Odd thoughts on gaming

I have a shelf of old board and card games in my bookshelf.  It's made me think a bit about the geekonomy.

A lot of these games I have are a mix of casual games (the old Dr. Who boardgame.  No, seriously), and more committed ones (say, Iron Dragon).  I recall in the last few weeks seeing an article on what casual gaming is doing to the non-electronic game set.  It's really not something I've thought of.

In fact, I doubt it's something that crosses anyone's minds much these days.

It's strange though to think that these games, some of which I've had gof roing on two decades, were in a way social games – in that you pretty much HAD to have people to play them.  No AI, no playing at a distance.  You got together BECAUSE you had to do play it.  But people came together for games.

We've had plenty of games people can play solo for years – solitaire, videogames, etc.  But as technology has grown . . . we're back at social games now.  Facebook games take the place of simple card games, MMO's replace or partially replace the D&D group.

I'm thinking the age of solo games has been, well . . . an exception to the rule of human life.

In fact, the more I think of it, even the solo electronic gaming had manuals, gaming groups, 'zines, and the internet quickly brought game sites.  Electronic gaming's "solo" age was perhaps two decades or so, at best – and that's over with in an age of downloadables, social media, game sites, and more.

Gaming is about people and people are social.  The age of the lone, isolated gamer and his or her console was a short one in the scheme of things, and probably more stereotype than reality ever.  Social gaming just goes back to what happened when my friends and I sat down and played a bunch of Iron dragon.  We just have electronic ways to do it.

Just some thoughts on an industry.

– Steven Savage