Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing More, Feeling Good

Deep in my cups last night with my visiting buddy, Red from Redbeard's Raving, we came around to talking about the post-game “GM high.” Just out of running a spontaneous face-to-face third run at Mogg's mountain featuring Desert Scribe as the mighty axe-cleaving Kull and Red as the Zamoran rogue Shevatas, I was feeling that familiar and addictive spike of adrenalin after a good session.

Undoubtedly, part of the cycle begins with the jitters of stage fright. (And quite honestly I feel it before every single session even with friends near and dear.) It's an old feeling—much akin to what I remembered of my time decades ago of doing theater—the conquering of which invariably leaves me amped up to 11 afterward with the flush of “performing.”

Feeding it as been a lot of the between-session chatter of the involved players. Each session tends to bring me into contact with new players and all kinds of quirky little “emergent story” by-products have bubbled out of the at-table chaos (more about that Hyborian and Domain player-written madness later).

Even when my evening Google+ sessions run into the wee hours of my much coveted sleep schedule I have tended to keep trying to ride out my buzz around the meta-bull sessions that Zak S. has been hosting under the “Let's Fight about RPGs” banner.

Taking stock, I am a bit taken aback by how deep I have sunk in. Six months ago most of my gaming activity mostly revolved around the once every 3-4 weeks tabletop Hill Cantons campaign. These days between the Google+ Petal Throne, Domain Game II, Conan one-shots, and of course play in other people's worlds, I am playing roughly twice a week: a six-fold increase.

It's a surprise to busy real life me—doubly so since it's been very sustainable. Cutting out the less emotionally satisfying, black hole of computer gaming altogether and the sudden flexibility of being able to virtually run or play in a game whenever I have a few idle hours have opened up more play windows. And with that high back there I keep returning like someone jonesing for black tar heroin.

Point is, I am not trying to beat on the drum again about G+ gaming; it's more of a sudden, broader recognition that there are  benefits to this hobby that I just don't get it out of other interests. There is some indeed method inside my own obsessional madness and that method is something that has felt good and healthy.

I have a feeling that I just might not be alone in this. 


  1. I know what you mean, Chris. Getting out from behind the computer screen more and back to that feeling we used to have rolling dice with your buds after school is done me a world of game. Thanks for being part of dragging me back into it!

  2. Let's hope it's not exactly like black tar heroin! ;) Then again, computer games and gambling trigger the mesolimbic pathway in a similar way to drugs, so why not tabletop gaming? Maybe there's a paper in that...

  3. I tried play-by-forum gaming while I was living in Asia, but it didn't scratch the itch. Computer games are even more empty. Enjoyable, fun, but not as satisfying as interaction with real people.

    I haven't tried G+ gaming, but I've been tabletop gaming pretty regularly since returning home and there's nothing like the interaction of real people in real-time.

  4. @trey
    Right after posting it, I thought maybe black tar heroin would be a terrible analogy when declaiming the supposed healthy effects of increased gaming. Guess I should have gone with my gut haha.

    The surge is definitely like something I have felt when having a hot run on black jack, likely really is something there there.

    My standard disclaimer these days is that Google Plus gaming is about 80 percent as satisfying as face to face.

    The occasional lags, tech problems, and not being in the same room do distract from the overall experience but the video aspect makes it a much richer and more enjoyable experience as compared to Skype gaming.

    All told I will take the trade-off if I can successfully run more games without conflicting with the pressures of my real life.

  5. I didn't know Red was down in your neck of the woods. Have fun gaming. I signed up for google + today and will join you sometime soon