Thursday, May 6, 2021

Days Go By....and 2021 Marches On

The good news is my local city and county in New Mexico have gone "Turquoise" which is is the local marker for a sharp decline in COVID cases and a sharp rise in vaccinations. All good! It means among other things that for the first time in over a year movie theaters get to open. My son and I are actually going to see a movie today: Godzilla vs. Kong....a film I am sure I will loathe a little bit since I also disliked the last one, but as a good father I know he loves these movies so that's what this is actually about. With any luck we won't see a reversal of trend before some actually, genuinely good movies like Black Widow release later this year. Either way, I am stoked to finally go to a real theater again! I'll post how the experience was later.

I'm hopeful that the public venues where gaming used to take place open soon. I have never been much to host, though I have the room to do it, and for various reasons prefer not to use my place I live for entertainment whenever possible. It's a hidden introvert thing, trust me. As such, when I used to run games in the Before Times it was always at a local game shop, the two of which are around locally (and still in business, thank goodness) have room for gaming. I think it is still a while before they have the city's permission (and build up the nerve) to open these spaces again, but give my entire gaming crew is also vaccinated I think we could resume live sessions soon, at least on Wednesday/Tuesday nights. Saturdays, we shall see.

I've blogged before about the issue with online gaming. It's better than nothing, I have concluded, but it suffers for gaining traction in certain areas of the RPG space like convenient die tracking, virtual maps and minis, and sacrifices the live experience in other areas, such as face to face interaction, the difficulty of a shared channel for speaking (speaking over one another is instant chaos), the general lack of physicality and what I personally would call "headphone claustrophobia." It doesn't help that work has also dominated the virtual space when it comes to meetings, so there's essentially no escaping the medium. 

Computers do some forms of entertainment extremely well, and those also compete with the clunky online RPG experience. It's hard to want to play an online Roll20 game when you are staring at another compelling graphical experience that caters directly to you. Video games dominate the computer, RPGs are weird outliers in that space, requiring more effort. They are more naturally suited to a table, where they can create a nice, structured social space.

You might wonder about whether I really am a closet introvert, given I seem more interested in face to face gaming than online gaming. The answer would be: totally, yes. The reason I have always enjoyed face to face gaming is it is a nice, structured, timed environment. I am not the kind of guy to find much deep satisfaction in hanging out at the pub or coming over to someone's house for the hell of it. I'm not a sports guy. I reluctantly go to family events and I almost always have a book or something in hand in the vain hope I can get some reading in. But I have always disliked interacting with faceless noises on the internet. It's why even in all the years I played World of Warfcraft or Destiny I have never raided and I have hardly ever done dungeons (or strikes), because those entailed having to deal with other humans, or at lest their polygonal avatars. 

This could all be just me, but it isn't too hard to find other people online commenting, at least, on the lack of satisfaction in online game environments. I'm trying to get used to it, though, as I realize in twenty years this could very well be the only way a geriatric me might get any gaming in. That said, I might not actually care or have the energy by then, who knows.

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