I thought I’d start off this puppy by telling you a bit about myself and how I ended up here. As you probably read in my bio (hopefully, you skipped right over my pic), I’m a grad student in Information Technology Management. Basically, that long identifier just means I’m a tech geek that hopes to land a real job when I grow up. Last spring, while studying for exams, I came across a link. (You know, the ones they put in the back of textbooks that say things like, “Would you like to know more?”) I followed the link due to my obsessive nature to know everything I can about a topic so as to avoid any essay surprises on exam day, and found my way to Avault. They just happened to be looking for new reviewers that day.
Games are nothing new for me, as I’ve been playing them since I can remember. I was never any good at the old pizza shop games like (gasp) Space Invaders or Pac-Man, but another accident one Christmas got me hooked for life. There was a stupid little electronic game called Dungeons & Dragons. It was nothing more than a random puzzle with sound effects, but I wanted it, and my doting aunt lovingly obliged. She did not, however, understand I was asking for an electronic game, so the sales clerk gave her something quite different. That Christmas, I received a box. Inside said box were three books, a set of strange looking dice and a green crayon (it was years before I figured out what the darn crayon was for). I smiled, said thank you and went to bed that night very disappointed. Months later, I was bored one day and started reading through the books. The years that followed were filled with adventures I’d never imagined.
There have been many articles written over the years that fantasy gaming can kill, and that violent videogames can harm young minds. Thankfully, my parents didn’t even know what those things were. All they knew was that once a week, they were responsible for hosting game night for my friends and me, and that we played in the basement, rarely made noise and stayed out of trouble.
The games have moved out of the basement and into the living room, and now I’m that parent. The difference is that we play together as a family — everything from Medal of Honor to Dungeons & Dragons and Oblivion to Grabbed by the Ghoulies. If it’s made for four-player gameplay, we’re there. If not, we take turns. The house rule is that if you die, you pass the controller.
We might not be a typical family. I work at home as a writer and go to school, one of my children is home schooled, the other attends private school, and my husband works at a nearby university. We’ve traveled and moved all over the world, but one thing hasn’t changed since before my husband and I were married. Saturday night is game night, and we all play together. Gaming provides a release, and fantasy gaming a creative outlet for young minds. Watch them, yes, but let them play.
For you old school gamers, Saturday, November 3rd is Worldwide D&D Game Day. Check out your local gaming supplier for fun and activities in which the whole family can join.