Daily Illuminator

December 31, 2014: A Gamer Geek In The New Year

Jen, in microcosm.

I blinked. That's the only thing I can think of. I blinked, and the year went by. Last time I really checked, I was out taking picture of bluebonnets, but here it is, December 2014, and with a new job here at Steve Jackson Games, I've been thinking about gaming. Not just gaming through this year, but how much it's influenced my life.

I haven't spent my whole life gaming, but it's been close. My mom made my older brother include me in a D&D campaign when I was 7, and with a few breaks here and there, I've been playing steadily ever since.

I have wonderful memories of time spent with friends around a table piled high with character sheets, dice, pencils, and snacks. I have memories of driving across half of Southern California to play GURPS, or Rifts, meeting at Denny's or Carrow's to play until the wee hours of the morning. Some days those games were the only things I looked forward to: a group of friends who got my weirdness when I was sure I was the strangest thing going.

I have memories of playing a D&D module with my husband while in Germany after his second deployment to Iraq, laughing and throwing dice while downing delicious German drinks and schnitzel and telling "There I Was" stories, comparing our deployments, and dragging real-life patrol experience into our games.

When I have time, I knit dice bags for friends who play, because everyone needs a new dice bag, don't they? Actually, I just finished knitting a new dice bag for me while sitting on a range during annual training for the Texas National Guard and geeking out about the games I was playing . . . to the utter confusion of the soldiers around me.

Although I never did get into World of Warcraft or Diablo or a LOT of the other computer games my friends did, I am an avid Star Wars: The Old Republic player. Our Friday night guild runs are full of laughter, (probably highly inappropriate) humor, and lots of stories.

Even now, outside of my job at Steve Jackson Games, gaming is huge part of my life. We have hundreds of board feet of shelves, all dedicated to roleplaying games of various flavors. My beloved husband is currently running an Exalted game, and we break out Munchkin Panic on date nights.

Gaming has been so much to me. A time to laugh, to be angry, to vent, to giggle, to save the world, to conquer great evil and do great good, to gather with folks who have come to mean the world to me, and just enjoy a pastime together.

So, pass me my dice and let's roll up some new characters! It's been a great year and I'm looking forward to the next one!

-- Jennifer Atkinson

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