At the behest and cajolery of various friends, I’ve been attending the Dragonflight gaming convention these last few years and, I plan to go again tomorrow afternoon.
I’ve playing RPGs for many years, ever since discovering them back in high school back in 1978 but, I’ve been pretty closeted about it. Many nerds are bigger snobs and are more concerned about appearances than you’d realize. At least that’s been my case. For many years I was very concerned how I’d appear to all the squares so, I mostly kept to myself and my friends.
Some aspects of nerd subculture are very hard to explain to squares. When a pasty, chubby guy in his forties crams himself into a Star Fleet uniform, when a mousy gal with industrial strength glasses wanders around in lots of black lace claiming to be a vampire, some explanation is required. Or maybe there isn’t but, is it that surprising that squares double take at this behavior?
As it was, for many years I’ve been a bit conflicted about this hobby of mine. But recently, perhaps because I’m 42, have lost my virginity and moved out of my parent’s house years ago and have had a few serious jobs with responsibilities since then, I’ve decided to be more out about it. So I decided to go back to the conventions that I had abandoned since high school.
A few shocks came my way. There are more women and kids (And not just boys.) than there used to be and guys my age seem more hip and competent than the ones I used to remember. There also seems to be more money involved. I guess when Hasbro bought Wizards of the Coast that should have made it plain that something fundamental had changed.
Maybe if I was really paying attention, I would have realized that when Steve Wozniak, George Lucas and Bill Gates became billionaires something fundamental had changed. Nerds run the planet now.
Of course the more embarrassing aspects still survive and thrive. The last few Dragonflight conventions still have overheated, stuffy rooms with people jabbering enthusiastically at each other about rules minutiae. But is this really different from golf players and football fans arguing about the fine points of those games? Everyone wants a little escapism at one time or another.
I’m struck by similarities that I hadn’t noticed before. Anyway, tomorrow I do more of the same!