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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:40am on 31/08/2011 under , , ,
I read this interview with David Graeber and was fascinated by the history of debt, debt forgiveness and how money entwined itself in society from the earliest settled times.
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Because all the cool kids are doing it: my gaming DNA. )
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[livejournal.com profile] brianrogers here asks us to reminisce about our first encounters with role-playing and/or D&D, in tribute to the late Gary Gygax.

Unlike many gamers of my vintage I suspect, I didn't find gaming through D&D, at least not at first. We'd just moved over to Paris from Dublin as my father's job took him to the Irish Embassy there after a spell at home (1978-82 in Dublin). This meant I was taken out of secondary school at home after the 1st year and ended up in an American-style high school 9th grade in St. Cloud, outside Paris. It was all a bit confusing and all I really remember of my first year at school was loneliness, reading books at lot during breaks and finally discovering friends through gaming either late in '82 or early in '83.

My very first exposure to role-playing games, I think, was in a games shop in a shopping arcade (remember them?) off the Champs Elysees in Paris sometime in late 1982, where I saw, and wheedled my parents into buying, SPI's Dragonquest. Shortly afterwards I also bought Universe, also from SPI, and was hooked. Basic D&D followed within the month, and through that I met the friends who saw me through high school: Sean Crowell, Phil and Sean O'Connor and later Phil and Matt Shedlick.

We played D&D and Runequest, dipping our toes in lots of other games in the glorious mid-80s explosion of games, but always coming back to our two old favourites. I was GM for the most part, and don't really have any 'favourite PC' stories of my own to relate, though I remember the exploits of many of the PCs with fondness. It's something like 25 years since those early games, and I don't know if I'll ever capture the thrill and excitement of them in role-playing again. I've discovered other aspects of the hobby that appeal to me, and other ways of role-playing that never occurred to me all those years ago, but those early experiences set me on a path I've happily trod ever since.

Like [livejournal.com profile] brianrogers said: "My job is what pays me. Gaming is what I do."
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Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mytholder for pointing me at geek-archaeology, a series of articles by Robert MacDougall on the history and pre-history of the gaming hobby. I particularly like the most recent post, which draws together the RAND corporation, war games and The Compleat Strategyst: Being A Primer on the Theory of Games of Strategy by John D. Williams (a book I've read and enjoyed), as the fertile environment in which the earliest role-playing experiments began.

My favourite bit from the article:

After a few years, the RANDies moved away from gaming, finding it too time-consuming and intense. “Even short periods of game activity elicit a considerable drain on intellectual capital and resources,” read one 1956 report–which is code, judging from my own experience, for “eventually, the RAND analysts got girlfriends.”

It was ever thus.

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