I am cursed with having an impish demeanor, quintessentially polite Britishness, and a penchant for fake eyelashes, cute t- shirts and acrylic nails. I am long past caring why this bears meaning on my gaming tastes, because I’m certainly not concerned. Despite my twee brand name and sweet tinker of my video credits, I am a proudly eclectic gamer.
The notion of gatekeeping and elitism is so outmoded to me at this point, that it’s almost ridiculous to hear. Yet it’s something I still witness repeatedly. As a Twitter friend recently said: ‘just play the damn games’.
Nothing belongs to another person or a specific group. The exploration of genres is perfectly valid, without being an expert in the field. And if you become an expert, fantastic! But it’s ok not to be. Experience shouldn’t equal acceptance. Why not share information, rather than judge ‘experience level’? It’s common that your gaming habits will echo your other interests, but not uncommon if they don’t. Because we’re a mixed bag us humans.
I’m a horror junkie, sci-fi addict, movie geek, and music lover. I am drawn to the macabre, but I love cute pretty things. I’m the nicest person whenever possible, slightly savage when I have to be and never without good reason. I like being outdoors, but I’m also a homebody. I like make-up and dresses, I also like giant pants. I’ll dress cute to make a YouTube video, because I wear snot stained shirts most of the week (not my snot, my child’s- obviously.) I welcome silence, and I’m excited by chaos. I’m an introvert with an extrovert personality. And I love games, no two ways about it.
Not many people know that I have a university degree in trend forecasting. One of the first things we learn is to be hyperaware of everything. Your surroundings-whether that’s a walk into town, online, media, you become a trained observer, and that’s what I do. This gives me access to hints and clues about the future, stuff that’s simmering quietly in the present- that will explode to the surface any given day. With a world of information, insight and possibilities right in front of me, with new experiences and discoveries waiting, it’s pointless to shun a certain genre of gaming.
I love discovering and playing games. I began my tabletop journey with three years of Magic The Gathering, before I even knew of modern board gaming. My first dabble was with Zombies!!!! followed by the gift of Pandemic, and a purchase of Eclipse. I watched Shut Up & Sit Down and Rahdo Runs Through, like I had made cool new friends, telling me about this amazing thing I should try. I played some Pathfinder and D&D for fun. I discovered Euro games, heavy strategy games, deckbuilders and ‘fillers’.
Later came wargames, skirmish games and Warhammer40k. I discovered the latter wasn’t ideal for me, I’ve now found suitable alternatives. I had fun assembling miniatures, and now I want to paint them. I found a friend to play wargames with, and RPGs that I can enjoy reading, even without a steady group to play with.
Gaming tastes are varied, undefined and fluid for me; I’m terrible at mathematics but pretty damn good at Arkwright. I was unaware of historical rebel Louis Riel until I played High Treason! World War II has always been a subject of fascination, so I played Combat Commander: Europe. I finally played Trickerion, and rekindled a passion for Victoriana and magic. I have a total phobia of insects, yet I enjoy Myrmes (admittedly the insects components make me squeamish). When I play Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space, I’ll definitely put on the Alien movie soundtrack; I love space horror and creating ambience.
I have a fondness for ancient Roman history stemming from childhood- no matter the genre; I want to play games of this theme! I love my classic Eurogames like Village and Castles of Burgundy, yet they aren’t considered classics to some. But that doesn’t matter, because they’re mine. Maybe you have older games in your collection- excellent, show me! I don’t like parties, but I like Gloom and Once Upon a time.
When my little girl is old enough I’ll enjoy playing Echidna Shuffle, Mondo and Lotus with her, but I’ll let her pick the games we play, every time. I am mad for paranormal shows, yet still haven’t found a supernatural themed game I clicked with. I like Star Wars, but the franchise games don’t do it for me. You see, all of these things make me who I am, it doesn’t always have to make sense, and I’m extremely ok with that.
I guess the message is, break the gates. Do it by being yourself, liking what you want, or trying the unexpected. Do it by showing your middle finger to anybody who tells you ‘you can’t’. Or a polite shrug will suffice. Let go of the need to qualify in experience level, but don’t be afraid to become experienced either. Celebrate the different, go with your passion, revel in the new, and enjoy being an eclectic gamer. I certainly am.