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View Full Version : Rant: RPGs -vs- Fantasy Sports



farr0095
11 December 2003, 07:55 AM
I got involved in the start of a discussion this morning - and I say start because it never fully developed - over people being a "geek". I guess it started by the topic of being able to buy Holds or other items for Computer RPGs like EverQuest through eBay. The conversation developed into the expenditure of large quantities of money for things like that. Someone said that folks who do that are "geeks". Another comment countered that anyone who spends inordinate amounts of time and or money on something could be labeled a geek.

The example was made (as several of these students had been discussing their Fantasy Basketball Teams this past two weeks) that spending all kinds of time putting together and following sports and tracking these players and teams could also be considered "geeks". The counter-argument came back as "Well, one is socially acceptable, and the other is not."

You might see where things lead. I offered that there is little difference between Fantasy Sports and RPGs. Both are fictional, but they use a different base of rules. Where the Fantasy Sports teams use real scores, yards, points or whatever, RPGs use dice and paper. (I'm limiting my discussion to table-top games at the moment.)

I offered another argument that what is considered "socially acceptible" depends on the social circle in which you participate. Anyway, things went on.

Without trying to digress into the "geekiness" of whatever, does anyone else see Fantasy Sport pools and the like in a similiar light to RPGs?

AzmoDanakar
11 December 2003, 08:06 AM
Our definition of the nomenclature was and still is, as follows:

Geek: Someone plugged into a sub-culture, usually one of a technical nature, who spends a good deal of their time increasing their own knowledge base as it pertains to this sub-culture.

Nerd: As above but subject is usually devoid of any additional social outlets. Sub-culture becomes what they are, how they define themselves, and their only means of interaction.

So I guess there can be "sports-geeks". Whether or not they like that term is irrelevant. I know someone who does not play any roleplaying games, is very well versed in all manner of college sports data, plays numerous fantasy sports games and now works in sports-radio. He used the term sports-geek to refer to himself and others like him.

The short of it is, we always said in high school that geeks were nerds with girlfriends, but that is an antiquated way of thinking, because there are grrl geeks and girl gamers.. there was back then, but they were fewer and farther between.

Ravager_of_worlds
11 December 2003, 09:37 AM
i always liked the japanese word "otaku" for people who spend inordinate amounts of time on nothing. i have several friends who spend hours with their fantasy football leagues or the like. some of them rpg, most of them don't. i think fantasy sport teams is ludicrous, and they think rpg is ludicrous. it all comes down to; am i having fun? are they having fun?

still, i tend to agree that the sports brain washing our culture subjects guys to is detrimental to our social health. the only reason people should care about sports is if they have money riding on a game. if they don't, then they need real therapy instead of just gamblers anonymous. :)

Nova Spice
11 December 2003, 03:24 PM
You might be interested to know, farr, that there are those that view this topic (such as myself), as highly amusing.

I am an athlete. I play all three major sports (football, basketball, baseball) at my high school and I'm good at the latter two. I also play table-top and computer RPGs. I don't consider either of those activities as not being socially acceptable. They both involve forms of activity and fun. Both also require other people.

Things that are not socially acceptable are generally acts that are lude, crude, and the like. I think if someone is engaging in a group activity, it builds character. In the case of RPG's, the prior statement has two meanings. ;)

Talonne Hauk
11 December 2003, 03:34 PM
I'm involved with both, and if anyone wanted to label me in a negative manner, we'd have words. Actually, I'm kidding. Whether or not someone calls me a geek, nerd, or what-have-you, I don't really care, because if they look down on the things I like to do, odds are they're not involved in it, so I care not what they think.
Personally, I'd rather have a few things in my life that I really had passion about, rather than be mildly stimulated by many things and not care much afterwards. Vive le Geeks!

farr0095
11 December 2003, 04:07 PM
Nova, while I don't do Fantasy Sports, I do agree with you. I don't have a problem with people doing their thing, what kills me is their attitude that Fantasy Sports is acceptable whereas RPGs are not. But I guess my initial question might be more along the lines of "Are Fantasy Sports similiar in action and design to RPGs?" And then of course there's the follow-on question of "Can Fantasy Sports help build a broader base of those who understand RPGs?"

Zanus
11 December 2003, 07:18 PM
While I was in high school, I saw alot of labels flying around. The ones that I didn't fully understand where Nerd and Geek. I had a feeling most everyone else at school didn't use the words properly either, so I decided to look them up. I checked several different dictionaries, in and out of school, to be sure. (Our distract was one of those economic types that would get books with the facts all wrong, and we knew it). The gist of what I got was this:

Geek: someone who is considered abnormal, odd, or wierd. It also talked about the tatooed fish head eater too.

Nerd: Socially inept.

Based on those definitions (as abbreviated as they are), I had a much better idea of what people where calling who, and became one of those smartXXXes who corrected everyone when they tried to use the term wrong.

