- Escapism. The town I grew up in is a nice place, but boring. Liverpool is a big, exciting city and is just over the river, but that's far enough away to be too expensive for a kid to go to on public transport on more than a weekly basis. I played a lot of football and cricket as a youngster, but that doesn't provide the same escape.
- Derring-do and adventure. Boys like those things, bears shit in the woods, etc.
- Violence. Boys also like this. An important part of rpgs for my friends and I when we were 12-16 was the combat. No, not an important thing, the most important thing.
- Disapproving parents. I sometimes read stories about people playing D&D with their sons and daughters, which is so completely alien to my experience I just can't envisage it. Moreover, I think the fact that my and my friends' parents would look at the covers of my AD&D rulebooks with raised eyebrows and looks of vague concern was all part of the fun.
- By the same token, older friends. When I was 11 or 12 we gamed with my best friend's older brother (who was probably 14 at the time). It seemed like a hobby for more mature people, which was a good thing.
- Pictures of hot women in the near-altogether. (In the absolute altogether was of course too much to hope for.) Larry Elmore has a lot to answer for.
- The fact that there were a lot of pseudo-rpgs or lite-rpgs or whatever you want to call them around. For example, the Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf adventure game books. They had massive market penetration 15-20 years ago. Not any more, that I can tell.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Inspired by comments here, I've been thinking about what got me into rpgs: