#Read Epub ì The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange É eBook or E-pub free

Warning If you re hoping this is a book extolling the virtues of fantasy roleplaying as a positive outlet for socially marginalised teens then WRONG This is not the book you re looking for Step away while you still can and go read some fanfiction What The Elfish Gene is, however, is Mark Barrowcliffe s memoirs of growing up in Coventry during the 1970s, and how as a completely gauche, socially maladjusted teen he fled into the world of fantasy RPGs because he simply couldn t cope with reality.This is a tragic book And it made me incredibly sad Mark comes across as bitter about his past, possibly bitter about the fact that he was so lost in the games that he wasn t functioning in society These are not the types of memory I have of my own gaming days, and after finishing this book, I almost feel tainted I ask myself, is this how I am with regard to the books, games and films I get excited about To the exclusion of participating in the world at large Then again, I don t recall the sheer, blithering nastiness of my fellow gamers that Mark does Possibly, one can say that boys will be boys, but I m an anomaly in that regard a girl who likes her fantasy RPGs a little too much Sure, I met a few like Mark at the few events that we had in Cape Town during the 1990s, but I avoided them The rest of the folks were just incredibly fun to be around, all student types, and we had really good times.What I got from The Elfish Gene is mostly Mark s bitterness, suggestive of deep rooted self loathing, that he had to dig deep and bring up all that was ugly And, yes, it s easy to see how games like DD can create festering little dick measuring contests among folks, but FFS, there s it than what he states Yes, there are bits that are genuinely laugh out loud funny, like Mark s Ninja escapades, but most of the time I felt I was laughing at him for being such a sad puppy, and I was really glad to be done with the book Yes, also to the fact that Mark pokes sticks at valid issues with the social interaction with some gamers, but yikes I needed to read something uplifting and joy making after this As a snapshot into a particular era, however, and the mentality of the people at the time, this book is fascinating, in the same way as one is sometimes compelled to rubberneck at the scene of a gruesome motor vehicle accident involving a drunk pedestrian, errant livestock and a lorry transporting manure. Not badly written, but not a very fun read Barrowcliffe treats his subject himself and other adolescent DD players with disdain, which makes what should be an entertaining read much less enjoyable. #Read Epub ⛏ The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange ì Coventry, For A Brief, Blazing Summer, Twelve Year Old Mark Barrowcliffe Had The Chance To Be NormalHe Blew ItWhile Other Teenagers Concentrated On Being Coolly Rebellious, Mark Like Twenty Million Other Boys In The S And S Chose To Spend His Entire Adolescence In Fart Filled Bedrooms Pretending To Be A Wizard Or A Warrior, An Evil Priest Or A Dwarf Armed Only With Pen, Paper And Some Funny Shaped Dice, This Lost Generation Gave Themselves Up To The Craze Of Fantasy Role Playing Games, Stopped Chatting Up Girls And Started Killing DragonsExtremely Funny, Not A Little Sad And Really Quite Strange, The Elfish Gene Is An Attempt To Understand The True Inner Nerd Of The Adolescent Male Last Pick At Football, Spat At By Bullies And Laughed At By Girls, They Were The Fantasy Wargamers, And This Is Their Story I picked this book up in an airport while traveling and thought it would be a fun, humorous look back on life as a gamer I played RPGs in middle and high school, though I apparently wasn t as hard core as the author was By the end of chapter 1 I found that the only humor the author included was mean spirited and belittling As I said before, I expected some self effacing humor, and humor at the sake of gamers he played with, but this book amounted to a prolonged bitchfest where the author does nothing but whine about how he could have should have grown up normal and how playing RPGs isn t as useful as dating or learning to play the guitar I have a problem with that opinion.I am still a pretty nerdy guy I play video games a lot, watch the occasional Anime, geek out over comic books, and zombies, but and this is impossible according the the author I have a wife and kid who I love, and am loved by I didn t do anything social in high school, my wife did everything in high school, but once you enter the real world and grow out of the limited perspective you have in high school it s possible to not fit into stereotypes and still exist.From the portions of the book I was able to tolerate reading before ultimately giving up, it seems that the author s friends are at least partially to blame for his damaged perspective on gaming, and reality All are either petty, backstabbing, little weasels, or power tripping assholes with massive inferiority complexes they mask with god complexes If this type of person is the only type he ever role played with I can see why he might look down on it with the level of disdain that he does, but to do so overlooks the fact that you pick your friends role playing companions If I played with someone who spent the whole time acting like a douchebag he d either be kicked out, or not allowed back to the next session.The last gripe I have and this may be due to the period he was playing in is that every RPG I ve played and that s a lot has been story and character driven The GM usually has a story drawn up, but 90% of the time one of us would do something unexpected and he d have to work with it If you re GM ever said no you can t do that because I need you to do he d have been fired for being unable to do his job Sure he s god in that world, but without freewill why play When done right playing an RPG should be almost like a battle of wits between the players