I Proudly bear the Geek title, even today, and know full well that I was a Nerd up to about four years ago.

As far as rpg's vs Fantasy sports, it is situational. If you put one of those people that thinks fantasy sports is acceptable and rpgs arent in a computer class where, inevitably, you will have alot of 'computer geeks,' fantasy sports suddenly becomes socially unacceptable and the person is considered a geek in the class. An RPG player who doesn't see the point of fantasy sports, or similar oppinion, goes to a sports game suddenly finds himself a geek.

On the whole, I personally don't care much for fantasy sports. But at the same time I know some people find it fun to try to organize a team, even if they don't actually get to seem the play the way they organize them. I guess as long as the fantasy sports dont' lead to other less acceptable fantasy playacting, and the RPG'ers don't go running around hacking off the heads of 'lizardmen' they 'encountered' at school, both are acceptable. I know there will always be the extreme cases of obsession either way, and that is what the media will focus on, but that is part of life these days.

Rogue Janson
12 December 2003, 03:35 AM
Based on those definitions (as abbreviated as they are), I had a much better idea of what people where calling who, and became one of those smartXXXes who corrected everyone when they tried to use the term wrong.

I Proudly bear the Geek title, even today, and know full well that I was a Nerd up to about four years ago.
I think correcting people on their use of the word "geek" automatically qualifies you for the title.

Coincidentally, I just found this article in today's Guardian: We are all Nerds now (http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,4120,1104848,00.html).

Fred Getce
12 December 2003, 06:04 AM
Simple tests to identify sports geeks and RPG geeks.

Ask them the following question.

To identify a sports geek.

"Who played 3rd base for the Yankees in 1931?"

If they know the answer, they are a sports geek.

To identifity a RPG geek.

"What do the acronyms AC, HP and Thac0 mean?"

If they know the answer they are a RPG geek.


To verify my data.

I know people who play sports and do things like fantasy sports leagues but yet have no idea who played what position for what team for what sport 10-20 years ago. They simply do not get that involved to remember player names and the years they played for, or even what sport.

I know some people who play role playing games both pencil-and-paper and computer who cannot remember, from one session to the next, what half the acronyms mean. They simply do not get that involved to remember the definitions and meaning of such things.

Wierd I know.

AzmoDanakar
12 December 2003, 08:43 AM
Don't forget that we are still in the midst of a geek rennaisance. Movies like Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and the admission of geekdom by Vin Diesel and Robin Williams help to make the geek culture even more accepted. When I was in high school it was the 80's and there was very harsh words used to describe us gamers. I played soccer, ran track and cross country, but because I played Robotech and D&D at lunch I was labeled a social misfit. I am not bitter~! Okay. I am a little bitter.
To hell with those popular folks. All they have to say to me now is, " would you like to super-size that?"

Zanus
12 December 2003, 11:43 AM
I have to say, looking back, I find it interesting that those that where considered geeks and nerds in school, particularly high school, are the ones that actually got out and did something with themselves. They put themselves in situations where they would have to grow as a person and gain some worldly experience. some went into the military, myself included, and got a nice happy little culture shock shoved up their rear ends. Others went to colleges away from home. What happened to the 'jocks,' 'preppies,' and other popular folk? I recently found out several are still living in the same small town, some with kids but not married, others following in their parents foot steps, or are only now finding their geeky/nerdy side as they get out..

Just an interesting observation I have made

The Ghost
15 December 2003, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by farr0095
The counter-argument came back as "Well, one is socially acceptable, and the other is not."


thankfully i was not in the discussion. my counterargument would have been a chair... to their face.

i hate when people are elitist. any people. i hate when D&D nerds (as opposed to D&D players, i note difference) get all mean-spirited about who can and can't freaking play.

who are they to treat anyone as outcasts? it's retarded.

grow up, have your fun(without hurting others), and leave everyone else the <censored> alone.

Krad-edis
15 December 2003, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by farr0095
Nova, while I don't do Fantasy Sports, I do agree with you. I don't have a problem with people doing their thing, what kills me is their attitude that Fantasy Sports is acceptable whereas RPGs are not. But I guess my initial question might be more along the lines of "Are Fantasy Sports similiar in action and design to RPGs?" And then of course there's the follow-on question of "Can Fantasy Sports help build a broader base of those who understand RPGs?"

I wish I could help you with this, and even though I enjoy playing sports I have no inclination to follow professional sports, and have always been amazed by people around me asking others if they have been following "the game". "The game" means all sports, and for some odd reason, I seem to be the only person who has not memorized stats for players, game winnings, what place everyone is in, for the NBA, NFL, NHL, NL and AL....and so on. The majority of them are talking about there fantasy teams and I have no real idea what that still is entirely. I find myself saying "I don't follow sports," a lot, and when I am asked what I do, I say I role play and run games. They tell me that I need to grow up and get out of my geeky realm.

