My writing career has been intertwined with games since day one. Games have been part of my life for years – even as a child, games were popular in my home. My parents regularly bought games for us kids for Christmas, and we sat around the kitchen table playing Chutes and Ladders and Hi-Ho Cherry-O until I was old enough to handle more complex games like Battleship, Monopoly, variations of rummy and other card games, Yahtzee, Stratego, and many, many more.
I discovered Dungeons and Dragons during a school break when pre-teen me was spending a week with one of my brothers in the Big City. A college roommate of his had picked D&D up on a whim and was looking for people to help him try it out. We spent what seemed like hours creating characters, then he ran them through the adventure module included in the box (for those of you die-hard D&D fans, it was adventure B1: In Search of the Unknown.) Long story short, both our characters died after one trap and a single encounter with some hungry giant rats. Still, that very small sample had been enough to convince me that this was a game I wanted to play again, and to learn more about. Before I did, the news became filled with stories of D&D’s satanic influences, and my parents were suspicious of my interest. My mother even specifically told me not to buy a copy, but being a willful child, I bought it anyway.
Eventually they came around, realizing it was no more satanic than any number of religious texts. It’s true demons and devils were presented in one of the books, but as adversaries to overcome, not deities to worship. The effects of this “satanic panic” linger even today: hide-bound parents and preachers of numerous denominations feeling the need to exert their influence over someone continue to decry D&D’s “evil” influences.
I also discovered the simple pleasures of boardgames. An excellent vehicle with which to socialize, boardgames allow groups of people to spend time together in a way that doesn’t necessarily involve drinking alcohol, or forcing everyone in the room to watch sports even if they aren’t interested. I have many favorites, and quite a few that I turn to over and over to while away the hours or to introduce new people to one of my favorites.
It’s sadly true that a game doesn’t have to be good — or original, for that matter — to find success. Conversely, there are far too many good games that failed because they didn’t get enough traction in the marketplace for any number of reasons – too expensive, takes too long to play, or the concept or package art just didn’t capture peoples’ imagination. I’ve written posts before highlighting a few of my favorite games: here’s a link to one such article: http://billbodden.com/2016/05/23/summer-game-recommendations/ As far as I know, all the games listed in that post are still readily available. Buy one at your favorite local game store and try it out!
Games have been a major part of my life, providing entertainment, extra income, and very rarely even a pat on the back for my effort. While I will never NOT write for games, I hope to work my way a little further into the fiction field in the coming year.