Saturday 2 January 2010

People in Glass Houses

I've been scanning some old news articles and found one from the BBC website from a couple of months ago that caught my attention. The article was about the rather mysterious scene known as Furries. Born of comic cons in the 8o's and fostered by the Internet in the 90's this has grown into a vibrant community. But a recent murder plot by two Furries has brought the community into disrepute and cast an unwelcome and often judgemental eye on this previously little known hobby.

Does this ring any bells with the roleplayers out there? This is sounding very akin to the uninformed furore that has surrounded D&D for the last 20 odd years. Don't get me wrong, dressing up as a cat or a fox isn't exactly 'my thing' but each to their own. The worrying thing I found was that some Internet forums (I won't say which to protect the innocent) for more mainstream gamers - if there is such a thing - seemed to have a high volume of mocking content in them.

There does seem to be a hierarchy of superiority within what I loosely call the gaming community. It goes something like this.... Historical Wargamers look down on Fantasy Wargamers; Tabletop Wargamers of all types mock Computer Wargamers, All Wargamers consider themselves superior to Roleplayers; Roleplayers mercilessly mock LARPers; LARPers can't understand Card Gamers; and pretty much everyone think Furries are plain scary. The sad thing is all of the above have something in common, love of 'the game' whatever that might be. We should be embracing our sameness rather than emphasising our differences (not a bad philosophy for society in general either IMHO).

When people outside our hobby mock us its bad enough but when we mock other groups we should know better. As the saying goes, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.


  1. Great post. I have to say the journalist didn't quote anthropomorphism correctly, it can be attached to any non-human object and not just animals. Nitpicking I know :P

    I think it says alot as well about Gender Identity Disorder. I think the researcher should be wary of making a new disorder out of it, what she coined as Species Identity Disorder. To me it seems like it should just be classified under one name, Identity Disorder, and then Species and Gender would be sub-types.

    Of course that is just a very small minority of people, just as not all drag queens feel they should be women.

    I don't understand that superiority hierarchy. It just seems that people on each tier must have some sort of shame about their own hobby, that they're projecting onto the "lower tiers". Sort of a, "yeah we might be pathetic, but take a look at THEM!"

    Do you know if any research has been done on that sort of thing? If I ever get the chance I want to see if personality types are related to your army choice as well, but I imagine that would be extremely complicated!

  2. I can imagine a PHD student going to their tutor with that as a research project...

    I was of course generalising with the hierarchy. many of the gamers I meet at shows seem to be helpful and open and don't conform to stereotypes. But I've personally encountered the slight sneer or derisive comment from some Wargamers when I say I play Roleplaying games. I suspect there probably is a slight element of insecurity in most gamers and it's a small step from there to projecting that insecurity onto another group.

    So - to borrow a slogan from a another oft persecuted minority - repeat after me... "I'm a Gamer, and I'm Proud!"

  3. I think that as a general hierarchy it is actually pretty accurate. The amount of resistance I got when I went into a LGS and spoke to the GW wargamers about Magic The Gathering was surprising. Cue a lecture on the merits of collecting miniatures over opening a pack of cards...

    I was sorely tempted to pursue the research idea for my final year project, but since I want to be a clinical psychologist I went for something more appropriate in the end :P It would be a pretty good sideline project to do in the future though, and I reckon it'll be of some relevance to alot of theories kicking about.

    I'm a Gamer, and I'm Proud! :D

  4. I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay...


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