Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why I'd Rather Play D&D, But Don't

I feel like I missed out. I never really tried "classic," pen-and-paper role playing until just last year. Prior to that I had little exposure and never really gave it a chance. But once I did I was hooked!

Unfortunately I was fated to only get a small (albiet delectable) taste. My friends introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons but then orphaned me. Now I wander a dreary wasteland of unfulfilled dreams and scattered tetrahedrons.

I think my favorite aspect of role playing is the freedom. You can be spontenanious, creative, and inventive. There are no rules so hard and fast that they cannot be bent or broken. Although there are books and books (all of which being tomes) of rules, everything is ultimately left up to the GM and the players.

That kind of freedom isn't found in video games. You can try to add it yourself, but it doesn't affect anything. You are just playing your own imaginary game -- the rules are rigid and the environment fixed. And as a programmer I respect the difficulty of trying to make games with increased freedom. The only interaction you get is between other players who are also bound to the game's system.

So all in all, I'd much rather play a role playing game with friends than video games.

But video games have one great allure: they can be played by yourself.

That's the biggest problem I've had. It seems nigh impossible to schedule my own time to really play a role playing game, let alone try to get any friends to commit to such a schedule. Maybe one day I'll get my chance. I know there are some dedicated people who play at the local game stores... but I don't know them. It's much more fun to play with people you know.

So for now, I guess I'll keep playing my video games.