A disclaimer may need to be had here. This is a telling of my experience as a gamer, an attempt to explain me and my views. How my past colors my perceptions of the internet geek rage culture. I don’t intend this to be read as the one true way, or how everyone should be/feel/do. My experience (based on what I have read about on social media) seems to be unique. It may be that others with similar experiences to mine just aren’t saying. In which case I amend this from unique status to rare status.
This word. Geek.
Growing up the word geek never came up. I was never addressed as such. being at the bottom of the social pile in high school pretty much assured that I would hardly even be addressed at all. I was a ghost as much as I could be, having learned that by being invisible I could avoid awkward social interactions. All social interactions were awkward to me.
I was a voracious reader of prose and poetry. I loved art and history, I loved learning. despite this my grades ran from terrible to okay. (until I realized if I wanted to get out of that institutionalized hell I had better get off my ass and get better grades)
So where did that leave me? I wasn’t doing well enough in school to be a nerd. Smart, but unwilling to draw attention to myself. As far as the social cliques of the early nineties school were concerned I and a few others, were nothing. We were more Allison Reynolds and less Brian Johnson. We dungeoned quietly next to each other in study hall occasionally. When school let out for the day, the summer, that’s where I really came alive. Zombie shuffle was cast aside as I dove into music, literature, daydream and roleplaying. Geek? Synonymous with the word nerd, in my mind and so thrown out as useless and not applicable to me.
After graduating high school, the people I gamed with were working class, combat-booted gamers. Coffee drinking, poetry spitting madmen, Long coated, long haired, and wide-eyed. We gamed everything, long and hard, seeking out new rules, ideas, systems and good times. All of us had minimal formal post high school education, a bunch of rogue scholars who learned what we wanted when we wanted. We split our money and time between comics, games, and music. The keepers had let the weirdos out of the petting zoo.
Beatnik artists and Punk rock gamers telling stories with dice and reckless abandon.
The local gaming scene beyond my immediate group was formed into knotted clusters of gamers who drifted into other clusters and back, forming multi-linked groups. A wide-ranging network of eclectic people all linked by the common love of “elf games”.
Looking at it now it seems as if this area was always a sort of gaming badlands, a Road Warrior-like gaming pocket. Everyone played hard but fair. An unspoken agreement to respect everyone while they were at the table. Away from it there were the occasional shots taken at a handful of the tribe that went all steam tunnel. Characters may talk trash to each other, threaten each other etc. The players may even trash talk each other, but if your character was going to die, or the villain needed defeating it was shut up and put up. Save your comrade or slap down the baddie. When games ended for the night everyone walked away in good spirits, nobodies feelings hurt, parting as at least acquaintances with good vibes.
a moment to lament in this nostalgic story it seems as if most of those people have moved on. either physically or mentally, perhaps both.
I have said before that maybe I am the wrong kind of geek. Maybe that’s not the problem. Maybe I am not a geek at all. I am a gamer. I like games. I like things….maybe I am just an avid liker of things. When geek chic became a thing I fell behind this curve maybe. Which brings me to my point and the conclusion of all this rambling. This is why I don’t get things that happen in my social media channels, the extremism. I really don’t. To be clear here, I understand the language and I get the words, I don’t understand why. The thinking behind it seems alien to me. Almost flying in the face of the human experience and common sense. Things you don’t like happen, most likely always will. You don’t make it any better by being an asshole. That’s what happens, people become over-reactionary knee jerk assholes for the most pointless reasons. Lots of cliches apply here, I like “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Two wrongs may draw attention, but often it only draws attention to how much of a dickwad you are.
Extremism and negativity. A bunch of parade pissers ruining everyone’s day. I’m not saying you shouldn’t not like things. I’m not even saying you shouldn’t say you don’t like things. Just that when you do, be prepared to have a civil discussion about why you don’t. If you can’t be civil, sit on your damn hands until you can.