Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2009 - Social Science - 336 pages
4 Reviews

Fantasy. Science fiction. Role-playing games. People around the globe turn away from the “real” world to inhabit others. Movie fan-freaks design costumes and collect Lord of the Rings action figures. Some attend comic book conventions and Renaissance fairs, others play live-action role-playing games (LARPs). The online game World of Warcraft (WoW) has lured twelve million users worldwide. Even old-school role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) are still wildly popular.

What could one man find if he embarked on a journey through fantasy world after fantasy world?

In an enthralling blend of travelogue, pop culture analysis, and memoir, forty- year-old former D&D addict Ethan Gilsdorf crisscrosses America, the world, and other worlds—from Boston to New Zealand, and Planet Earth to the realm of Aggramar. On a quest that begins in his own geeky teenage past and ends in our online gaming future, he asks gaming and fantasy geeks how they balance their escapist urges with the kingdom of adulthood. He speaks to grown men who build hobbit holes, and to grown women who play massively multiplayer online games. He seeks out those who dream of elves, long swords, and heroic deeds, and mentally inhabit faraway magical lands. What lures them—old, young, male, female, able-bodied, and disabled—into fantasy worlds, and for what reasons, whether healthy, unhealthy, or in between?

Our noble hero battles online goblins, trolls, and sorcerers for weeks on end. He travels to pilgrimage sites: Tolkien’s hometown, movie locations, and castles. He hangs out with Harry Potter tribute bands. He LARPs. He goes to fan conventions and gaming tournaments. He camps with medieval re-enactors—12,000 of them. He becomes Ethor, Ethorian, and Ethor-An3. He sews his own tunic. He even plays D&D. What he discovers is funny, poignant, and enlightening.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ragwaine - LibraryThing

So this was pretty good but it always seems like the authors who write books about growing up gamers feel like it's a bad thing that they probably should hide or not be proud of. It's like the "normal ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chsbellboy - LibraryThing

This book explored the concept of escapism and chronicled the prevalence of that phenomenon in modern society. RPG gamers, online games, board games, and LARP-like activities are all covered in addition to more in depth examples of escapism. Read full review

Contents

I Was a Teenage MagicUser
1
The Quest Begins
17
On the Tolkien Trail
27
Into the Dungeon Again
47
The Fount Whence Fantasy Games Flowed
63
The Monk Went Down to Georgia
85
Geeks in Love
109
To Work Here You Have to Forget
125
You Have to Become the Con
217
There or Nowhere and Back Again
241
Get Off the Road
263
Being a Hero Aint What It Used to Be
269
Saving Throws
285
Acknowledgments
296
Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
300
Photo Credits
308

The Weapon We Have Is Love
137
In the Beer Line with the King
155
Ill Only Go to Level 10
179
An Outlet for Souls Who Could Not Rest
201
Permissions
310
Index
312
About the Author
320
Copyright

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