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> The graying of Shadowrun, where are the kids??
The graying of Shadowrun
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Octopiii
post Jun 17 2009, 04:11 PM
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It came up before our group's session yesterday that we didn't actually know any kids who play SR - the closest we got was one player's brother that they had gotten into SR who was 18. The median age of our group is late 20's, with some players in their 30's. Everyone else I've met has also been at least drinking age. Now, I generally RP with adults anyway, so it's not likely that I would play with HS students, but I never seem to see any playing at hobby stores and the like. Has SR been overshadowed by MMORPG, card games, and Tabletop games (Warhammer 20k seems to be pretty popular around here, as is that game that causes cancer.)? In 10 years, will there be new 20 somethings to play with, or will we have to schedule sessions around babysitters and doctor's appointments? Or are the kids hiding out in their basement/dorm rooms/HS hobby clubs, which is why I've never noticed them?
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Bob Lord of Evil
post Jun 17 2009, 04:25 PM
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As a whole, I think that there is a graying of Gaming. The draw of games like WoW and the proliferation of console games has decimated interest in table top games across the board, IMO. Even lucrative licenses aren't seeing the pull that they once could claim.
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Kev
post Jun 17 2009, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Lord of Evil @ Jun 17 2009, 11:25 AM) *
As a whole, I think that there is a graying of Gaming. The draw of games like WoW and the proliferation of console games has decimated interest in table top games across the board, IMO. Even lucrative licenses aren't seeing the pull that they once could claim.


I completely agree with this; console games, MMORPGs, and all of the flashy, instant-gratification that entails are killing tabletop gaming in general, not just SR.

Though it seems SR was always for the "older" crowd, what with its reliance on more adult themes and source material (let's face it; kids are usually more interested in playing heroic warriors than burned out, cyber-punk street sams).
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shuya
post Jun 17 2009, 04:37 PM
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of course if your peer group is all in their late 20's, you're going to be seeing more people of that age in general. how many 16 year olds do you associate with on a regular basis anyway?

i am in the same boat (26) but i've played shadowrun since i was a teenager, and i'm sure there are still tons of young players out there. gaming isn't greying, it's just the gamers! what self respecting teenager wants to sit around and hear the old has-beens talk about how 'decks are forever and pervasive wireless is silly? they'd probably use their cell phone to take a video of you complaining, and then upload it to youtube, twitter about it, and laugh at how behind the times you are
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tete
post Jun 17 2009, 04:42 PM
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QUOTE (Kev @ Jun 17 2009, 05:32 PM) *
I completely agree with this; console games, MMORPGs, and all of the flashy, instant-gratification that entails are killing tabletop gaming in general, not just SR.

Though it seems SR was always for the "older" crowd, what with its reliance on more adult themes and source material (let's face it; kids are usually more interested in playing heroic warriors than burned out, cyber-punk street sams).


That and the Cold War is over
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Bob Lord of Evil
post Jun 17 2009, 04:44 PM
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A friend of mine summed it up nicely.

"How can I run a game that can compete with the WoW? It has flashy graphics and surround sound and they can get on the server to play whenever they have some free time!"

The success of MMORPGs illustrates that vast numbers of people like to play make believe and are willing to pay for the privilage to do so. They are doing what we did sans the computer/console without every realizing that they gaming geeks just like us! The irony is so thick that you could pour it for bridge footings. I would laugh but for the tragedy unfolding for a hobby that has given me so much joy for more than three decades.
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overcannon
post Jun 17 2009, 04:59 PM
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I started playing SR about two years ago with a mix of ages ranging from 15-18, and my group has been playing tabletop RPGs since we were 13-16.
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Draco18s
post Jun 17 2009, 05:11 PM
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I voted under the assumption that "younger" means anyone who hasn't gotten to college yet, so I haven't seen any younger gamers playing it.

