Real Roleplayers? Real Snobs.
For those who haven't seen or heard about it yet... Some background reading (although I'm not really ranting about the site at all): Real Men, Real Roleplayers, Lunatics and Munchkins.
There are a lot of problems in the RPG Community; one of the largest problems is the lack of community. Rather, most gamers are a cliquish lot - even amongst themselves. The Real Roleplayers snub the Real Men, the Real Men snub the Loonies, and everyone snubs the Munchkins. And that's just within one system! From there you've got the Call of Cthulhu-ist players vs. D&Ders, GURPSians vs. HERO-philes, and so forth.
To make matters worse, many gamers fall prey to thinking that all other gamers fall into the stereotypical gamer lot. Gamers are for the most part portrayed as socially inept nerds who have forgotten how to use a shower. Strangely enough, many gamers feel that most other gamers are like this. Now I've been to plenty of conventions, and while I did see some that matched parts of the description, there were only one or two people who fit the stereotype. Even after the third or fourth day of the convention, while most people were slightly unshaven and sleep-deprived, they had at least taken the time to scrub up. Even despite the fact that most gamers know they don't fall into the stereotype, they have no problem thinking that every other gamer does.
Contrary to popular belief many gamers are not math nerds, sci-fi/fantasy geeks, unbathed, and opposite-gender shy, as Richard in Essex who posted a listing to alt.games.frp.advocacy seems to think. Annoyingly, the entire thread stole a bit of my thunder, as the post came a few scant days after I began writing the column. I'll add that not all gamers are computer savants, either. And just as many gamers seem to lack proper netiquette as non-gamers.
The worst of the bunch, when it comes to snobs, are the 'Real Roleplayers'. Which I find rather ironic, considering the fact that the 'Real Roleplayers' pride themselves on being able to portray themselves in a number of roles. When I speak of 'Real Roleplayers' (note the quotes) I do not speak of the Real Roleplayers within the aforementioned site, although the two groups often overlap. No 'Real Roleplayers' (quotes again) refer to the gamers who believe themselves to be, well - for lack of better words, 'Real Roleplayers'. As if any form of roleplaying that they don't practice is somehow less roleplaying. Snobs.
Sadly enough, I once had this elitist view of gaming, I thought I could never find a better group than my group, because we were so incredible in our roleplaying style. I too, was a gaming snob. Then I started gaming with other groups again, and even though the playing style was different, I still had fun. This came as a shock to me. Here I was, top of the ladder in gaming style and I could still have fun with another group. Perhaps I was simply on a different rung of a horizontal ladder rather than a higher rung of a vertical ladder.
Gaming is a form of entertainment, just like any other game. Risk and Stratego players do not shun each other as do many RPers. Oh, and yes it is just a game. More, much more, on that this early 2K.
What's the problem with being a gaming snob? Let's face it. Gaming itself is a small hobby, and in-fighting, bickering, and whining about other gamers is not going to help the hobby grow. And if the hobby doesn't grow, how am I going to get fresh meat for my Paranoia games? Seriously, though, if the hobby doesn't grow then it will not stagnate, it will shrink.
What do you think?