It is amazing. They shove their stats and geekdom down your throat, and when they ask what your interests are, and you tell them, they tell you that you are a geek. This leads me to the conclusion that whatever category they fall under (and there are a lot of them), I don't want them near me. I suppose you may find people in their ranks that may wish to try Roleplaying out, but I wouldn't bother with it. These people tend to think that since they follow sports and have their own teams (fantasy) that they are in fact jocks too. This makes them cool (fantasy).

I have had several run ins in the past about this too, and basically it is just best to let them have their fun and you have yours. Roleplayers can do the same thing of declaring something as negative or socially unacceptable, so you can only be as objective as possible and keep the nay-sayers over at their table reviewing their fantasy line ups.

stoic_75
15 December 2003, 02:02 PM
[At last! Sports talk! I am an avid fan of both rpgs and fantasy sports! I think a few things are being overlooked. One, you have most of the control in an rpg. You decide what your character does, etc. In fantasy sports you have zero control over what your player does. You just watch the game and hope he plays well. Two, in most rpgs, your character increases in power/level he more time you spend on them. In fantasy sports you can't do that. I myself have always likened fantasy sports to playing the stock market. You invest in the players and hope they perform above your expecttions.

QUOTE]Originally posted by farr0095
I
You might see where things lead. I offered that there is little difference between Fantasy Sports and RPGs. Both are fictional, but they use a different base of rules. Where the Fantasy Sports teams use real scores, yards, points or whatever, RPGs use dice and paper. (I'm limiting my discussion to table-top games at the moment.)

I offered another argument that what is considered "socially acceptible" depends on the social circle in which you participate. Anyway, things went on.

Without trying to digress into the "geekiness" of whatever, does anyone else see Fantasy Sport pools and the like in a similiar light to RPGs? [/QUOTE]

MikeLynch
10 February 2004, 07:25 AM
i hate when people are elitist.I concur, of course, but the fact is that, for the foreseeable future, the "geek" label to RPGing is more of a societal thing. People mock RPGers because they believe they are supposed to, whereas Fantasy Sports people get mocked far less (though it does happen).

To further illustrate my point, consider the two Big Events pertinent to each pursuit.

Fantasy Sports -> the Super Bowl, the World Series, etc. On a mass cultural level, it is considered normal and desirable to have parties at your house to commemorate these events.

RPGing -> the release of each SW or LOTR movie. On a mass cultural level, it is considered pathetic and laughable to have parties at your house to commemorate THESE events.

Why is it like this? I don't know. It probably has a lot to do with our phallocentric society and the perception of sports as a manly interest. Will it change? Maybe, now that we finally have some halfway decent "serious" fantasy films (and now that the generation raised on "serious" sci-fi is starting to take over).

But none of that changes the fact that this IS the reality right now in America.

Tav Kord
10 February 2004, 11:59 AM
I find it interesting that those that where considered geeks and nerds in school, particularly high school, are the ones that actually got out and did something with themselves. They put themselves in situations where they would have to grow as a person and gain some worldly experience.

Its all about the XP. :)

Sirch Akoras
16 February 2004, 08:01 AM
I find it interesting that those that where considered geeks and nerds in school, particularly high school, are the ones that actually got out and did something with themselves. They put themselves in situations where they would have to grow as a person and gain some worldly experience.

Y'know, there's this newspaper clipping posted in my house about Bill Gates' rules. The last one fits this perfectly. It says:

Always respect the nerds; odds are, you'll be working for them one day.

Or, at least something like that... I'm too lazy to get up and check :D

Howling Wookiee
16 February 2004, 12:29 PM
Labels, Labels, Labels.........What good are they. They are someone's opinion of someone else. They are often derogitory and rude. As far as I'm concerned RPers are usually intelligent and very open minded individuals. Sports Fantasy players are the like. So whose the "geek"? Its all about one person's perception of another one.

Like most have stated, I participate in both (RPing and SF leagues). So if I play both does that make me a meta-geek? I think not. I played football in HS and was all state linebacker my senior year, I read Dickens and Poe, ect.., was in plays, and on and on. Was I a geek or a jock, or just an open minded individual that had a large hobby base to fulfill. I agree with the latter. Imagine that, different people come from different backgrounds. What would the world be if we were all the same. What is the difference if a person with my background got together and played a RPG with someone that never played sports, was not athletic, read books all the time. Not a difference but two people from varying backgrounds getting together to do something that they love to do, regardless of what it is. Are we geeks, or just friends getting together to have a good time?

I fear we've gotten off of Farr0095's original debate: Are RPGs and SF leagues the same. I would have to say yes. Both use statistics, rules, and other players to participate. So what's the difference in a bunch of guys/girls getting together to throw the ole bones or sitting at a computer and wondering if your SF team is gonna beat another team that a person is playing half way around the world. I can't tell a difference, can you? So Mr. Farr0095 I agree with you as usual. Imagine that.

Well that's my 2 cents and I feel someone owes me some change. :)
See you all in the boards.