Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hello Gamer World

So what is a Non-Gamer Gamer? What does that even mean? Well for me, it means I have failed to avoid the gaming world my whole life. 

Avoid the gaming world? Some of you might be thinking "that should have been pretty easy" while others are most likely saying "why would you want to avoid it". Well as a girl the gaming world was taboo for the most part. It wasn't that I wasn't allowed to play per se, more that as a girl I carried the stigma that I wouldn't be any good. But there was one person who either didn't subscribe to that ideal or just didn't care, and that was my older brother Reg. At a young age he enlisted me to play D&D. I didn't know nor read the rules but he told me how to play and I did. I chased treasure down and picked locks. I was a successful thief even if I did drag along my teddy to every dungeon crawl. 

A child of the 80s, culture shaped my gaming experience even more. Who didn't watch He-Man, Transformers, and a number of Comic book TV shows. I really liked the Gargoyles. We even had a local comic book shop that we would walk down to and buy 10 cent comics. What ever happened to those shops? In 3rd grade we read the Lord of the Rings - In SCHOOL! But, I digress.


High School rolled around in the 90s as well as Vampire the Masquerade. Reg opened the door to the World of Darkness for me. I played several WW products in the early 90s while never reading any rules. I just didn't have the time to be a gamer, although, I often found myself playing on the weekends and even getting into LARPING. 

Then Magic the Gathering hit the shelves. I still have Beta cards somewhere... We called it Magic the Addiction. So, I attended my first Gen Con in 96. This was when it was still in Milwaukee. Back then it was very very different. I was probably 1 female in 500 males.  When asked if I was a gamer, I would say heck no, I'm here with my brother. Which was true, partially!? We had a blast and came home with scores of free products; like I said, it was way different back in the day. We slept in cars and on benches and ate at the amazing sandwich shop around the corner. Back then Gen Con costs us $100 tops and most of that was in the cost of the admission. The following year I met my future husband at Gen Con... who would have known?
College allowed me to get away from gaming or so I thought. Then during my first internship as an Actuary I shared an apartment with 3 male actuarial interns who introduced me to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Golf, and yes gaming. It appeared that I just couldn't get away from the fantasy realm. 

That is, until I moved to California after college and got into a Marketing career. Ah, Los Angeles, now that was a place of people, of the non gamers, the tree huggers, and four years later I found my new best friends to be no other than 3 gamers: Troy, L'mar and Tom. I met Troy because we worked together and I had no idea he was a gamer (or comic writer, see above the original Goblin Chronicles) when we became friends. When they invited me to play Settlers of Catan, I was instantly hooked! Welcome euro games to my list of experiences.

Remember the future husband I mentioned earlier... well I'll spare you the romance story and skip to the move to VA. Engaged to Jason, he brought home Heroes of Might and Magic V. Love this game! Other than Zelda, Mario 3, Leisure Suit Larry, and King's Quest, my video gaming was severely limited at this point. My husband continued to introduce video gaming to my repertoire as well as books by R.A. Salvatore, Terry Brooks, and Tracy Hickman.

So when we got married, it only made sense to have a renaissance/Scottish wedding, right? A year after our wedding I began writing a non-RPG book for gamers. It is still in progress. Then the RPG games started. I should mention that my husband does NOT like gaming with me. Anyone who has gamed with me knows I'm fun and play the character that usually saves the day in the end, but it comes with consequences... why yes I DO want to split the party... sure we will burn that, what is the worst that could happen... yes, I do try to pick the allies' pocket... you get the point. My husband plays the Paladin. So yeah you can imagine how that goes over.

My first experience of Pathfinder was the delve they ran at Gen Con. I won a bunch of keys and therefore got a lot of free product. I of course gifted this to my husband, promptly. What need did I have of gaming books? Still never having read the rules I played Pathfinder like D&D (and still do). This drives most GMs nuts, especially Greg Vaughan. In fact I am surprised he lets me play at all in his games. I was actually forced to read part of the core rule book this year when Greg called me out on not knowing any rules. I think you might be seeing why I call myself the non-gamer. 
After almost 3 decades of being surrounded by the fantasy gaming world one would think I would have picked up a rule book and read it or even a module, but that's for gamers and GMs, which clearly I am not, right?!

In 2012 I took a job with Frog God Games. The job posting was sent to me by no other than my older brother Reg. So, we have come full circle. In the last year I have made friends in the RPG industry and I have to say, they rock. Smart, witty, successful, funny, and entertaining are just some of the qualities of my new friends but caring, helpful, and honest top those. I've heard it before and I'll further the saying: "Gamers are good people!" 

This year at Paizo Con, my 4 year olds played in their first RPG with Christina Stiles. They had a fantastic time. They have even begun painting minis and collecting dice. They know that Orcus is the bad guy. 

So here I am sister of a gamer, married to a gamer, mother of future gamers, working for a gaming company... can I truly claim I am not a gamer anymore? 

Either way, I hope you enjoy my experiences in the industry as an "inside" outsider. May this blog be entertaining, silly, and insightful! One of these days maybe I'll sit down and read an actual gaming book - cover to cover :)