We would like to start this very controversial article by making a very important side note: Game Goblins is a safe haven for all nerds.
Whatever you’re passionate about and love beyond all reason (our definition of nerd-dom) is cool with us. There are no winners or losers in fandom. No one way of playing is inherently cooler or better than any other. We do not condone, appreciate, or approve of bullying, hazing, harassing, or generally being mean about (well, anything really, but also and especially not) a person’s chosen way to express themselves creatively and/or intellectually.
In short, NO GAME SHAMING!
That being said… SHOWDOWN TIME: Tabletop Gamers vs Online Gamers edition.
CHOOSE YOUR SIDE!
Just kidding, there are no sides! We’re all gamers here. But in general, we’ve found that many gamers have a strong preference for either tabletop gaming or video games. Sometimes it’s just what you’re familiar with, sometimes it’s what you learned to love first, and sometimes it’s about where your gifting lies.
And while both tabletop gaming and video games offer hours of entertainment and enjoyment, we are of the mind that they offer fundamentally similar, but unique experiences. If you, as a gamer, belong to one camp or another, we’re here to encourage you to try the other side! And, as a tabletop game store (full disclosure), we’re here to explain to all you video game lovers just what you can get out of a tabletop gaming experience.
Video games are an exciting and visual way to immerse yourself in worlds you never could have imagined on your own. But they’re also (currently) a very 2D experience that’s only so interactive and immersive. Tabletop gaming, on the other hand, utilizes all sorts of 3D and tangible movables that really bring all of your senses into play and bring the game to life! For kids, playing tabletop games can help develop hand-eye coordination, spatial relations, and engage the kinetic learning centers of the brain in ways that video games just can’t. (It works the same way for adults too, actually.)
While many video games allow you to customize your characters and interact with the world around you, you’re still limited to the boundaries of the programming and the scripted storyline. When you play tabletop games, you’re interacting with other people and their imaginations. Especially in an RPG tabletop game like D&D or Pathfinder, your options are literally limited only by the collective imagination of the group.
Even when you’re playing the same game, coming back to a tabletop game is a whole new experience every time because you can apply different strategies and play with different people – or even the same people on a different day! You can create any “house rules” that you please to make the game more interesting, more challenging, or just funnier. It’s the interaction with others that makes these games so infinitely replayable.
Which brings us to our next point…
Many video games let you play with other people (unfortunately, these days you usually have to play on different consoles, each with your own copy of the game), and we would never minimize how much freaking fun games like Smash Bros and Destiny can be. But there’s something to be said for the level of human interaction you get with tabletop gaming. Being able to read facial and body language makes it easier to read intentions, catch nuance, make better jokes, and plan better strategies.
And even though we all want to be left alone in a dark room sometimes (no judgement, we get it), the social and mental benefits of being around real humans is…well, real. The parts of your brain that light up around your friends and fellow gamers just don’t get tickled when you’re staring at a screen. Despite the hassle and social anxiety, we promise you’ll feel better mentally and emotionally after a face-to-face gaming session. That’s just science.
If you have any questions or you ever want to talk tabletop gamers vs online gamers, just stop by Game Goblins! Our staff and our patrons are always happy to nerd out with a fellow gamer – no matter what your preferred medium is! You can also contact us online about anything game related – we’re always happy to answer any questions you might have.