Recently on a message board that I frequent, someone posted this really awesome picture. In one column, there was a photo of what an adult sees. The other was a photo of what a kid sees.
For example, an adult sees a bed. A kid sees a trampoline. Kids are able to use their imaginations to create fantastical situations and play. That’s what adults do when they game! I suppose it’s a little less so for those who play video or computer games because you’re playing in a world that’s already established. You’re at the mercy of the designer of that world and can only perform the actions allowed. However, with tabletop role-play and LARP, your imagination really is the limit.
I recently wrote about how Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire Darkages is one of my favorite gaming systems. I love how it generally follows real life and history (if that’s what the Storyteller wants to do, that is). I’m currently running a Darkages game for a group of friends which started off in Carthage shortly after the second punic war. Why do I love this so much? Because I can not only play around with my love of the ancient world, but my imagination can stretch by creating the things that brought different myths and fables into being.
And as a player, I get to be anyone who I want to be such as a sneaky, selfish rogue or a very philosophical vampire from 16th century India. My mind gets a workout by trying to overcome obstacles and puzzles that the DM, and other players, throw into my path. I also get to tell a story both in my character’s background and verbally. When you think about it, playwrights, screen writers and authors do the exact same thing right? I just do it for fun!
While you don’t have to stretch your imagination as much with video, card and board games the fact is it’s a break from the real world. For a little while we get to be part of a little social group that has the same interest as us. We don’t have to worry about the next paycheck, what our government is doing, or feeding the dog. All we have to do, for a little while, is either cooperate enough to win a game or outsmart our friends and family.
So are games just for kids? Not these types!