Monday, December 12, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons Dichotomy


I recently took part in a discussion about playing "Skyrim" which involved a young college student (female), a high school student (male), and myself.  We talked for a good while about various game-playing adventures, glitches, and general mayhem we've each taken part in while playing the game.  Then, a comment (made by the female college student) out of the blue: "Yeah, he and his friends are all playing D&D. (Dorks!)"  (I put "Dorks" in parentheses because I cannot remember the exact word used, but that was general gist).

And, thus enters the dichotomy: It is apparently COOL to play Skyrim, but DORKY to play Dungeons and Dragons.  Until this comment came out of the college student's mouth, I hadn't really separated the two.  I mean, aren't they basically one in the same?  There are dungeons, dragons, magic, swords, and sorcery in both games, right?  So, what, then *IS* the difference?

I'm going with perception. Perhaps, D&D as seen as VERY 'old school nerdy.'  Or maybe the fact that there is a group of people playing rather than a single person playing.  Maybe it is the whole experience of D&D: sitting around a table, rolling dice, acting things out.  I don't know.  I played D&D as a 5th Grader and played off-and-on through my freshman year in college.  I don't know how most people play the game, but everyone I ever played with really never "slipped" into our character modes.  It was very much like we were simply acting on behalf of the imaginary people we had written on paper.  In a way, it was much like playing "Skyrim" on the computer.

Perhaps the perceived "dorkiness" of D&D comes from the fact that is is all (er, okay, mostly) pencil and paper and dice.  I mean, there are no cool graphics, no multi-voiced character actors as NPCs (unless you are playing with a very talented pool of people), and no sound effects (refer to previous parenthetical comment) when playing ye olde pen-and-paper D&D.  You have a group of people sitting around a table, talking, rolling dice, drinking sodas (or whatever), and (GASP) interacting with each other!  Yeap, truly old school stuff.

I don't really have a solid answer so much as a very puzzling question: Why is playing "Skyrim" COOLER than playing D&D?  Hmm... Thoughts, comments?

5 comments:

  1. Because Skyrim is now. D&D is what their parents played.

    I started with Chainmail and then D&D. I migrated towards Tunnels and Trolls (for the humor and the solo play). I also liked Metagaming's Melee and Wizard. Then I found SGJ's Car Wars.

    Now see what you've done? Like the Little River Band, I'm reminiscing.

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