I’m a gamer, obviously. I have played video games since I was young, and, as I get older, board gaming is more in the limelight (even though, as I write this, I’m in the middle of playing Hearthstone, lol).
But, I’m also a person who is very into the social justice realm of things. I really work hard in order to make people feel loved, and to help them to live their best life right now. And that’s why I started Open Seat Gaming with Scott. I knew that I wanted to take my time and offer a place where anyone and everyone could feel welcome and able to do things. And in today’s world, that is incredibly important for us to have.
Why gaming, though? Why not some other form of entertainment, like film or music or art? Why have I decided that gaming, above everything else, is the place that I want to focus my time and effort when it comes to working toward a more inclusive story and world?
Well, because I believe that gaming is one of the many keys that will help open the world to how it’s meant to be. Here are the main reasons why I feel this way.
Gaming is honest. Yes, we lie when we’re trying to bluff and whatnot, but that doesn’t mean that we’re dishonest. Gaming is a place where we can be ourselves and feel confident and comfortable with whatever we are trying to do and achieve in the game. We also find that it’s a great place to go ahead and look at what is going on in that regard as well. It takes time, but gaming gives us the opportunity to be who and what we want to be because it relaxes us and makes us a lot less nervous when it comes to how we’re interacting.
Gaming breaks down barriers and walls. Breaking down walls and barriers is never easy. We all get nervous around people who aren’t like us. I sometimes get nervous around people with different political and religious views than myself. Other people get nervous around people who look different than them. But you throw those people around a game and they are suddenly a lot less nervous.
Here’s an example: I moved to Virginia in January, and my partner, Sarah, and I started attending a new church. I am NOT used to people who are from south of the Mason-Dixon line (I’m a grumpy PA native- we’re all grumpy when you compare us to the friendly people in the South). But, let me tell you – gaming made this transition easier. We have had several game nights with friends we’ve made at church and it really has made a difference in how easily that has happened.
Gaming gives people a voice. I used to hate Twitter, until I made my gaming account (@FluffyMeeple if you want to follow me!). I just didn’t feel comfortable trying to use it because it’s a lot more conversational, and I’m usually quite quiet. Now, I’ve been getting involved with the greater board gaming community and learning about all of the awesome people who are in the hobby – and it’s been fantastic! I feel like I have a voice, too, because it has given me the opportunity to meet others and talk about the things that I’m concerned about.
When you make a connection with others and you find like-minded people, your voice magnifies and it starts to make a difference. Not just in gaming, but in matters of justice and other areas as well. And that has been a great experience for me – and I imagine for others in the community as well.
So, yes, this world that we live in can be a scary one, but that doesn’t mean that we have to feel “stuck” in the world that we live in. And I believe that inclusive gaming is the first step in ensuring that we are going to be able to move forward, unified, in a world that is that much better.
Am I an optimist? Well, yeah. Of course I am. I believe in a world that can be better than it is. In my faith tradition (Christianity), this is what is referred to as “mending Creation.” And while gaming can’t save the world, it can save some of us – and isn’t that what matters when we live in a world that is sometimes stressful and scary?
What do you think? How do you feel about inclusive gaming and what do you think could be done to make this into a reality?