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Thoughts on RPG player stereotypes.

by Hawke Robinson published Jun 20, 2015 05:05 PM, last modified Feb 05, 2023 12:22 PM
This was in response to some of the comments at the youtube PBS Idea Channel topic on D&D, but of course the very limited 500 characters to respond was insufficient to provide much detail other than just my summarized opinion. Here I hope to elaborate a bit more regarding role-playing gamer stereotypes over the past 30+ years, and the variants I have observed...

While half of the role-playing gamers I knew from the 70's and 80's did NOT fit the stereotype, and about half did, they ranged widely in their eventual professions from becoming lawyers, computer scientists, actors, authors, bankers, etc. to newscasters, jocks (football players, basketball players, hockey players, wrestlers), various blue collar workers (mechanics, welders, plumbers, construction workers, etc), though most were generally more intelligent that average, many did not (other than enjoying RPGs) manifest other geek/nerd related attributes. Most became happy, healthy, successful contributing members of society. And though maybe falling back into the stereotype realm, when I lived and worked in Silicon Valley / Bay Area (California), there were very few of the many successful people I met and worked with there that were _not_ avid role-playing gamers either currently or in their past.

In the past decade or so it has seemed that more of the newer gamers I have met _have_ been closer to the media stereotype. I think this is because of the (artificial) stigma that has been generated over two decades, scaring off those that do not fit into the stereotype.

In the long run, I think it became a somewhat self-fulling prophecy that only “freaks and geeks” play role playing games. I suspect the alienation is purely artificially induced from individuals like Patricia Pulling (B.A.D.D. - Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons), and the pop media providing the anti-rpg extremists with a megaphone to spread their misinformation, rather than anything due to the games themselves. Since role-playing games are by their very nature strongly social cooperative activity, social alienation would be the complete opposite effects of participation in the activity. I've calling it a Gamer Floater Theory. But I'm not yet sure how to turn it into a testable specific hypothesis yet due to the nature of the theory.

I cover much more of this in detail in my analysis of the paper "Analysis of Personalities and Alienation of Dungeons and Dragons Game Players" -

Your comments are welcomed.