Late Edition

Well folks, over the past half-year I've shared seedy tales of my checkered past with you, let you in on more than a few of my dirty secrets and bored you with tales of sexual intrigue, moral deviancy and downright shameful behavior – all starring me.

Last week, I even let slip that I'm either a total loser or an underground hero (depending on what kinds of comics you read).

"What on Earth," you may be asking, "will he tell us about himself next?"

Nothing. Today we talk about you.

There are lots of reasons that people play games. I could tell you at least a dozen reasons why I do (but we're not talking about me, remember?). Yet of all of the people who game, we here at GWJ are but a few of them. A tiny, tiny fraction. A more appropriate topic of conversation would then seem to be the reasons why we talk about games on a message board, on tha Interweb, rather than just play them and be satisfied.

It can't be for lack of anything else to do. After all, we gots all them games, remember? Yet the persistence of posting on this forum, the sheer volume of typed-out sentences (most of which are in English, even!) would seem to be indicative of at least a temporary, regular absence of impositions on our time.

Perhaps this is because some of us have hair-pullingly dull occupations. So much so that were our job descriptions accurate representations of what we do at work, I'd be willing to bet that at least half of them would say "Maintains the vibrant character of Gamers With Jobs by reading posts, posting posts and commenting on posts of others." They would also probably say "Uses bathroom a lot" but that's neither here nor there.

I think it's probably a good thing that some of us while away the otherwise mind-numbingly dull hours between eight and five in such a way. The last thing the world needs is more productivity. Especially in the office workplaces of the First World. See, if you work harder, it means that other people have to work harder to keep up with your increased workload and before you know it, we're all working seven-day weeks just because Smarty-Smart over in Cubicle Three-oh-Eight woke up from his Internet coma and decided to contribute.

Nah. Better to leave that Pandora's Box sealed. Work only as much as you must. It's the American way. Remember how much your ass hurt after it was kicked by the folks whose grades fell below the pass/fail line because your perfect test score ruined the curve? Yeah, some of those people now own guns. All I'm sayin'.

Okay, so we've got a handle on opportuniy. As for means, well, if you're reading this, then that's sews that up, doesn't it? Now let's turn our attention to motive.

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mention that this was a trial did I? Relax. It's not. Really. Can you swim? Ever have dreams about "… Satan? We'll come back to that. It's okay.

Motive: What is our motive for being here? For continually being here, day after day, regardless of how many times we see the same posts about graphics versus gameplay, PC versus consoles, Sony versus Microsoft and wit versus bad humor? What brings us back despite the draconian punishments meted out by the dark overlord, the homophobia masked as homoeroticism and the band-wagon one-liners masquerading as something to say? Perhaps a better question to ask would be: why are all of these things just as valid, just as meaningful and just as interesting (if not more so) than the words you're reading right now?

The answer to both questions is the same, I think.

And now for the part about me.

I was listening to the radio the other day. To one of those album rock stations with the crazy morning DJs. For some reason I like them, despite the fact that I hate them. They make my morning interesting, to say the least.

One of the things they like to do is gather news items and add their slant to them, which makes me happy. I'm a sucker for news punchlines. Always have been. On this particular day, however, they did not make me happy. In fact, they made me unhappy. Kicked in the shins and had my nipples twisted by David Shetzer in the lunch line, unhappy. Because they reminded me of something that I had forgotten, had wanted to forget and had needed to forget.

The story they picked on this day was a 2001 article by Alakhazam. The gist of the article was that Curt Schilling played EverQuest, loved Everquest and couldn't stop talking about EverQuest, his characters and the good times he's had while playing EverQuest. It honestly read like a great many of the threads here at GWJ. Despite the fact that I think EverQuest is kind of silly, and should be considered a dangerously addictive substance by the FDA, I thought it was nice to see a professional sports hero, and bloody one at that, sharing his love of gaming.

That feeling lasted about thirty seconds.

In my reverie, I had been ignoring the barely suppressed giggles of the Morning Crew. When the penny whistle kicked in, my giddy happiness faded to a dull irritation. Then came the voice of a man doing a bad Southern English accent, and my dull irritation blossomed into full blown hate.

I then exercised my first amendment rights by turning off the radio. My anger dissipated, replaced by warm, thoughts of GWJ.

The thing that I was reminded of on this day was that people abuse other people whom they don't understand. But for some reason, not here. Not really. This is the place where I know that gaming is not seen as a criminal waste of time. The place where campaigners are not slandered as renfairies and renfairies are not slandered as queer. The place where, despite all of our many, numerous differences, all are welcome to post and all are welcome to care.

Not that everything is about me or anything, but that's why I come here. I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one.

Comments

What is our motive for being here? For continually being here, day after day, regardless of how many times we see the same posts about graphics versus gameplay, PC versus consoles, Sony versus Microsoft and wit versus bad humor? What brings us back despite the draconian punishments meted out by the dark overlord, the homophobia masked as homoeroticism and the band-wagon one-liners masquerading as something to say?

