Changes aren’t permanent, but change is. The more that things change, the more they stay the same. I’m sure there are more Rush quotes but I think that’s good enough.
The RPG hobby has undergone an incredible evolution over the course of its lifetime. Not only have various games evolved with multiple editions being released, The way that games are published and brought to the consumer has changed dramatically. Things like PDFs, Drive-through RPG, print on demand, kickstarter, etc. have drastically changed the way that creators bring their ideas to the marketplace.
Online forums, YouTube, social media groups, and other modern methods of communication have drastically changed how we communicate about the hobby. Information that was amassed only slowly is now available in an instant.
The diversity of games has exploded. There is literally a game about just about anything you can think of. Role-playing game theory has slowly given us a language to talk about and understand the phenomenon, and this is only in its infancy. We have a lot of evolving to do.
How we play at the table has mostly stayed the same, but at the same time technology has given us the ability to play with people from around the world. If it suits your fancy, there are various online tools to replicate maps and miniatures. If you’re like me and don’t really care about that, there are many platforms with which to have a more face-to-face experience.
Gaming groups evolve all the time. We choose to play different games or to change members. The longer we play together the more we learn each other’s quirks and hopefully figure out how to meet everybody’s needs.
At the end of the day my personal experience is my own evolution as a gamer. This has been quite a journey.
From 1981 to roughly 1990 I played essentially one game. After a long hiatus where I attended to the demands of adult life I returned to the hobby somewhere around 2010. I found that my game had evolved, and I didn’t like how it had. I discovered other people who felt the same way who had created their own community. In that community I found many creative individuals who had made their own homunculi of the original game, each one emphasizing a certain part of it.
Leaving the hobby again for a few years I concentrated on something that was very important in real life. Something that changed me dramatically. I evolved.
Returning to the hobby a second time I began to explore various other games. After initial resistance, I became interested in RPG theory. The YouTube channel that I had started around 2011 changed to reflect my new interests and temperament. My interaction with other members of the hobby who shared my interest in exploration and thoughtful discourse continued to direct this evolution. Not only did I play with a new group of people online, but we discussed the games afterwards. We started to develop a culture of play strongly focused on experience and analysis. This is something I enjoy a great deal. But it certainly wasn’t how I entered the hobby.
I’ve also discovered an interesting relationship between events in the fiction, the reaction of my characters and myself to the situations that we encounter, and my own relationship with real life. I have been able to explore concepts that I would not have thought of many years ago.
My evolution continues, and it is a remarkable journey.