would utilize their imagination and creativity. In the episode the main teenage girl finds out the boy is a gamer nerd and pretends, with the help of her younger brother (apparently it is acceptable for the young boy to play the card games), to enjoy the games to get closer to a teenage boy she likes. After he finds this out, he makes a date with her, ending up taking her to a LARP session, which is completely outlandish and I am sure not representative of what real LARPing is like. She is appalled that he partakes in this weirdness and ditches him after making a few jokes (including the three year old younger sister getting a few laughs in at the nerd’s expense, apparently even SHE knows only dorks play games!)

I will freely admit that I got a few jokes and weird looks when people found out I was running an RPG back in my unit in Iraq, and I did feel a bit off about the whole thing. Now a month later, no one seems to care and even a few people have expressed interest or curiosity…a few people have even ‘come out of the closet’ and told me they used to play years ago.

I will get off my soapbox now, I just thought I would point out this show and the stereotyping that is still happening with regard to our hobby. Though, I suppose it is better…the episode did not end with a gamer killing his friends or offing himself because of his Satanic hobby….

5 thoughts on “State of our hobby, least the perception of it anyway

  1. As a counterpoint, there has been a show or two that has portrayed Role-playing (both comedy), but the hobby was presented in a more positive light.
    Community (on NBC) had a Dungeons & Dragons episode where actual books were shown, but the game played deviated a good bit from the actual rules. A romp is had and a heartwarming (?) moment occurs.
    The IT crowd (on CH4, BBC) has an episode about role-playing. Out of town business guests reluctantly try role-playing and have a smashing good time!

    However, the youths are lost to us if we let social norms and television dictate their behavior.
    P.S. Larping is more impressive when draped in full armor, but still has an unavoidable air of silliness about it.

  2. In graduate school we talked quite a bit about the “closing of the American mind” and traced the anti-intellectualism back to the 50s, during the Red Scare and the era of McCarthyism.

    I hate to sound paranoid, but I also think that marketers and corporate interests prefer a stupid, docile populace. It makes sense that console gaming is celebrated as it makes a lot of people a lot of money.

    Grrr….I need to stop ranting!!!!

  3. @4649matt, interesting, had not seen those shows. I know the comedy ‘Chuck’ has mentioned D&D more than a few times, or made references to the game. All were painted in a decent light, in the whole context of something nerds do.

    @Christian, you are probably correct, if D&D made as much money as console games it would be a different story completely.

    @Nathan what are they holding in that photo? Cannot make it out and it does not look to be knives!

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