Too old to start gaming?

One of the reason’s the Geek Girl What Rules asked me to blog here is that she’s had a number of people ask her if they were too old to start gaming.  The short answer is:  No.

I was a late blooming gamer for a number of reasons.  When I was younger there were the occasional games of Cribbage and fairly common board/dice games (Yahtzee, Uno, Risk, etc) but nothing on a regular basis and no role playing games at all.  As I mentioned in my first post, I started doing Live Action Role Play (LARP)  just a few months shy of my 31st birthday (12 years ago).  There’s at least one woman in Oregon, I know of, who started LARPing in her late 40’s.  My partner, Ambrose, would LARP with me at local conventions as a way to spend more time with me; he was in his 50’s at the time and had otherwise not done role play.  It’s not something he’s continued to do but no one even batted an eye about him being there or his age.  I know a number of other people in their 40’s and beyond who roleplay of one sort of the other be it Tabletop, LARP, SCA, etc.

Gaming is about having fun and using your imagination.  It really doesn’t matter how old you are.  If you think about it, role playing is just another form of acting.  No one thinks it’s strange for older actors and actresses playing roles Broadway productions, and gaming is another, more accessible, way to play a role for awhile.

In fact, I tend to describe LARP to those who don’t game as being like improvisational theater.  I find it’s easier for them to understand it that way.  I play in Vampire and Changeling LARPs.  I’ve had people ask, in regards to Vampire, if we stand around biting each other or what?  When I explain that it’s more like improv theater and that we explore how we image such a character would interact and survive if they existed – like an alternate reality.  Most of what goes on is player driven – the interactions between different characters with different interests and agendas.  There’s plot added here and there to keep things moving and interesting – more as a catalyst for those interactions and character growth than determining all the action – at least in LARP.  The recent resurgence in popularity of the vampire genre has made the whole thing easier to explain so that others understand – but I digress.

About a year and a half ago, or so, I was invited to join an all girl RPG gaming group.  We play once a month – or at least endeavor to.  We range in age from late 20’s to early 40’s.  We sometimes run months long games and sometimes do one-off games as the mood suits us.  It’s been fun for me to explore other types of RPG games and I find tabletop gaming quite as enjoyable as LARP.

Other friends hold monthly “games day” events where board games of various sorts are played.  The games days I’ve been to have had people from ages 8 to 60 attend them.  I’ve recently been introduced to ‘Animal Crossing’ on the Wii by my roommates.  I’m completely addicted.  I’ve already had to replace the batteries in the Wii controller in less than a week.  *blush*  My family didn’t have the money for video games when I was growing up and no one else in the family was really interested in them (my sisters are 7, 9, and 12 years older than me so there’s a bit of a generation gap when it comes to computers and computer games).  I’ve found that the Animal Crossing game is a nice diversion from the banality and evil that is job hunting in our current economy.  I’ve also had a bad cold, complete with coughing up a lung, and a hurt shoulder so it’s been something I could do while resting.

Yeah, that’s it.

Bottom line – if you want to role play then find folks to role play with and don’t worry about your age.  It’s a creative endeavor and it’s fun and that’s really all that matters.  If your friends give you grief about it, that says more about them than you.  As for family – they may think it strange but they will need to deal.  If it makes you happy and it doesn’t hurt anyone, they can learn to accept it even if they don’t understand it.  Call it a lesson in tolerance of differences if you must.  ;-P

8 thoughts on “Too old to start gaming?

  1. I actually had to go looking for a game group and sign up with older people than me when I came out of college. I am generally the youngest person in my gaming group almost every night (we have an occasional visitor who is younger than me, but only by a hair).

  2. I haven’t rolegamed regularly since I was in the Navy. I do miss it sometimes.

    I joined into a board game night awhile back, at a Meetup event. I wonder whether any of the other members of the local Meetup chapters would be interested in RPGs….

  3. @Greg – In Seattle, the Camarilla LARP group has, at this point, a majority of it’s gamers in their 30’s and older with some in their 20’s. It’s always good to have new players bringing their perspective though I wonder how many drop out because they feel weird playing with a bunch of older players…

    @Dr. Psycho – there’s only one way to find out. 🙂

  4. I have found that playing with older players actually reduces my anxiety because I feel like I am part of a community that extends in front of me as well as behind. If I was the oldest person, I would worry that I actually am “getting too old for this childish stuff” like my father always claims about me. Older people confirm my position that RPGs are a life-long hobby.

  5. @Greg – Yay! I reject the notion that one is ever too old to use their imagination and have fun. I’ve said to friends that if/when I’m a “blue haired old lady” my hair will be electric blue or something…

  6. @Greg – Oh cool! Thanks for sharing. More food for thought there. What I find interesting is that people sometimes find it weird I play RPG’s but watch very little TV. It implies one activity is more acceptable than another and there’s no good reason for it that I’ve found yet.

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