and the GM DM The players constantly trying to act in accordance with their characters admittedly some better than others , while trying to simultaneously figure out what the GM s goals are, and do something else to screw with him Meanwhile the GM has to tell a compelling and interesting story and handle the shenanigans of the players without power tripping and either killing people off out of annoyance or removing player s options If done like this the experience is deep, fun, and massively encourages creativity, problem solving, and teamwork to piss off the GM All are useful that being able to play kumbaya around a camp fire. I would have liked it a lot if the author had not felt the need to tell us how different his adolescence would have been, if only he had been grown up at the time. This book is ridiculous Barrowcliffe spends half of the book telling us that being a geek is pathetic and sad, and the other half trying to prove some kind of point to the people who made fun of him in high school, I think I was a TOTAL geek in high school and I grew up to be successful AND married But I m not a geek any, don t worry, guys I picked it up because I wanted to love it, being a DD player myself, but I ended up sorely disappointed Mark Barrowcliffe can repress his inner geek all he wants to, but he doesn t need to make the rest of us look bad in order to soothe his childhood scars I m sure that all of the married, successful people who still play Dungeons and Dragons and enjoy it would agree with me. It takes a particular type of person to wallow in one s misspent youth, to trot it out, warts and all, for all the world to see Having escaped the embarrassments of adolescence, most people to some degree disavow their younger selves This is usually accomplished through mere omission Life goes on, we meet new people, and we conveniently forget to tell them about those horrid moments that define our adolescence We recreate ourselves, we leave our pasts behind Not so with Mark Barrowcliffe, author of The Elfish Gene Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange Soho Press, 2008 Barrowcliffe s memoir goes into excruciating and comic detail regarding his fantasy life as a Coventry lad growing up in the 70s and 80s.Barrowcliffe was 11 years old when he discovered Dungeons Dragons DD one afternoon at his school s wargaming club For those who don t know, wargaming involves the recreation of historical battles using miniatures and lots and lots of rules DD immediately changed his life By his own admission, Barrowcliffe spent the next five years gaming, reading about gaming, talking about gaming, reading fantasy novels, or listening to music at least tangentially inspired by fantasy He pursued this not as a hobby, but as an obsession, an addiction that twisted his perception of himself and his place in the world If that seems like a harsh assessment, know that it is his own His enthusiasm only begins to wane when, at the age of 16, and dressed in a cloak, a gang of soccer hooligans toss him into a fountain, to the amusement of other people in the area Just as finding DD was a transformative moment for Barrowcliffe, so too was that moment of public humiliation, an embarrassment that taught him to circumspect in his enthusiasms Some reviewers have criticized Barrowcliffe for looking down on players of roleplaying games, and it s true that he takes his shots at them Some of this is sensitivity to Barrowcliffe s sense of humor, which is sardonic and tends to the cruel, although, it should be noted, that he is himself the target of many of his barbs I believe the English would refer to this as taking the piss out of his subjects of mockery In other words, his jokes are pointed they reveal an essential reality about their victims, most often himself There is personal psychology at work here, too It s been said that people hate most in others that which they hate most in themselves Given that Barrowcliffe fled DD quite literally after an attempt to play as an adult , it s not unsafe to assume that he is projecting onto others his feelings about himself And Barrowcliffe is certainly conflicted He borrows the title of his book from Richard Dawkins s The Selfish Gene, which posits that altruism is an evolutionary adaptation by which individuals with similar DNA are likely to help each other, thus preserving their DNA In other words, selfishness is good for individuals Perhaps Barrowcliffe intended his title to be merely a play on words, but it is better fitting than just that Barrowcliffe s wholesale absorption in his fantasy world is indicative of a level of selfishness beyond that of the average teenager He relates with remarkable clarity, it must be said, that he was, to use his language, a twat, taking sides against his best friend in an argument merely in order to curry favor with another boy who despised him He doesn t see his friend again for 25 years.Despite all the scorn Barrowcliffe heaps on the game, and himself, and his fellow gamers, though, it s clear that he is nostalgic for his childhood He considers playing the game as an adult, even tries, only to run back to reality And even though most of his childhood friends sound like horrible human beings, it must be said that they were teenage males a particular breed with a specific sense of humor There are individuals, too, who stand out in a good way, for instance, the painfully shy Dave, whose only character is a man in a cloak Oh, could he be a ranger No, just a man in a cloak Special attention is given to Billy, Barrowcliffe s best friend for two years of his life Barrowcliffe paints him as a figure larger than life, releasing a fountain of rakish wit when he wasn t smoking or eating which was often Barrowcliffe has a fine sense of humor, and if a reader wonders, why would anyone publish a book about someone s obsession with DD, it s for the comedy Barrowcliffe s is a sense of humor that demonstrates genuine insight, whether it s into England during