When I was a child, I spake as a child, thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. But I got them out again when the occasion arose.
To wit, this past Saturday my girlfriend introduced me to her Dungeons & Dragons group, and we rolled me up a gnomish sorcerer so that I could join.
(His name is Tymanthaler Tam, but there are some who call him ... Tym.)
It was the first time since March of 2000 that I'd rolled a d20. The rules of the game have changed in almost eleven years (twice, actually -- it was Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Ed. back then; now we're on to Dungeons & Dragons, 4th Ed.) and the advent of both home computers and MMORPGs have clearly had their effect.
But it's still the same old nerdy game that I fell in love with, the granddaddy of them all. It's still the one with the multi-sided dice and the rules for every possible event. It's still the one that steals ideas from Arthur and Elric with equal gusto. It's still the one that a few damaged individuals periodically take to extremes and bring unwanted and unwarranted media attention and Middle American excoriation as The Devil's Own Game down upon.
I'm glad to be back.
This new group is different, too. Back when I first played, I played with other guys my age (that is, junior high and high school). We were young, we were immature, and we were dysfunctional. The people I played with on Saturday range in age between 25 and 40, have at least one college degree apiece and work experience in various fields, and some are married and have kids; there's still a little immaturity, naturally, but I think that's what it takes to be a gamer.
Everyone takes the game seriously ... but not too seriously. Which, I think, probably makes the biggest difference.
I can't wait to play again.
I <3 my nerdy gamer girlfriend, for introducing me to this group and for a thousand other reasons. I win. I win so hard.