Here’s a blast from my past:
I was an avid gamer in my teens. I can’t remember every game that I played. I can say that they included Magic, L5R, D&D, and Middle Earth. I put hundreds of hours into Tribes. I collected all the things, played all the things, and that was before had turned twenty.
Games People Play on Eyre Street were a better surrogate family than what I had at home. It was a shop full of goths, introverts, techies and nerds, and god help me, but I belonged. They introduced me to Tolkien and Herbert, the gateway drugs of the fantasy world. Right after that came Feist, Heinlein, Niven, Eddings and LeGuin. I was a planeswalker, a samurai, a Gangrel vampire, a warrior, and a buxom blonde barbarian chick this one time. The chainmail bikini hid nothing.
All the gibberish bullshit talk about computers in Games People Play sung to me; now there was a world of real magic. They spoke about IRC, Linux, ISOs, scripts and MUDs. It stuck.
Fantasy games exposed me to creative problem solving too: as a Dwarf warrior who has a knack for cantrips, I have a job to assassinate a local lord. There are no wrong decisions; only consequences. How do I proceed?
I was also sometimes an annoying little prick. Once I even made it a point of pride to expound my powers of annoyance. While I don’t remember the context for the conversation, I guess that it came in the wake of me being a shit. But yeah.
So I haven’t seen Fawzi in sixteen years, give or take, and dinner with him unlocked a cascade of memories-some good, others cringeworthy. I want to go roll D20s again!