26 December 2008

Time to Play

I woke up early this morning thinking about a recent comment. While I don't think the writer meant anything other than "you spend a lot of time at this", somehow I could not get my mind off of it. I do spend a lot of time on games, this is true, and it means a lot to me. But do I spend more time gaming than other people do with their hobbies and activities (like blogging perhaps)? Maybe not.

Gaming means a lot to me. It's a a social activity, an outlet for creativity, and a subject of study.
I meet regularly with friends for a weekly session of Battletech. It's a mixed groups of working professionals, craftsmen, and students. We are not there for drinkin' an smokin' (maybe a little cussin' tho); we are there to play, and to borrow a phrase; a bad evening gaming is better than a good day working. I am a bit unusual in the group because I don't play a lot of games other than Battletech (I do have limited time for gaming), and most of the guys also play other games on a regular basis. (Note aside: I also like computer games, but I find these do not have the same aspect of social interaction, so I don't play them nearly so much. Thoughts?)

A fair bit of my time (likewise many of the guys) goes into game related activity such as painting and assembling miniatures. Working with miniatures is a hobby within a hobby, and a topic for another day, but I love working with minis as much as I like to play. Maybe more. Check some great galleries of Battletech minis at LOTB, and consider the craftsmanship that goes into some of these.
The other creative aspect of the hobby (for me) is writing, and I don't just mean this blog. I've been writing related to gaming on and off for years. This might be writing up a scenario or adventure, describing something I'd like to represent in a game, writing my own game, or working out strategies. Most if this writing isn't interesting to anyone but myself, but I enjoyed writing it all the same. More recently I actually became somewhat organized about recording my game related ideas, and in the process I realized I had something I wanted to say to others (and so here we are).

Finally, I like to study games. I wrote my first computer simulation program when I was 13 or 14 on my Apple II+. Why? Because I wanted to settle an argument about whether it is better in the game Risk for the defender to roll one die or two (short answer: two whenever possible). Little did I know I was actually taking my first steps towards being a statistician, I just wanted to know the best way to play. More recently I decided to really look hard into the mathematics of the game Battletech. Rather than write a program I decided to try to get into the theory behind it. Part of me wonders why I never really tried to apply my skills this way before, but maybe I wasn't ready? What I quickly learned is that I wasn't just studying Battletech, but the math that applies to a whole class of games, sports, and even military studies. I've always loved games, but until recently I never knew they could be so deep.

So now I've rambled on too long and need to get to work. I invite you to post comments on why you like games, why you play them, and what intrigues you about them. How do you spend your play time?
Post a Comment