The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Monday, 30 November 2015

10th Anniversary Classic Rant: Gaming is Not My Source of Socialization

It seems to me that there are some people who are dedicated to going around rpg sites talking about (with a bizarre tone of pride) their "gaming is just an excuse for getting together with your friends". And they smugly declare that "they play to be with their friends, not for the game". Or that "friends are the most important thing" about roleplaying; and looking down on and insulting those who have a "too serious" attitude and dare to think that playing an RPG should be something more than merely social. Some even make absurd proclamations like "you shouldn't game with anyone who you wouldn't be friends with normally".

I, personally, game for the game. Pretty much everyone I game with I'd say are my friends, and its nice to have developed friendships based on my RPG hobby. However, while some of those friends have evolved into more than JUST "gaming buddies", there are many others that are not friends in any context other than us getting together to game.

Essentially, there are many people in my gaming group that, if we weren't getting together to play an RPG, we wouldn't be getting together at all.

So to me, I'm firmly on the "game" side of things. RPGs do have a purpose aside from socialization: that purpose is the game. Like any really worthwhile game or sport, the purpose is in playing and perfecting yourself through that play, and having a good experience of play. The RPG is not just an "excuse to get together with your friends": I have friends(made via gaming or made via many other sources), I don't need an "excuse" to get together with them. When we get together in my gaming group, we are there to game. Its fine to socialize, but we're not just there to fuck around and maybe game, and there's certainly no problem in telling people to get focused and get playing, because that's what we're there for.

I would suggest that its those who are loudly proclaiming how their RPG play is just their "excuse" for being with friends that have the problem: why the fuck do you need an excuse? If your gaming is just your source for socialization, the way you get friends, it would imply to me not that you are somehow more social than other gamers, but that you are less. You are incapable of making friends or engaging in normal social activity if you aren't using some kind of hobby/sport as a crutch by which to have them. Maybe your loud proclamations about how bad it is for people to see games as serving any purpose aside from socialization comes out of the personal fear that you can't make friends without RPGs, and that if it wasn't for RPGs the people you call your "friends" probably wouldn't want to hang out with you.


(Originally Posted March 31, 2008)


  1. I DM to see my fantasy world spring to life and to watch players overcome obstacles. I have DM'd jet-lagged, after 14 hour days and 60 hour work weeks. I burn vacation time to prep for game sessions. I prefer to run my campaign with all players present for every session run. It is hard with people who have careers, families, and other outside activities, but when there is a will, there is a way.

    I get better commitment from players who have a stronger attachment to the group than mere gaming. Players, who resist being part of the group and have a transactionist attitude towards the game - I am only here to play - will be least reliable.

    1. I realize you're only saying this because you're obliged as a troll to say the opposite of everything I come out in favor of (if I wrote a post strongly opposing the murder of puppies, you'd be talking about the 'vital need to control the animal population'), but the truth for me is pretty well the opposite.
      People who are like "oh yeah we're just friends hanging, whatEVER" can feel totally fine with bailing if something better comes along, if some other friends want to play football, or there's someone going clubbing, or just because they don't feel like hanging with their friends. If they don't mainly care about the game, they'll be the least co-operative about things like showing up on time, staying on point in the game, paying attention or giving a fuck about the game, etc.

      People who's FIRST reason to go is because they are ROLEPLAYERS who want to play the fucking game will be WAY more reliable, whether or not they're your friends as an aside.

  2. I am not a Troll, my co-workers call me an Ogre!

    You are right. In the situation you described a gamer is more dedicated than a non-gamer who is just hanging out and is roped into playing. I never had that luxury. I was only able to join public games from ads in the hobby shops, before I started forming my own.

    There was a lot going on at the gaming table besides the game itself. I was surprised to find politics, manipulation etc among participants, People have different motives for playing the game and you need to address them if you want to get good participation out of them. In this context, people who said that they were there to play D&D and nothing else, resisted joining the others, and were the ones most likely to turn disruptive or manipulative.

  3. I used to hear that a lot from people that played World of WarCraft: they played because their friends played. Otherwise I'm in a similar boat: I play the game to play the damned game, some gaming buddies have become actual friends, and there are people that I really don't talk with outside of the game.

    I can't think of anything I'd routinely do just to socialize with certain people. I'd rather find something I actually enjoy doing.