We’re playing a new game tomorrow night. Nothing unusual; it’s Tuesday night, it’s what we do. But it’s a game that hasn’t been released yet. It’s a game that hasn’t even been produced yet. And the whole thing is just a huge reminder of how much gaming has changed even in the last five years, let alone from when I first got into it.
A friend downloaded the print and play files for a game currently funding on Kickstarter and, well, printed it so we can play it. We’ve downloaded the rule book from the designer’s site. We’re watching YouTube videos of the game play so we know what to expect. We’ve organized the players via Meetup.
Nothing we’re doing tomorrow night would be possible without the internet. We’d be looking at this game longingly in some catalog or magazine, hoping our game store manager could order it for us. And that it arrived on time. Assuming, of course, that the developer had the money to make it in the first place. Once we got it, we’d have to figure out the rules by ourselves, and if we got stuck, there’d be no message boards or forums to turn to. We’d have to send a letter to the publisher and hope they wrote us back with an answer. We’d be leaving messages on answering machines trying to get everyone together. And we sure wouldn’t have as many game to choose from once we did gather up.
About the only thing that wouldn’t be different would be the act of physically getting together to play. No amount of tech can replace that. But it does show that, for all the annoyances over spam and pop-up ads and cat pictures, sometimes the internet isn’t all that bad. Just maybe ease off on the cat pictures every once in a while, okay?