I am a member of a college fraternity. Yes, I am! And I’m a girl. See, it’s a co-ed fraternity, and it’s got quite the diverse membership. We’ve got theater kids and government majors and engineers and aspiring writers and computer science folks. If there’s one thing that unites us, though, it’s a love of gaming.
Games of any kind. I’ll give you the overview. We’ve got five or six members who play MW2 almost obsessively. We’ve got other members who play Brawl together all the time. We’ve got several Dungeons and Dragons games going on during any given term. We’ve got several hundred board and card games, including Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, a bunch of Avalon Hill games, Diplomacy, The Arkham Horror, Settlers of Catan—all the good stuff. We’ve got board-game addicts, and we’ve got casual players who almost never play. We’ve got Jungle Speed, and we’ve got house members who have Jungle Speed scars. One of our officers plays Hearts of Iron for what seems like several hours every day, usually while watching television. Though we’ve all got different levels of interest in gaming– a few members have almost zero interest– there’s definitely a strong pro-gaming atmosphere here. Every term we host a weekend-long games ‘convention’ called Dartcon where we sit around until four in the morning playing Ticket to Ride and stuff like that. It’s excellent.
Anyway, I’ve become kind of an indie gaming resource—I like digging up neat indie PC games that other house members will enjoy. When I turned up in our living room with Sleep is Death this past weekend, I knew that there would be people around willing to play. And there were. It was excellent.
And because I know there’s an interest, I’ve been holding Indie Games Hours there. I’ve done two so far, and I plan to do more in the future. Generally, we meet in the house with our laptops and pass them around, running, say, Space Giraffe (didn’t go over so well), or Mount and Blade, or Torchlight, or something. I also want to do a MAME day at some point in the future—I’d zip together a pack of roms, have them all download MAMEUI, and email everyone the zip. And I want to organize a TF2 orgy, or something—it would be great fun to do our own kind of half-LAN, all sitting in the living room together, shooting each other in the face. So far, my Indie Games Hours have been classified as recruitment events– we understand that playing games together can be the best way to meet someone. You can get to know someone through game-playing almost better than any other method of socialization, except, maybe, for getting drunk with them. There are people in the house who like to do both simultaneously.
I want to learn about other real-world gaming communities. I was never really sentient during the grand age of LAN. Prior to joining this house, most of my experiences gaming with friends consisted of the Friday-night Age of Mythology matches I’d play with pals in middle school– a bit remote, and a bit isolated. But things are different now. Anyway, tell me about what you do. I don’t want to hear about your clan. I want to hear about the people you eat with, the people you live with, or go to the movies with—the friends whose faces you know. What do you guys do? How dead is the LAN? Do you play board games with the same folks you play TF2 with? Do you still play the old games you played together as kids? I once read somewhere that word of mouth is the biggest seller for AAA games, even over reviews—but what about indie games? Do you talk about them with your friends? Do you play them with your friends? Here at my fraternity, we’ve got a few members who sit down together regularly to play Realm of the Mad God! This is basically magical, to me. It’s marvelous.
What about you guys?