I remember back in the day when I was a bright eyed young Tragic Hero and had a wild running imagination, there wasn't a whole lot in the video game world that could really harness it at the time. Video games back in the late 80s and early 90s didn't have a whole lot to them. You assumed "Insert Heroes name" and did quests or collected coins or did whatever you had to do to complete set amounts of levels or kill bosses.
But then I was introduced to the Paper and Pencil RPG, mainly in the form of Shadowrun. At the time it was like the invention of the paddle ball for people back in the 1900s who only had stick ball in the past. I was able to make a customizable hero (or villain) and buy whatever I want, create any back story to him and then with the help of friends complete missions and "quests" in any fashion that my imagination deemed fit. It was truly something else...
Then time went on. Friends grew older and their imagination dwindled to where "rolling dice and writing things on a piece of paper" wasn't entertaining enough. It also didn't help that society seemed to put the label on those who played Dungeons and Dragons or any other RPG of the type to be "pasty skinned nerds who wore glasses and never got laid". So it became quite troublesome to ever get anyone to play again.
Then something happened that would totally kill my enthusiasm for ever playing Paper and Pencil RPGs ever again. I had heard of a RPG called Vampires the Masquerade (the origin of the Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption and Bloodlines PC games) and I found it rather interesting. With my birthday money I decided to buy some 10 sided dice and the players guide and hopefully get my friends or find others to play with.
Then one day watching the news I notice that some kids have gathered in public in a park area in Chicago to play this and the news were there to see them. Turns out it was a bunch of goth kids dressed like vampires acting out their characters actions with props and voices and make-up and everything. I was so crushed that I tucked my players guide in the back of my closet and sold off my dice to some kids.
But to make a point with this, its a shame that society (and some emo kids) had to ruin a pretty great gaming concept. Granted the player pretty much had to use his or her imagination, much like reading, to create the visuals and the story but it allowed a lot more freedom and it got friends together to do said things. So am I the only one here who misses the "Nerdom" of Paper and Pencil RPGs?