Hello everyone, I'm sure by now that most of you have seen the new channels/rooms popping up on IRC and AOL and Powwow and Yahoo and such places, called MUTANTS. They seem to be proliferating, and multiplying at a rapid pace, and as such they piqued my interest. So, the other night, I went to one of the MUTANT channels on IRC. I have to tell you, I had a great time. ;0) You see, everything in there is based on the X-Men, a comic book published by Marvel Publishing for many years. In my very younger years, I was a rabid collector of these comics, and devoured each one every month that it came out. Sure, at times the stories were a bit far-fetched and the writing could be pulpy, but it made up for it both in action and the tight-fitting and revealing costumes the female heros wore. Every month, it seemed the X-Men saved the world from this or that menace (as an aside, in case you were curious, I sold my collection years ago. For a huge profit, of course.) I would have to admit to being a bit of an X-Men expert; flora, fauna, etc. ;0) To cover it quickly, the X-Men are mutants, each have a specific power (one guy shoots laser-like rays from his eyes, another can control the weather, another looks like a big black dog and is incredibly agile and strong, that sort of thing). The stories would tell, amongst all the saving of the world stuff, the tale of these people and how they sought to fit into and gain respect in society at large, even though they were mutants and not like everyone else. Some of the stories were very poignant, with issues addressing love, marriage, bigotry, intolerance and hatred included in the story lines. So I went to the MUTANT channel, and noticed immediately that everyone there was talking and interacting as if they were actually a Mutant!! They all claimed to be born mutant, and to possess mutant powers. I was confused for a bit, until someone privately messaged me and told me that what I had found was one big *game*, a game they play called MUTDARIA. They said I could play too, if I created a MUTANT character, and powers to go with him, and a spiffy name that refers to what he is and does. So I became Scorpio, the Mutant scorpion/man (actually, I originally wanted to be IGUANAMAN, but I think the whole idea of a 14-foot tongue made some of the women there nervous, and I was advised against it). I had a stinger in my mutant tail, which I could use paralyze evil-doers. I brought a whole new meaning to the phrase "Shake your booty"! ;0) We had a grand time! We defeated MagnMoron, the Master of the country of Bation, in his evil plot to control the universe. I found out, in playing out the storyline that was created by the players there, that the pretend people in the city at large hated us because we were mutants (But, I ask you, who could not help but love a large hairy guy with a big stinger on his butt?) So we had to keep a low profile, and do good deeds without being seen most times. The storyline did not deal too much with the whole "hate the mutant" thing, or much of the love, honor or personal growth that I saw in the comics, as there is really no *action* in that. We busted up Magnameters fortress in Bation and then returned to our secret headquarters concealed in the natural caverns underneath a naugahyde factory in Cleveland. There, we partied hardy. In fact, LadyPantherPuss and I kind of ... sort of... I mean... well, you know. ;0) I looked up finally (that is, my "mun" looked up, that is to say me, Bear-, here in my home) and saw it was 4am! I had been playing MUTDARIA for about 6 hours! How time flew when we were defeating evil and postulating personal possibilities with Lady PantherPuss! I was *tired*! I thanked all my new friends for the game (LadyPantherPuss's "mun" is named Rachel, she told me so and gave me her ICQ) and left the channel. As I was logging off, I was messaged by someone named Steve - some fellow I had never spoken to before - who asked me if I had been in MUTDARIA playing MUTANTS. I told him that I had, that I had had a great time, and I started to tell him about Scorpio, just the usual things, like hit points, attack points, armour class and stuff. I mean, I was *proud* of Scorpio! Then he asked me something I found rather silly. I'll share it, because I am still laughing about it tonight. ;0) He asked me if I knew that there were people out in this society, men and women who in their lives try to embody the ethos expressed in the X-MEN comics? He told me that these people believe in the MUTANT philosophy of tolerance, of rising above ones differences to see one another as people and not "mutants vs. non-mutants", of doing the right things, making hard choices to *help* others, even if that could end up costing you personally, and of being responsible and striving for personal growth. He told me that these things make up a difficult philosophy to live by, in this society, where it is "every-man for himself" and "do unto others