Monday, April 23, 2012

Technology Sucks...

...the life out of social interaction. While there are plenty of awesome things about blogs, web forums, Facebook, G+, Twitter (okay, there's nothing good about Twitter whatsoever), the mere fact that it stands as a barrier between truly socializing with other people means it sucks. For instance: G+ rpgs. Beats the hell out of not playing at all, right? But there's definitely something much more compelling and satisfying about table-top play that cannot be duplicated over the internet.

I watched this video a few days ago:

While this dude reminds me exactly of the type of person who probably watches way too much porn on the internet, he has a good point: all this virtual non-interaction replaces true physical contact with other people and really fucks up your ability to act like a normal person in society. A bunch of websites have popped up using his talk as their basis, which tells me a lot of dudes need to go outside more often...

Anyway, I'm not saying I hate technology, but it really does seem to impede people. When I was a kid, you'd walk down the street and say hello, sometimes people would say hello back, sometimes they'd sneer. Regardless, there was some form of interaction. Now when I'm walking around campus, for instance, EVERY SINGLE PERSON is on their phone. Every single one. Texting or talking or playing games or listening to music or whatever. No eye contact, no greeting, might as well be fucking robots. This is somewhat disturbing to me to say the least. Go to a bar, every one is on their phone doing the same shit. Why even bother going anywhere to hang out with your friends if you're just going to play video games or text some random girl the whole time? I'm the first to admit I've done this before, which is why I started leaving my phone in the car or my backpack when I'm doing anything. The distraction is enough to make me anti-social even though I have a reasonable amount of social skills. They're slowly being depleted, however, through the use of technology.

Forums are the worst; people are incredibly argumentative and idiotic in the extreme. In reality, they're mostly normal. Well, normal for nerds, I suppose. But the most aggressive individuals on forums tend to be the sorts of people who'd never say anything in public for fear of ridicule. It's way too easy to sit behind a keyboard and pump out stupidity in massive quantities when no one is around to call you on the carpet.

Going back to the G+ games, that seems to be the way of the future, and I can't say I enjoy the prospect of never again sitting around a table in a friend's basement, rolling dice and drinking ridiculous quantities of Mountain Dew. The internet is a wonderful tool for meeting new people and sharing ideas, but it's not really social, at least not in a way that allows true friendships and relationships to develop.

I know no one reads this blog, but I'm asking all of you to make it a goal next month to meet at least one other gamer, in person, and drink a beer or whatever. This hobby is full of quite a few of the most sociopathic assholes in the world, but some of you must be normal people with normal lives. Seek out other normals who like rpgs and interact with them, in person. And turn off the fucking phones.


  1. I couldn't agree more -- but then I'm a guy who's never owned a cell phone or other mobile device, so I'm clearly a Luddite.

  2. Actually up until recently I have only ever played with a group around a table ( and still do every week), But my friends in Boston, DC and London have all been wanting to play with me again and it just never seemed we were going to be in the same place long enough to play. I kept waiting for someone else to get something off the ground and just decided to do it myself. So, modeled after Gregs Red Box Niagara site, I set up a blog, set up a campaign, house rules, miniatures, dungeon sets, the works then I sent my introduction to everyone and said we were all going to meet online and play. So far its been good. There have been a bunch of technical issues using Skype but other than that its going well. ( Of course the other issues that have come up are with regard to running the game itself- but if you care at all about that you can read it on my blog). I start my game at 10 am on Saturday to accomidate my friend in London for whom it is 6pm and we all play for about 4-5 hrs.
    I hear your point about the direction of online gaming, and I hope it never goes that way since for me gaming is about the social activity of playing wiht my friends (which is why MMORPGS never interested me- they bore me). But in this particular situation it was a good way to game with long time friends I rarely get to see and run Old School for them because None of my players or anyone I know will ever play anything but 3rd/pathfinder/4th).
    I think some of this may be a generational thing as well- but guess time will tell. I hope we dont loose the days of sitting around eating Funions and Drinking Mt Dew...

  3. Perhaps now, may I cash in the benefits in living in a smaller, more "booney" sort of community. Our group always finds time for a game in the dungeon/man cave/basement every week, and usually follow a stern no-phone policy when the gaming is in progress.

    I can also safely say I've not once played a G+ game, partially because I lack a web-cam for the social-ish element. Not that I wouldn't if deprived of any other method of gaming. I don't see the glamor of playing solitaire.

    Otherwise, we're screwed and we all know where our society is heading, unless something dramatic kicks its ass in a new direction.

  4. Oh yeah, you're not the only one who fears for the future, trust me. Social skills are definitely in decline. I'm trying to fight that tendency in my own kids. I get them away from TV and other electronic devices as much as I can each day. Hopefully they'll be running circles around their peers in the personality department for the majority of their lives.

  5. Well, happily I've met more gamers in person in the last couple years than I have since college, and we play, in person, weekly.

    I totally get the technology overload. I used to have a Blackberry and gave it up when I realized that I was reading freaking email and blogs all the time.

    I don't think I'll ever play via Google plus or whatever. Tried Fantasy Grounds four years ago and it was not the same...even with mostly people I played with in person. But luckily I think I'll have to option to play in person for the forseeable future.