I am reminded of something Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, I believe for his non-fiction book Report On Planet Three. He said that one thing all humans have in common is a desire for communication. As support for this claim, he mentioned that the familiar images of third-world slums often show television antennae protruding from rickety rooftops.

The thing that I was reminded of on this day was that people abuse other people whom they don't understand... This is the place where I know that gaming is not seen as a criminal waste of time. The place where campaigners are not slandered as renfairies and renfairies are not slandered as queer. The place where, despite all of our many, numerous differences, all are welcome to post and all are welcome to care.

I think this point plays well with my last article on reverie. This, to my mind, is the best thing GWJ has going for it. On most days, anyway.

I think I may have said it a different way, but to the exact same point, Fletch. I think we are all here, and we stay here, because deep down we understand each other in a way that other communities (online or otherwise) don't. I wish I could describe it more eloquently that to say it just clicks, but there it is.

I'm proud of this site, though I take very little credit for its success. Truth is, and I understand completely why, it's the community of you guys that make it worthwhile. Even as a supposed "CEO", I just enjoy visiting the site like anyone else.

I came here for the ultra porn. I am still waiting.

Too bad you hadn't come here for the homoeroticism. Instant gratification.

EDIT: And no, I don't think it's motivated by homophobia - in the same way that I make jokes about straights without being motivated by heterophobia.

Elysium wrote:

I think we are all here, and we stay here, because deep down we understand each other in a way that other communities (online or otherwise) don't. I wish I could describe it more eloquently that to say it just clicks, but there it is.

That could be part of the keynote speech at a NAMBLA convention.

In all seriousness, I think there is some sad weariness at finding kindred spirits in a world that views with hostility something that a group of people passionately enjoy, but are admittedly disinclined to speak of in the professional world.

What continually intrigues me is that Lobo is invariably the first to comment on Fletch's articles. OK, he was the second JUST ONCE last time. Still doesn't change the stats much.

I wonder if Lobo is Fletch's secret admirer slash releveler. Or Ebay-style shill. Or his alt. Or his evil twin. Or...

Sad weariness? Maybe there's sad weariness at the NAMBLA site, but I've never found that here. I'd be more inclined to describe the GWJ vibe as geeky exuberance, or maybe spazzy enthusiasm.

Honestly, I found my way to GWJ via the terrific writing that I saw on the front page. I never had any interest in the forums, but dang it if I haven't found myself visiting regularly.

The desire for some online gaming camraderie could arguably be found in hundreds of forum communities across the web. Why GWJ? For me, I think it's because, of all places where you can communicate with people about gaming, GWJ happens to be populated by thoughtful, reasonable, people (I was going to add "mature" to that list, but decided it was too much of a stretch). That's a rare thing.

Oh, and Lobo and Fletch are the same person.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

What continually intrigues me is that Lobo is invariably the first to comment on Fletch's articles. OK, he was the second JUST ONCE last time. Still doesn't change the stats much.

I wonder if Lobo is Fletch's secret admirer slash releveler. Or Ebay-style shill. Or his alt. Or his evil twin. Or...

Ha! This is actually something that Fletcher and I have discussed. Quoth the relevant section of the ICQ log:

2:04:19 AM Lobo: And I seem to have a knack for being online and bored
at just the right time to chime in early when you post.
2:04:46 AM Fletcher1138: Yeah you seem to have the times just right.

Hmm, I guess it wasn't really a discussion, so much as a mentioning. I'm suddenly struck by the strange desire to watch Fight Club again...

I told you never to talk about me!

I came here lookign for "Dolly Parton.... - sheep" ... But games work

What is our motive for being here? For continually being here, day after day, regardless of how many times we see the same posts about graphics versus gameplay, PC versus consoles, Sony versus Microsoft and wit versus bad humor? What brings us back despite the draconian punishments meted out by the dark overlord, the homophobia masked as homoeroticism and the band-wagon one-liners masquerading as something to say? Perhaps a better question to ask would be: why are all of these things just as valid, just as meaningful and just as interesting (if not more so) than the words you're reading right now?

The answer to both questions is the same, I think.

And now for the part about me.

I hate to sound like an asskisser, but damn. Your articles make me embarassed to post on the same front page.

Also I hear kissing man ass is pretty gay.

GWJ is definitely a respite from the world that thinks gaming is for losers, retards and children. It's also nice to be able to discuss games as art and not be interrupted by l33tsp34k or replies with the depth of a dinner plate. As long as we can keep KrazyTaco out of the thread, anyway.

Threads like the latest "Graphics vs Gameplay" that don't degenerate into pointless namecalling or console bitchery are the reason I keep coming back here, intelligent and reasonable discussion about gaming in a serious light. There's very few places like it.