before they can do unto you". He told me that there were others, a small number to be sure, but others who have taken this MUTANT philosophy into their lives and have found themselves bettered by it. It fulfills them, he said, it is what they are - they even call themselves MUTANTS - although none of them have super powers, or can do the things that are written about in the fiction of the comic books. He was quick to point that out, and to tell me of the difference between the *philosophy* of the MUTANTS, and the stories in the comics, with such things as mutant powers, and inter-dimensional shifts, and such. I finally broke in and asked him why he was telling me all this? He replied that he wanted me to know that there were people out there who really *were* MUTANTS, in that they lived to the higher standard that the MUTANT philosophy demands, that these people exist, they meet offline, they help their community and strive to educate others about how - if more people understood MUTANTISM, the world might be a better place. I again asked him why he was telling me all this? He replied that he saw me in the MUTDARIA game, and knew that I was new. He thought that because my first exposure to MUTANTISM was a silly game (his words), I might not be able then to take seriously the idea that there are people out there who try to live the philosophy and improve their lives and the lives of others through it. I told him he was right. I told him that MUTANTISM is just a game. That there are no MUTANTS, for goodness sake, and that he lived in a fantasy world! I mean, c'mon! Who would get a philosophy of life out of a comic book?! Absurd! Besides, I *ENJOYED* playing Scorpio (and doing the scorpion butt-tango with LadyPantherPuss), and it was just a *game* anyway, and who the heck could take seriously or be harmed by a game? He tried to tell me something about him understanding that it is hard to believe, as the philosophy does come from comic books, but the fact that people play MUTANTS as a game - that in and of itself makes it much, much harder to get people to understand and give credence to the fact that actual adults live by the philosophy expressed in the comics, and are working to make themselves and others fulfilled, and... And I don't know what else. At that point, I put him on ignore. What an *asshole*! Trying to ruin my fun and my new friends fun, just because they try to live as MUTANTS in this society? I mean, c'mon. Let's be real! They do not have super-powers, they do not have a secret hideout under a naugahyde factory in Cleveland... and they call themselves MUTANTS??? If you can't do that, HOW can you be a MUTANT? I mean, c'mon! Besides, I want to play Scorpio, again! I mean, it's all a comic book, isn't it? Well? Isn't it? Bear- Hello everyone.
I am revisiting this thread because of some of the private responses I have recieved about it. In writing it, I was rather subtle (Bear? Subtle?) about my point, holding off till the end and playing it straight throughout. In doing so, I think that some may have gotten the wrong impression.
Let me correct it here.
There are no MUTANT channels. No place called MUTDARIA, no game called MUTANTS, no fellow named STEVE who messaged me. I have never played a game called MUTANTS. For those who know me, I sprinkled a number of clues about the piece to let them in on the joke (Aside from the name of the realm and the villians name, I despise ICQ with a passion. I get enough messages as it is, when I log onto IRC, I do not need people messaging me when I am doing other work on the net).
To make my point clear: There is nothing wrong with roleplaying games. I have played them in my youth (not to date myself, but I was around when D&D was born, bought the first white box set, wrote uncredited for some of the third-party publishers, and won awards at regional conventions for my roleplaying. Heck, I was even ranked in the RPGA). I have enjoyed roleplaying games thoroughly. They have a place, in a fantasy setting.
But *any* game, *any* pasttime which causes harm to others - as playing Gor as a game does to the reputation of this lifestyle - should weigh like a stone on those who insist on playing them despite that fact.
Sadly, as we all know, personal responsibility is a thing in short supply, in those who live in this society.
In the story, I placed myself in the gamers spot, of course, and made up another fellow who proceeded to educate *me* about the harm the MUTDARIA game was causing. I used all the typical gamer excuses and then simply did what they do - I kept on playing and ignored the harm, since I could not refute the fact that the game did harm them, and besides, Scorpio was such a "cool character". ;0)
My thanks to all who responded in my mail and here, who got it. For those who did not, thats okay too; sometimes the point gets made plainly, later, and hopefully it will give more people pause to think about the harm their selfish actions cause.