Also, most younger gamers have grown out of P+P RPGs in general I think. Our local group has a hard time every fall recruiting freshmen into the club. All of our GMs have graduated too (one is attending a masters program, but he still graduated).
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Octopiii
post Jun 17 2009, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (shuya @ Jun 17 2009, 08:37 AM) *
of course if your peer group is all in their late 20's, you're going to be seeing more people of that age in general. how many 16 year olds do you associate with on a regular basis anyway?


None (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) . I'm just going by what I've seen played in hobby stores, and responses from trying to get a group together. I'm quite aware my experience isn't representative; hence the poll.
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Maelstrome
post Jun 17 2009, 05:24 PM
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i started playing sr3 in the december of 03. at the age of 14. so yeah kids play sr. atleast i did (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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paws2sky
post Jun 17 2009, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Lord of Evil @ Jun 17 2009, 12:25 PM) *
As a whole, I think that there is a graying of Gaming. The draw of games like WoW and the proliferation of console games has decimated interest in table top games across the board, IMO. Even lucrative licenses aren't seeing the pull that they once could claim.


Agreed.

I don't think I've met anyone under 20 that plays SR... or any other PnP RPG for that matter. PnP gaming demands time and commitment. Much easier to hop on the PC or console for a couple hours than it is to try and get a game together.

I find this problem even with older gamers. For the past several years, its been incredibly hard to get people motivated to get together to play. Schedules change, peoe live on the other side of town, etc. Its a right bitch to get things rolling sometimes, even when people want to play.

-paws
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Malachi
post Jun 17 2009, 05:53 PM
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I too believe that MMORPG's have really hit the PnP RPG industry hard. Hence why WotC went the direction that they did with DnD 4E (like it or not), attempting to try and capture that crowd. I too find it massively ironic that PnP gaming was considered horribly "geeky" for so long, yet many of the people that did the mocking are now horribly addicted MMORPG players, which could be seen as a more anti-social activity than PnP gaming.

To me, PnP gaming has been a social activity first, and a game second. We spend a large part of our gaming sessions digressing into tangent discussions when something in the game reminds us of something funny etc. That's not a "bad thing" in my mind, and is part of the group gaming experience. The game should be a largely fun, social activity (which is also why I don't "get" the emotion generated from crunchy rules discussions... it's just a game people).

I've had more than one discussion with people a few years older than me with kids a few years younger than me about PnP RPGs. The prevailing thoughts among people older than our generation (and still a great deal of people in our generation) is that PnP RPGs are "bad" and only people with emotional or mental problems are in to them (or that the PnP RPG creates emotional or mental problems). In all of those conversations I have been an unwavering advocate for PnP gaming on the basis that it is tons better than the MMORPG or video gaming that those kids will almost inevitably be into anyway.

PnP gaming promotes: socialization, literacy, mathematics, imagination, acting/role-playing (duh), problem solving, and a general "engaging" of ones brain. There's a big difference in how much of your brain is engaged when you have to actually read a book, understand the text, apply that to a situation, roll the dice, do some math to calculate the result, and apply the result. That's way more "brain work" than just click some icon and waiting to see the spell effect on your screen. Not to mention the speed with which PnP games run is significantly slower than video games, which should help temper that "instant gratification" ADD problem that seems to be coming up more and more in younger kids these days.

From a parental control standpoint, PnP games are no more (and quite often less) violent than any of the popular action video games that are seen today. PnP RPG's also have the massive advantage that the game experience is entirely dependent on the person running it. That means that a parent can interview the GM and feel confident that the game experience as a whole will be within their acceptable limits as far as morality exposure goes. With a video game, you have a pre-packaged game experience created by the designer of that came which is unchangeable to the level that a PnP RPG can.

For all of theses reasons I will introduce and encourage my kids into PnP RPG's long before I buy them a computer and whatever games they want.
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tsuyoshikentsu
post Jun 17 2009, 05:54 PM
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QUOTE (Kev @ Jun 17 2009, 09:32 AM) *
I completely agree with this; console games, MMORPGs, and all of the flashy, instant-gratification that entails are killing tabletop gaming in general, not just SR.

Though it seems SR was always for the "older" crowd, what with its reliance on more adult themes and source material (let's face it; kids are usually more interested in playing heroic warriors than burned out, cyber-punk street sams).

