A colleague of mine expresses constant amazement at the fact that I play games I don’t enjoy playing. He keeps asking me why I do this to myself. It is a valid question.

Spite. I do it out of spite.

No, seriously. Partly I think it is because I get annoyed at players who judge a game, often harshly, before even playing it. You have to at least have spent some time in a game before you can accurately judge if the game is good or not1. Games I don’t enjoy, I’ve often spent hours in before giving up on them.

Another aspect is the “oh, but if you haven’t reached this point then you really can’t say anything” people. Individuals who believe that in order for a game to be considered a lost cause, the player will have had to play to a certain point.

Oddly, and in a very gamer culture flavoured cognitive dissonance, a player can say of an unliked game that it is crap without playing it and in the same breath demand that a game be played in full to be able to make judgments provided the game is popular in the other.

I also have to admit that the affliction of “being a woman on the internet” plays a part here.

I’ve been told numerous times that I have no idea what I’m talking about, often in ways that have been quite hurtful. This especially valid in circles I thought were safe, in other words close acquaintances in the same hobby circles. Being told by people you respect that you’re ignorant – for me that hurt a lot. This is mostly why I don’t usually hang out in close knit communities or groups anymore. I know that one way or another they will eventually turn on me and become a pack of ravenous ghouls, trying to pick me apart.2

So I read TTRPGs carefully and if I can’t play them I test out the rules by rolling up characters and setting up scenarios. I play games I hate and I don’t hang out in gaming communities, all to protect myself from hurtful commentary. This despite the fact that I know that most players never finish games or haven’t tried the TTRPG I’m talking about or even read it through.

If anything I am independent. I don’t have to justify myself to anyone, because I have no one to justify myself to. It’s easier and less painful that way.

  1. Or enjoyable to you. A game can still be well done and not be appealing. See God of War as an example in my case.
  2. Sure, you say, that sounds likely. With the risk of sounding pathetic, it has happened to me at intervals in every community around games that I’ve participated. We can discuss whether this is me or if it is a result of the questions I ask, but based on behaviours I think it’s the questions I ask. And yes, it has so far happened in every group that I’ve tried to become a part of.