4tomsm4sher wrote:

Sad weariness? Maybe there's sad weariness at the NAMBLA site, but I've never found that here. I'd be more inclined to describe the GWJ vibe as geeky exuberance, or maybe spazzy enthusiasm.

The sad weariness is not in every post here. It is, I believe, part of the reason why people come here, and you do see glimpses of it in the, "Why does my idiot neighbor who drinks beer and watches television think I'm a 12 year old boy for discussing video games," and "My god, she's a woman and I can actually talk about video games with her and not immediately lose all credibility."

My comment was not a put down. It was to point out that I think gamers feel a bit beleaguered by the status of and reaction to their hobby in the adult and professional world (for me, for example, in the professional world in particular). It makes them sad, and it wears them down a bit. Having a hobby that you really enjoy, but do not feel you can discuss at a cocktail party while everyone else is blathering on about golf and their collection of scrimshaw is eventually just a little bit draining.

This place is a refuge where such things can be discussed, but I see a bit of sadness and weariness creep in from the status of our hobby versus the outside world, and that this is one of the relatively small number of places that such discussions can be had with other adults.

One odd thing I've noticed about myself is that I like thinking about doing stuff as much as I like actually doing the stuff. Thus, I am as happy thinking about playing games as I am actually playing the games. Problem is, not many people want to sit and talk about games in a civil manner. GWJ represents a home for me where I can actually talk about this stuff, and play interesting games with like-minded individuals.

The thing with my friends who are actually around me playing games is that they have a tendency to play the same thing over and over again, which drives me batty. Last night, for instance, I played Project Gotham Racing 2 with them. Before I even joined the game, I could tell you which track they were playing. Why? Because, despite the existence of something like 150 tracks in the game, 90% of the time they play on the same track. With GWJ, I can actually indulge in trying different things, like the sports leagues or Ghost Recon 2. It's wonderful.

KrazyTaco[FO] wrote:

I came here for the ultra porn. I am still waiting.

You're not even going to be old enough til 2058!

That feeling lasted about thirty seconds.

That's what she said! Ha ha!

...I would have also accepted: A personal best!

What is our motive for being here?

I came for the snacks. Also, Taco promised me porn. Homoerotic porn. And loads of it. I'm still waiting for you all to get naked and busy.

DuckiDeva wrote:
What is our motive for being here?

I came for the snacks. Also, Taco promised me porn. Homoerotic porn. And loads of it. I'm still waiting for you all to get naked and busy.

You didn't think Fletch and Sanjuro "sword fighting" was homoerotic enough?

*sniff*

I love you guys.

(Gay enough for you, Ducki? ;))

This is the simultaneously the best and worst front-page article commentary I've read in a long time.

Bravo.

Nice article yet again Fletch.

Nice article Fletcher, you definately hit the nail on the head with some of your points. I think most of us work very hard when we're working, and read the forums a lot between bouts of hard working. Someday I'll have to include the GWJ job description in my resume for a job I don't really want

I came here for the P&C and stayed for everything else. Sounds crazy I know, but it's true. I have to thank Pigpen for showing me this site, all because of some political issues. Now I'm addicted. I'm blown away by the diversity here. Nowhere else in my life is there this level of wit and sarcasm, and I love it. My friends are all whiny hippies, they think I'm mean, here I'm a whiny hippie and nobody thinks I'm mean...yet...give me time...I'm still wading in the safe zone, one day I'll feel comfortable enough to dive in and be the Leo asshole that is truly me. (Stop whisperin - start shouting!)

Great article Fletch. I've been trying to figure out why I can't go more than an hour or two at work without seeing what's going on at GWJ (and my job is cool, it's not that I'm bored). This article lets me understand that it's not just me, it's a phenomenon that we are all experiencing together. To quote Elton, "I'm a wiener Bomb" , oh no not that one, let me try again, "I thank the lord there are people out there like you". I don't run into people like you in my normal day to day life and this site is a respite from the close-minded self-centered ignorance that I have to deal with regularly. I'm not near the gamer that most people here are, although I do love me some games, and I've picked up several from GWJ recommendations. I feel misunderstood most of the time, and most of the time I supress things that I think will be misunderstood - here I see people that are willing to express themselves and defend themselves and are willing hear and try to understand everyone else - and that I love. The mean-ass shut up talk and the pooper/yakker/poker talk just cracks me up because I understand it's about making people laugh. Or making people think (invoking some deranged images I might add). You guys have made me grow muscles in my brain again and have rekindled my imagination. (now some ass is going to tell me that I can't grow muscles in my brain - fine - I'll take it)

Be the ball, Rabbit. Be the ball.

Oh, and: Synapses.

Gir wrote:

I love this show!

I come for the writing. I stay for the uncontrollable weeping.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

I come for the writing. I stay for the uncontrollable weeping.

That's exactly how I feel about my desk.