I started roleplaying in Grade 6 which would have been 1985. Grades in Australia run the same as the calendar year which is different at least to American schools. In the long break which occurred from just before Christmas into February I had a cousin come to visit and he had a wonderful game in a little plastic box called Car Wars. He got my brother and I to play with him. My brother was not that into it but I was. It was like a new door had been opened to me. This was no board game like monopoly or the Star Wars board game my brother and I played. It was something new.
In the same visit I saw him (my cousin) writing a lot in a notebook and so I asked him what I was doing. He said that he was building a dungeon for Dungeons and Dragons. I did not really understand what he was talking about but he explained it to me. I figure I did not catch on too quick as I asked him if he could put Storm Troopers in the dungeon. He laughed and humoured me as he was older and said he could.
|The cousin that introduced me to games is holding my
brother by the shoulders in this image. Of course he was a
bit older than this when he showed me them 🙂
When he left he gave me a card that had been inserted into Car Wars. It was a card offering to get a catalogue from a company called Military Simulations (based in Melbourne Australia) and so I sent it away to them. I started to get catalogues from the company, massive catalogues, filled full of board games, role playing games and miniatures. I loved going through their catalogues as it was like looking at a new world. The first thing I bought was Car Wars and I took it to school with me at the start of the year and all of my friends found it awesome. But this was a board game, the best was yet to come.
In one Military Simulations catalogue I saw a game that fell in the same category as Dungeons and Dragons but it did not have the same price tag. Besides, it was about something I loved. Super Heroes. It was called Super Squadron, came in a boxed set and was made in Australia. I bought it, consumed the rules and started playing with my friends. It was one of the greatest games. In fact I still think today that it was one of the best ever Super Hero games I ever got to play. It was edgy, adult and inventive. My friends loved it but my parents became a little worried about how I had become a little more interested in these “books” than sport and riding bikes and the like.
My Grade 6 teacher, Mr. Swanstone had my parents come in to the school one parent teacher night and apparently (my Mum told me) said that the games were good for me. He told them that before the games I was a mediocre student but after them my maths, english and all required skills had taken a dramatic turn for the better. He told them that he felt I was much better with the games than without them. I think I owe that man a lot.
|Hi, I’m Mark, and I’m a gaming addict…|
So I got to play my games. One day, still grade 6, one of my friends who had been put onto these games by me brought D&D into the school. He asked if anyone had played it and I said yes (completely lying) and so I got asked if I would be the Dungeon Master. I ran the game for them and for quite some time I was the person that ran all the games. It is likely where I got my drive to always run the games.
That is the story. A family member (who does not game anymore) got me into it. Like many families of the age, mine worried I was getting into devil worship and my teacher who could see the games for what they are saved my hobby. I have been playing ever since. I have had actual breaks from playing but I have always been buying, reading and processing. So, let me know how you came across gaming in the comments. Keep rolling!