I have this blog, so it should really be no surprise that I’ve got some sort of fascination with roleplaying games. What’s fairly unique about me and RPGs is how long I’ve been playing them. There are those who have been playing since they were invented. I’m not one of those people. I wasn’t around when they were invented. I have been playing from a very young age, though. Most people seem to be introduced to RPGs in high school or college (their late teens). Some people start a little earlier, like middle school (early teens/tweens). I started in elementary school. Specifically, I started in 3rd grade, which would put me at around 9 years old. Not only that, I started with a fairly complex system: MERPS (Middle Earth Role Playing System) from Iron Crown Enterprises. I was also introduced to Marvel Superheroes around this time, and that was the first game I bought for myself.
I had no concept that such games were new, or considered geeky, or were anything but normal. I did fall in love with them, though. More games followed, as I got my hands on anything that seemed interesting. Top Secret, Torg, Warhammer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun… but I never bothered with Dungeons & Dragons. I can’t really guess at why. A friend who I introduced to RPGs eventually picked up D&D and ran it, and I never had a problem playing it (then again, I’ll play just about anything), but I never had any interest in picking up any of the books or running it myself.
There is a movement going to promote geek pride during the week of September 12-16. Going under the catchy name of “Speak Out With Your Geek Out,” this is something that I wholeheartedly endorse. The idea is pretty simple: during that five day stretch, engage people however you can about your favorite geeky hobby. Or hobbies. No reason to limit it to just one. Someone (I wish I remembered who) commented that, despite the name, this need not be limited to geeky things. I tend to agree. Speak out about whatever you enjoy doing, whatever makes you happy.
The movement was originally the idea of Monica Valentinelli, and it quickly grew beyond her original concept. You can read her original post here, but notice how it’s been edited a few times to incorporate the changes. There’s already talk of making this an annual event, and a blog has been set up in anticipation of next week here. There’s already plenty of interesting articles there, helping people to prep for the week. And of course, there’s a Facebook event and a Tumblr dedicated to helping everyone share their thoughts.
You can bet that I’ll be participating! Keep an eye out here and elsewhere for me to be speaking out about RPGs and other topics. I also strongly encourage you (yes, YOU) to participate as well. Light up Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs and forums all over the place with the things we love and why we love them. Don’t have a blog? Find someone who does who will host something you write. Don’t tell me you don’t know anyone — you’re reading this, and I’ll happily post anything you write about.
But here’s something that I really want to stress, something that I have not yet seen in reference to this cause. Yes, it’s important to speak out and share your loves. But it’s also important to listen to what all the other geeks are gushing about during this time, as well. No one is served if everyone’s too busy shouting from the mountaintop to hear what’s being yelled from the neighboring mountain. Maybe you’ll learn about something you haven’t heard of that sparks your interest. Maybe there’s something you don’t like, but might give a second chance to when you hear someone elegantly explain why it interests them. Geeks can be awfully condemning of things they don’t like. Use this next week as an opportunity to open your mind, just for a few days, and maybe erase some of those ideas that don’t quite fit the reality. Maybe you’ll change your mind about something. Maybe not.