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Games are useless

O Updated
There Will Be Games

"Music is the least utilitarian of the classical arts. A painter is bound by the same medium whether he is working on his magnum opus or touching up the weather stains on an old fence, a writer is bound by the same medium whether working on a novel, poem, or a construction sign. But music servers no utilitarian purpose. It is entirely useless and that is why I love it."

- Ralph Vaughn Williams

"No I ain't doin much. Doing nothing means a lot to me"

- Bon Scott

Games serve no purpose. Sure, people might try to reason that they are good for your memory, they stave off alzheimer's, increase people's social skills, etc.. But this is just so much high fallutin' reasoning and I would garuntee you that there are other activties that are better at every one of these things. We don't need a reason to play games. No one needs to justify their love of boardgames to the world or indeed, even their friends. It is essentially an anti-social activity in my mind.
What! Anti-social. Isn't that boardgames greatest strength that they are an inherently social exercise.
Really? How many boardgame fans have you met? When we play games in our game group a number of people aren't invited because they don't like boardgames and would just slow us down, because they don't have the right gamer attitude, because the games we have planned for that night are only good to four players...

There is something inherently anti-social about this activity and I think all boardgame fans know it. They like to defend their hobby by trying to claim that these games are much more then they actually are. But it's bullshit. The number of threads I've seen at BGG about "how to get non-gamers into gaming" proves to me that most people don't like boardgaming. I just saw one the other day about how this one dude couldn't get his family to play Carcassonne because it was "too long". There's nothing wrong with these people. They don't like the game. So what? I don't begrudge or judge people for not "getting" boardgames or thinking that TTR is overly complicated. That's a perfectly fine opinion and apparently relevant to the majority of humans.

That's fine. I don't give a shit about the growth of the hobby. Let the kids play video games and troll the web. Let them hang out in the Encyclopedia Dramatica forums, let them watch superhero movies. Things change, time waits for no one. Everyone knows this. Are boardgames really so important that they need to be preserved? Is it that crucial an activity to the human race.

Not a fucking chance.

There is a beauty to death. Sure many people talk about how unfortunate it is that this or that animal is now extinct or about how unfortunate it is that the Mayan's were obliterated from the face of the earth. But I really think there is a romantic attachment to each one of theses things because they are gone. They obtain mythical status. Set (the anceint boardgame) is fascinating because no one knows how to play it (not for sure anyway), the dodo is more famous now then it would be if it were still alive and humping and I'm ok with this. It is the natural order of things to dissapear and go extinct. Blame nature. When I'm old(er) and I look back and there's hardly anyone left playing boardgames I'll revel in being the last of a dying breed, in the same way that I revel in being the first of a birthing breed in videogames (I had Pong, Colleco Vision, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Saturn... and now an xboxb 360).
So you won't see me getting all beant out of shape about whether or not there are popular hobby games on the shelves at Target or Wallmart, you also won't see me praising FFG for bringing out Civ the Boardgame because "it's bound to draw non-gamers in with such a popular IP!!". But I may do it if the game is good, simply because it's good and for no other reason.

What's the point of all this? Boardgames are not art, they're just entertainment and that is not a dirty word. They don't need to be art, they don't need to be anything other then entertainment because they are great at what they do and that word "art" is loaded with too much history. We are the entertainment generation, so why not embrace it?
Why do people feel the need to prove that these games are usefull or artistic? I think it's because they can't accept that their interest is in an essentially useless activity that very few people give a shit about. When I work with my band and we're playing some ancient folk piece I am hesitant to call it art unless we really do something fucking awesome with it... why the hell would I give the same name to my session of Runewars on Sunday? Which was the best session of RW yet incidentally (constant combat and a very dynamic power struggle)... but still a complete waste of time. I wanted to practice but the guys wanted to play. Fair enough. I like both.

It was a great way to waste a day.

So, don't begrudge people for not liking boardgames. Let them eat cake. Don't try to justify your silly geeky hobby by trying to make it cool, or relevant, or artistic. Revel in it's uselessness, it's a great feature!
Nothing is a great activity.

No, I ain't doin' much. But doin' nothing means a lot to me.

There Will Be Games
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