B. Freaking. S. All of that.

(No offense; I'm talking about the notions, not about you.)

Hi. I'm 18, and I play this game with a bunch of 18 to 19 year olds at my college, and hopefully will be getting more new blood from next year's incoming class. While we might play more with what we see as the themes of SR4 (I don't think a lot of the street focus and burnout is necessary in the new edition) we do indeed play very troubled people. And we enjoy it. In fact, the group I play with was primarily a D&D group before I introduced them to Shadowrun; now both of the other DMs are planning out SR campaigns for next year.

Everyone in this group is a gamer, and I mean PC or video-wise. But you know what? WoW (or, in their case, Starcraft) is never competition to a good PnP session. Why? I have guesses, but nothing solid. If pressed, I'd say it's the social aspect; there's something just really fun about getting together in real life. It might also be the fact that your character can always try to do exactly what you want -- not the nearest you can approximate with four directional moves, a jump button, and a 1-0 list of special attacks, but anything at all.

Now, to be fair, I sort of cheat when it comes to new players: I tend to get the people who've never played PnP before, and I give them a show. I use minis, music, sound effects... for my SAGA game, I even created a custom opening crawl for them, complete with 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm logos beforehand. The program I was using to do all of the sound I could probably run a theatrical show off of. But all of this is something anyone with a laptop and enough time can do. (The programs used in every step of this were freeware, for example.) And all the players liked it more than the average video game, where -- no matter how hard you try -- you just can't ignore hte invisible boundaries.
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Bob Lord of Evil
post Jun 17 2009, 06:02 PM
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QUOTE (tsuyoshikentsu @ Jun 17 2009, 06:54 PM) *
B. Freaking. S. All of that.

(No offense; I'm talking about the notions, not about you.)

Hi. I'm 18, and I play this game with a bunch of 18 to 19 year olds at my college, and hopefully will be getting more new blood from next year's incoming class. While we might play more with what we see as the themes of SR4 (I don't think a lot of the street focus and burnout is necessary in the new edition) we do indeed play very troubled people. And we enjoy it. In fact, the group I play with was primarily a D&D group before I introduced them to Shadowrun; now both of the other DMs are planning out SR campaigns for next year.

Everyone in this group is a gamer, and I mean PC or video-wise. But you know what? WoW (or, in their case, Starcraft) is never competition to a good PnP session. Why? I have guesses, but nothing solid. If pressed, I'd say it's the social aspect; there's something just really fun about getting together in real life. It might also be the fact that your character can always try to do exactly what you want -- not the nearest you can approximate with four directional moves, a jump button, and a 1-0 list of special attacks, but anything at all.

Now, to be fair, I sort of cheat when it comes to new players: I tend to get the people who've never played PnP before, and I give them a show. I use minis, music, sound effects... for my SAGA game, I even created a custom opening crawl for them, complete with 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm logos beforehand. The program I was using to do all of the sound I could probably run a theatrical show off of. But all of this is something anyone with a laptop and enough time can do. (The programs used in every step of this were freeware, for example.) And all the players liked it more than the average video game, where -- no matter how hard you try -- you just can't ignore hte invisible boundaries.


Ok, so to save gaming we just need to clone you (500 should do...to start) and send all of 'you' out on a permanent recruitment cycle. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)

Barring that do you have any clips on you tube to peruse? Sounds pretty awesome.
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deek
post Jun 17 2009, 06:09 PM
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At 33, I am the oldest one in my gaming group, so everyone is younger at my table...although the youngest is 27, so I'm not that much older than the rest.

I started PnP games as a freshman in high school, so what, 14 or 15 years old? I mainly played with peers, but at the local game stores, there'd be a handful of older guys playing. Early-mid 30s and a couple 40s to 50s, but they mostly played miniatures games...Johnny Reb or other strategic types.

