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.