07 August, 2005

Hogwarts School Of Move On Already

When I was in High School there was a guy from my church who was actually famous through most of the northern half of Indiana. He played Dungeons and Dragonsavidly, often giving over entire weekends to the game. I know this isn't uncommon, and I confess to having gamed with his group a time or two myself. However, this guy went to work and classes as his character and was excused from activities for several weeks due to an injury he suffered. In character. More specifically, he himself was not injured, yet his character was. He walked with a limp for months because of the assault to his in-game persona. When I would tell people my home town, alma mater or planned college, I would invariably get a "Do you know Avid Gamer Guy?" His legend grew, and the apocrypha surronding his actions grew with it. Before long I was hearing tales of him being excused from the army because he showed up for his enlistment physical in character. To this day people in my hometown talk about him offering his character's service to the FBI and CIA.

In my mind this man will always serve as the benchmark for taking involvement in fantasy too far. In the thirty-two years of my evolution to nerdqueen status* I have had several personal geek milestones of my own. I've spent hours typing BASIC games into my Commodore 64 from the back pages of PC Magazine. I've been eaten by more grues and tormented by more Frobozz Wizards than most people. I've dressed up to see Star Wars movies and had a crush on Mr. Spock. I've fallen in love with Sherlock Holmes the person as well as the body of work and I've seen CATS four times. I started hanging out on the "Net" via VAX in 1989, back when it was all geeks in UseNet fighting over glass flow, and grieved when September came to the webworld without leaving. My first date with my husband was to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, where I went costumed as a female Riff-Raff.

I will not, however, repeat NOT wear a black armband in mourning for the character who has died in the latest Harry Potter book. I'm sad that this character has taken the tumble over the Wizarding Reichenbach Falls and I'm kind of sorry that this character will not be in future books. I get that most of the people who are doing this are teenagers and have to make their own nerdly pursuits, what with BASIC being out of vogue and all. I just can't see dressing in "morning" (as the promoter of this idea suggests) for a literary character. Although those of you who are may want to use it to try for an excused absence from gym class. Worked for Avid Gamer Guy.


At 10:34 PM, August 07, 2005, Blogger Tim W. said...

Hi Katherine,

*hand raised* I attest to being a pen-and-paper RPG nerd back in the early '80s. My pals and I played all the TSR games, not just AD&D (note that I added the "A" in there). However, I'm grateful to report that I never fell off the edge with those games, to the best of my knowledge.

I also can relate to the BASIC programming with the C64. However, I don't think PCMag was around then. Check the Wikipedia article on the C64: I used to DEVOUR Commodore magazine and Compute! magazine and spend hours typing in and debugging those BASIC programs.

Take care,

At 11:16 PM, August 07, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I knew I'd get that wrong somehow!

You do know the magazine I mean? The one that would have 20000 lines of code in the back for each little game?

Man, I lost many a day to that. Still can't get people to grasp what was so satisfying about it all.

At 12:23 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous John Mora said...

"More specifically, he himself was not injured, yet his character was." That had me /actually/ laughing out loud. I need to try this sometime.

Cheers on your C64ness. As a kid, I got the "dancing mouse" sprite thing working after about eight hours. That was probably the last time I tried programming on the C64. I was content to do the whole,

10 print "this place sucks"
20 goto 10

on the computers at the department store after that.

At 7:58 AM, August 08, 2005, Blogger Michael said...

Goodness...the comments about the Avid Fantasy Gamer guy just made me giggle...

Like you, I realize there are extremes to every fandom. And while I love my sci-fi/fantasy, fictional obsessions (and let's face it--a grown man who watches Dr Who and eagerly downloads new eps from the Internet becuase he's too impatient to wait a year to see them! and bought a DVD player so he could have all of origianl Star Trek in a commercially released, unedited format can't throw many stones) I also realize that there is a point at which the fantasy ends and reality begins....

Oh sure, there are some days I don't...but most of the time I do.

I know a guy in a on-line Dr Who group I'm in....he got married. And the night of his wedding, while waiting for his bride to be ready for....well, you know, flipped around and found a repeat of Dr Who on. Let me emphasize he'd seen this story and had it on DVD and VHS. But he made his new wife wait while he finished watching it. And hten bragged about this to the group....

At which point, I wondered if he was ever going to have marital relations EVER or if she was filing for an annulment...LOL

At 12:41 PM, August 08, 2005, Blogger P. K. Nail said...

*sigh* I love nerds, and I consider myself to be a nerd. But I do my best not to publicize my nerdliness out in the real world. I just don't want to deal with the questions. Adults shouldn't have to be put in the position of explaining that they're mourning the death of a fictional wizard. Did people do this back in the 1960s for Gandalf? In the 1970s for Obi-Wan?

Besides, I think I did my bit for said character's death by drinking a toast to him with several of my friends right after reading Book 6.



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