Nowadays, while there are different local stores, there's still about the same amount of them in town. I still see younger players at the tables, although I don't play publicly anymore. I'd have to agree, with being able to just play when you want and not needing a GM to spend hours preparing a game, its so much easier for new players to just get into computer and console games.
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tete
post Jun 17 2009, 06:12 PM
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I dont think MMOs have effected the less combat orientated RPGs much, WOD still flies off the shelves. In fact they may be in a position to be the #1 company in a few years. Though they are doing their own MMO and moving more and more to PDF for small run products. They are also trying to find a viable print on demand solution.
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Bob Lord of Evil
post Jun 17 2009, 06:45 PM
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QUOTE (tete @ Jun 17 2009, 06:12 PM) *
I dont think MMOs have effected the less combat orientated RPGs much, WOD still flies off the shelves. In fact they may be in a position to be the #1 company in a few years. Though they are doing their own MMO and moving more and more to PDF for small run products. They are also trying to find a viable print on demand solution.


You look at the industry numbers in total sales and something has happened that has decimated it. In 2010...I would be surprised if WotC is still in business even their card division. Anecdotally I have seen groups that have simply evaporated since WoW started to do nothing but play online.
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Mercurian
post Jun 17 2009, 07:06 PM
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I'm in my mid-30s and have been a tabletop gamer since junior high. The youngest player at my table is 27, so we're not exactly the newest generation of games. These days, games nights are much like poker nights. It's a bunch of us getting together to bullshit and have a little fun.

I've also seen where MMOs can actually feed back into the PnP crowd, too. I also play WoW on a semi-regular basis (I'm one of the casuals the kiddies like to flame). A fair number of my guildmates are PnP players and our chats online have actually lead some of our younger members to check out good ol' fashioned RPGs. Granted, they're cutting their teeth on D&D 4e *shudder* but it's actually the perfect system for making the transition from video to tabletop, imo. Given the number of people that play online games, even a small percentage of them drifting into the pen and paper genre should be enough to keep the industry alive.
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Malachi
post Jun 17 2009, 07:17 PM
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CGL is probably in a better position to survive a decline in PnP RPG sales than WotC. CGL has already "leaned-up" by cutting down to just essential personnel full-time (by necessity, but that's another matter), and more importantly, they have embraced e-publishing options.
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Draco18s
post Jun 17 2009, 07:24 PM
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QUOTE (Malachi @ Jun 17 2009, 01:53 PM) *
I too believe that MMORPG's have really hit the PnP RPG industry hard. Hence why WotC went the direction that they did with DnD 4E (like it or not), attempting to try and capture that crowd. I too find it massively ironic that PnP gaming was considered horribly "geeky" for so long, yet many of the people that did the mocking are now horribly addicted MMORPG players, which could be seen as a more anti-social activity than PnP gaming.


QFTMFT.
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ravensmuse
post Jun 17 2009, 07:37 PM
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I dunno, the Penny Arcade forum crowd is in the early twenties - late thirties age bracket, and there's...lesse, at least ten play-by-posts going, four or five maptools games, and three real life groups that are frequent posters on their roleplaying forum. Hell, if anything Penny Arcade is helping to bring in new blood through its advocacy on their front page and lots of roleplaying support at PAX.

My neice (who's sixteen) has been trying to pull together a group for herself for the last year or so, but being youngsters, it's hard to balance out pretending your an elf with going to the mall and gossipping about boys.

I see lots of roleplaying events and open rooms at anime conventions, and those tend to skew pretty young. Of course it's usually stuff like Exalted and DnD, but still...(not a whole lot of BESM, oddly enough).

I also seem to remember Caine talking (on rpg.net) about a game of..what was it Caine, Mountain Witch? Burning Wheel? he ran for his daughter and her friends last year or so.

Some blame can be put on video games, I'll give you that. Like any hobby, there's a certain amount of time investure that you need to do in order to fully enjoy that hobby. Gaming is at least a four hour chunk of time if you're just a player - if you're a GM, you've got another four or shour hours on top of that for preparation!

All you need to play a video game is a gaming console and an internet connection and you're blazing across Azeroth with your buddies. It's like, five minutes of time to turn on, load a disc, and be on your way. And at any time, you can shut it off and walk away.

