It’s the people.
The long and the short of it is that I like the people I meet through gaming. Maybe I don’t like everyone I meet, but of the people I meet and I like: gamers.
Allow me to illustrate:
I met my closest friends in high school during a class play. The whole play takes place in a stuck elevator. I am the pushy book salesman. I need books as props, so I jam some of my AD&D books into the bag I’m using. During breaks a couple of the other guys in the play start going through the books and looking at the pictures and they want to play. We play that weekend. We play every weekend thereafter until we graduate, three years later. Although we all had a number of extra-curriculars, in essense, the group consisted of the state weightlifting champion for his weight class, three of the starting line for our football team, and one dedicated acting guy. I didn’t get a lot of geek grief in high school.
In college, my roommate for the first semester (a friend from high school) wanted to party more than me and moved in with another friend who felt the same. My new roommate walked in wearing a short mohawk, an Opus t-shirt, and camoflage pants. We talked for hours and hours. He was gaming with me a few weeks later (first time I’d played since high school), though he never had before, and he was always like a brother to me.
There weren’t enough gamers running into each other in college, so I founded a roleplaying student activities group and got us listed in the guidebook so we could have a booth at the fall activities fair. I met pretty much all my college friends through that group, or as friends-of-friends in that group. That summer, we started a gaming convention. That was in about ’92. Both the Student Org and the gaming convention are still active at the campus today. The first girl to come up to our booth that first year had never played an RPG before. I put her into a ‘newbie’ campaign of Warhammer FRPG that I was starting up (this was De). She played all year. The next summer, she and I ran into each other and got to talking about a new game: Amber DRPG. She joined the game when I started it. So did this other friend of mine that I knew through the Gaming Club (Lee). They started dating. They are now married with a little girl, and live about an hour from me in Colorado Springs (we both moved to Colorado at different times). We usually see each other every few weeks or so.
I *think* I first read Jae Walker’s name on a Star Wars mailing list back in ’92 as well — she may even have been moderating it. I’ll meet her this weekend at Forge Con — fifteen years later.
I met Jackie through softball… which I got into at the prodding of a friend of mine in college, who wanted me to get out of the house more. HIM, I met through gaming (Star Wars), so that connection’s a bit tenuous, but there.
In Denver, I went about two years without gaming or really knowing anyone local. Finally I got fed up and posted a ‘gamers wanted’ ad in the FLGS. I also solicited for players in the Denver area on the Amber Diceless mailing list, then hounded respondents until they finally showed up to play. Randy responded to the ad. Rey and Julie and MTFierce and I became aware of each other’s Denverness via the mailing list. That would have been in about 1996, I think. Randy is still gaming with me. Rey and Julie were regulars until they moved to Austin. MT and I exchange emails and participate in group writing stuff together and will, I swear, will eventually be in a regular game.
Through Randy, I met Dave and Margie — then, they were new additions to the Amber game I was running; now, they are touchstones of sanity in my life.
Lori I met at a gaming convention here in Denver. A few weeks later she met Dave G (whom she married) — a worker friend of mine who got into games with Rey and me after killing hours on the helpdesk we worked, talking about them.
I met Kate via the City of Heroes MMO, kinda. Played in the same groups in the game, really, and met because of writerly things, but those stemmed from the game initially as well.
Her roomate is a member of NYC Nerds — he’s one of my groomsmen now (Dave is the other). Iskander is one of her friends also, and an NYC Nerd person, and also who I’m rooming with at Forge Midwest. Two of her other gaming friends, plus her roomate, run a tiny little RP-based WoW Horde guild with me. We laugh a lot on ventrilo.
And last week, I ran a Conspiracy of Shadows chargen session that will become a “one movie long” series for a couple guys in Denver who found me via Nearby Gamers. We have alot in common, those four guys sitting at the table. A lot. That group has a mutually-supportive guy-energy unlike any I’ve ever participated in.
In my life, the people I’ve become friends with via routes other than gaming are the rarities: unique, if not non-existent.
I meet my friends through games. How could I not love em?