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I don’t play many video games anymore

I miss them dearly.

These days I play board games. I’ve settled into the routine – I’ve amassed a great selection of them, and I love learning about them, teaching them, playing them with friends. They’ve replaced video games as my main fun go-to. I’ll still have a video game or two on the side, but I used to play *dozens* of them. Now I’ve only really looked at two so far this year – Bloodborne and a Majora’s Mask remake, not even sure if the latter counts.

I wanted to make a list of why this change happened so easily for me.

  1. Board games are social.
    Video games have taken this slant away from sharing a game on a split screen in a living room to playing online. This has helped me connect with far-away friends, but goddamn. When I have a room full of friends nearby, there’s just less fun things we can do. There’s always Nintendo, and god bless them, that helps a lot, but that does end up getting old fast, and not everyone really can get into them anymore. And in the end, it’s about sitting around a TV and letting it do the talking.

    Tabletop not only encourages social interaction, it revolves around it. It creates interesting situations and dynamics that let you see people react to all sorts of different situations, and to see how they react to one another.

  2. Board games are adaptable.
    Video games have very static rules that don’t change. You press a button, this happens. You press another button, that happens. There’s a list of objectives and conditions to be met. In a board game, if any rule doesn’t suit the players or the situation, you can change it. You can very finely adjust difficulty on the fly. You can add or take away elements that appeal to people, or don’t. You can perfectly refine every experience for every table differently. It makes it feel way more inclusive, which leads me to the most important point,
  3. Board games are friendly and welcoming.
    I think this reason stands out above the others as my main sticking point. The culture around board games is one of inclusivity. Come sit down, let’s go on an adventure sort of thing. The first two points above are what make this happen – it’s about being social, and engaging with people directly and finding out more about them, and they can be whatever you all want them to be.

    Video games are about exclusivity. It’s about the player, and it’s about that sole experience. Everything is built up around that, and I’m positive that it lends itself to the culture that’s formed around video games over the last several years, and especially over the last year. It’s a toxic culture that’s about negativity, and is more about what shouldn’t happen than what should. It’s all been talked about to death and it’s just gross and I don’t want anything to do with it anymore.

I know that’s an easy way out but honestly I’m just tired of being embarrassed, and ashamed to be seen as one of “those people” and have to defend my hobby. One of my favourite … mantras, I suppose? (I don’t really know who to attribute a quote to, a lot of people have said this.) But, it’s that you’re judged by the company you keep. All of the friends, and people I spend my time with that I value greatly, I think all of them are better than me in certain ways. And I keep those consciously in mind and I aspire to me more like them in those ways. I’m better than them at some other things, and that’s just the nature of people. But I’m proud of who my friends are, I’m proud to introduce them to new people, and I enjoy their company.

The community around these hobbies are sort of an extension of that. When I meet someone new into board games, chances are staggeringly higher that they’ll be a pleasant person and not secretly (or perhaps less secretly) a douchebag. I’ve had a few friends and people I had a good opinion of stand up as pro GG folks over the last few months, and it is an incredibly discouraging feeling to have that happen.

That’s just, kind of all there is to it, I don’t like being around assholes, and negative people, and people that spend their time hurting other people. Don’t have time for that shit.

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