But I think another factor is how inclusive our hobby is and how much of a barrier of entry we've put up for people to get in.

I hate bringing it up (since I seem to be That Guy) but look at DnD 4e. It's got a simplified rule set, it's got a laser focus on what's fun with gaming (beating shit up, taking shit's shit), there's a fun tactical and tactile element to it, and WotC's been holding all sorts of Open Events in gaming stores to encourage people to come out and play.

And what's the hobby's response? "Sell outs! Fakers! Money grabbing corporate whores!"

Say you're a brand new fan of DnD and you go online to find somewhere other than the WotC boards to talk about it. You'll either stumble into well-tread flame territory or be ejected out of the forum so quickly your head will spin. Even if you stick around, prepare to listen to Yet Another Diatribe on why your chosen edition is the wrong edition every couple of weeks or so.

Look at the arguments we have around here. When we're not fighting edition wars, we're fighting about technical differences in rules. This does not look encouraging to newbies.

That's just online. In gaming stores you can either deal with smelly stores, unattentive staff, and inappropriate customers or part or all of the above. And that's just if you're male. If you're female, expect to be hit on, stared at, whistled at, approached inappropriately, or treated like you're a stupid airhead because obviously, it's your boyfriend who dragged you to this, right? My SO's been in the hobby for around five years and has a bunch of industry friends and yet she still doesn't feel like she's part of the community - and even worse, she wants no part of it because of interactions like that.

So no, I don't think it's just the vidya games. I think it's the fact that we're just not very attractive as a hobby to the younger crowd. Gaming is a fun hobby but it's also a hobby that you have to wade through a whole lot of bullshit to get anywhere with. At least in video games you have the /ignore and /mute function.
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Draco18s
post Jun 17 2009, 07:39 PM
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QUOTE (ravensmuse @ Jun 17 2009, 03:37 PM) *
I hate bringing it up (since I seem to be That Guy) but look at DnD 4e. It's got a simplified rule set, it's got a laser focus on what's fun with gaming (beating shit up, taking shit's shit), there's a fun tactical and tactile element to it, and WotC's been holding all sorts of Open Events in gaming stores to encourage people to come out and play.


I dunno. I played D&D4e even under the assumption of just beating the shit out of shit for their shit and still didn't enjoy it.
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ravensmuse
post Jun 17 2009, 07:51 PM
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Well, not knowing you, not knowing what your preferences are, not knowing what kind of games you like to run and play in...

Obviously you're just stupid.

Kidding, kidding, kidding. Seriously, kidding.

*shrug* Like any game, you give it a go and see if it's your thing. If not, move along.

For instance, lots of people love Grand Theft Auto. Me? It's called, "Crash Expensive Cars Into Things While Laughing At the Radio."

Or more aptly, I think Luigi's Mansion is one of the most underappreciated Nintendo games in years.
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knasser
post Jun 17 2009, 07:54 PM
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Our group has an age range of 14 to 33. I don't know many people under 18 that play, but then I don't know that many people under 18. I haven't seen much decimation of gaming but I have never been part of a "gaming crowd". My games have nearly always been just me, starting off a game for people who have mostly never played and role-playing game before. Hence there's perhaps less of a battle with computer games in my demographic.

If anything, I would say people at school and University age have an advantage as they have that much more time and their peers mostly share the same structured schedule as them. It's hard to get together a group of people with diverse social lives and full-time jobs to play a regular game. I can barely find the time to prep for running one.

I'm glad to see that despite people tending not to associate outside of the age group that much, a large proportion of people have clicked that they know younger players.
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paws2sky
post Jun 17 2009, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (knasser @ Jun 17 2009, 03:54 PM) *
If anything, I would say people at school and University age have an advantage as they have that much more time and their peers mostly share the same structured schedule as them. It's hard to get together a group of people with diverse social lives and full-time jobs to play a regular game. I can barely find the time to prep for running one.


Tell me about it.

Throw young kids into the mix - too young to play, that is - and you have to consider child care, language, etc. That's pretty much my situation.

-paws
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