Significant others have asked me the fairly predictable question throughout my entire gaming career:
“Why do you keep playing those silly games?”
While that question is meant as a criticism and designed to belittle the roleplaying hobby, it turns out that it’s a very useful question to ask. Why do we keep playing these games?
In her book, “The Functions of Role-playing Games”, social psychologist Sarah Lynne Bowman discusses the answer to this basic query. In short, participants in roleplaying games create community, solve problems, and explore identity.
The question of why we play is fairly obvious from inside the hobby but opaque to anyone who hasn’t really tried it.
Firstly, we play games to create community. Given that this is why I do almost anything I love, it’s no surprise that roleplaying games appeal to me.
We create community, Bowman suggests, through a combination of, “role-shifting, ritual…
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