It happens in lots of realms of entertainment, but I know nerds so I’ll focus on them and larp specifically. We’ve all seen it. A friend, a stranger on the internet, we’ve probably even done it personally. Someone enjoys a game for an undefined amount of time, then something s changes. Maybe their tastes change, maybe the runners go in a direction they don’t like, or maybe it’s just not as fun as it used to be. Maybe they just get bored of the playing the same thing for multiple years and want something different or new. Whatever the reasons, they stop attending.
And that’s when the mad starts. Suddenly, the non-stop posts on their Facebook feed about the game they loved turn into a diatribe of everything they hate about it. The creator’s decisions are stupid, they should be hung from the rafters. They’ve either always hated it or they can’t believe what the game runners did to them personally by doing whatever it is they did. They post angry thoughts on the games page, telling everyone that they’re leaving and there’s no reason to ever speak to them again. They become a fountain of negativity, blasting the game at every possible instance. You’re probably picturing someone you’ve specifically known at this point. We all are. It’s to them I’m talking.
Put on your listening ears, little Timmy.
It’s ok to not like a thing.
Statistically, you dislike or don’t care about infinitely more than you do like. All those things you dislike, continue despite you not liking themit.
All through my late teens and early twenties, I played a lot of vampire games. I mean a lot. Every weekend, sometimes two different games in one weekend. I spent hours between events in email chains and scenes at the local diner. I played from when I was 16 until about 26. Around then, I realized I wasn’t having fun anymore. It had become more like a job than a hobby and I found myself sighing when I realized a game was coming up.
So, I stopped playing.
There was nothing wrong with the game or the world or the game runners. I had changed and much like I don’t still wear the clothes I wore in high school, (the genetics that dictate the size of my hips have seen to that,) I wanted different things. It would have been simple to tell the world how much I hated the game, raged against the things in it I didn’t like. Instead, as many of you know, I put the time and energy I used to put into it into a new thing. You’ve probably heard of it, if you made it to this page.
I have an old friend who fits the model of this almost comically. I played games with them back in our teens. I’ve watched them rage-quit no less than 6 games over the decade and change. Every time the game is the worst thing ever created and the new thing is the greatest creation since bread and electricity. They’re definitely not happier for the process overall.
I understand it though. Everyone is the hero in their own story. Realizing you were wrong or the problem feels like shit. Especially gamers, who have grown up loving fantasies of “white knights” ridding the world of an evil beyond fathom. You don’t get into gaming if you don’t like drama of some sort. It’s a lot more interesting to rage against something than to look around and realize “huh, this isn’t fun anymore. Let’s go do something else.” In every story, there is a bad guy and nobody wants it to be them. That’s fine. But be aware of what you’re doing. I wonder how many friendships have been destroyed because someone quit a game, then spent the next six months talking about how much they don’t like it. Is it any wonder that their friends who still play stopped calling them?
I’ll end with advice. Do with it as you will. Next time you realize you don’t want to play a game anymore, just leave. There’s no need for a dramatic Facebook post, or to throw your things on the floor of whatever your game calls the NPC area and declare with fervor that you’re leaving forever. Find something you do like and put all that energy into it. Maybe make something new, that fits the mold of what it is you want. Get really into a new group that’s starting up in your region and support them however you can.
If you play a game and you still love it, but there are things you feel are issues, address them constructively with the runners. That’s not what I’m talking about. But if you look at the calendar, see a game coming up and sigh then that’s probably a good sign that you are robbing yourself of joy. Find something that makes you happy. Look back on the fun you had over the months/years/decades and be excited for the new fun you’re about to have. Invite your friends, who doesn’t like having double the fun? (The answer is, as always, Communists.) You and the world you inhabit will be happier for it.