the 70s, the plight of nerds, or universal truths about teenage boys There is a particularly funny chapter in which Billy and Barrowcliffe, bored, and at wit s end, decide to create incendiary devices from balloons and lighter fluid Just when you think the story can t get any better it does, with a joke about wanking That the story includes a two paragraph interlude in which Barrowcliffe muses on the differences between genders when it comes to risk only indicates his insight and timing I admit that I laughed, not something I do often when reading.In The Elfish Gene, Barrowcliffe lovingly recreates the England of his youth, giving attention both to the setting, Coventry and Birmingham, but also to the characters who populated his life Barrowcliffe is a gifted storyteller with an intuitive sense of character, dialog, and pacing Dyed in the wool gamers may complain about Barrowcliffe s superficial treatment of DD, but, as a nongamer, I found it sufficient, and, it should be noted, the book is less about DD than it is his need for an outlet for his adolescent fantasies A well told, amusing, and surprisingly affecting memoir hampered only by the author s occasionally condescending attitude Recommended. Barrowcliffe describes Dungeons and Dragons, at the height of its fame, as being played by millions of boys and two girls Well, I was one of those girls And that s ok, I m comfortable in the fact that I was and still am, a total nerd And a memoir about Dungeons and Dragons in quite unique.Barrowcliffe was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons at a young age And once immersed he stayed in the life for quite awhile In fact, he became obsessed with it All his pocket money went to DD figurines, books, and other such fantasy role playing games His free time, playing games with large groups or one other person And his normal conversation Well, it couldn t get out of the Dungeon either, and not many people want to know the hitpoints of a dire wolf As he grows he stays immersed in the Dungeons and Dragons world, until finally hitting his twenties and leaving it for what he calls reality.Barrowcliffe freely admits that he was obnoxious and annoying in this book And I have to agree with him There were so many times I wanted to roll my eyes or shake my head that I lost count And while it makes for a true seeming memoir, it can also irritate because you don t like hanging around those types of people let alone reading about that He did describe the other players fairly He was sure to list out their bad qualities, but also tell why he looked up to them And he gave a bit of an epilogue letting you know what happened to them and if they escaped their DD addiction.I was once a halfling cleric named Nyaevae If you re already lost at this point you re going to be hopelessly lost while reading this book There is a lot of technical language about DD that someone who s never played before isn t going to recognize Sure Barrowcliffe explains some of the terms, but it still would be quite confusing for those who haven t even played one game Also, there is some cursing and a little bit of violence and sex in this book, for those that pay attention to that sort of thing The memoir itself has some interesting aspects, and it did bring up a lot of old memories However, at times I found it boring and tedious as I really didn t care about some of Barrowcliffe s exploits Especially since they were repetitive in the fact that he gamed and there was friction amongst the players in the game I was also a little sad at how he seemed to look down on the players of the game now, most significantly if they were adults playing the game I don t consider myself to be too pitiful and I would still play a game at this age if given the time and opportunity Or maybe that says something about me I just haven t realized yet.An interesting book for all those fellow DD nerds out there You may agree or disagree with Barrowcliffe, but he does stir up the memories.The Elfish GeneCopyright 2007277 pagesReview by M Reynard 2013More of my reviews can be found at www.ifithaswords.blogspot.com Note, read the authors comments in the comments section, he points out a few factual errors in this review that I think are worth noting before taking my review seriously Hahahahano.I picked this book up because I was a huge dork in high school and middle school the dorkiest, and hung out with some fairly damaged individuals I was looking at a book to wince at my own memories as I share someone elses, and also in a way celebrate that time.Barrowcliffe hasissues, though He has a tendency to write sweeping generalizations he shouldn t Women don t play Dungeons and Dragons or talk about his high school being worse than Abu Ghraib really You fucking went there, pal It s filled with tons of amusing stories, and really gets alive when he talks about gaming you can tell that, despite all of it, he really loved playing but in the end, this is the story about a writer with a fantastic ego twisting in his own insecurities.There s a post script at the end about how he went to a modern game with strangers, that feels tacked on because it probably was I can just imagine an editor forcing him to try things out to give readers an idea what things are like today, and him resisting all the while As it is read, Barrowcliffe starts off having to remind the reader yet again he is successful and has a wife and a kid He goes into the game with every intent to dislike it, and does, and lets the players know he has a wife and a kid, and importantly, he s a writer He writes things The players are not impressed or try to impress him back, and he is horrified they don t give him proper respect He ends the book with a pity condemenation of these poor, poor souls, and retreats to the safety ofyou guessed ithis wife and his kid.Yeah. I picked this book up because I, like the author, starting playing DD at an early age I think I was 14 instead of 12 when I started Unlike the author however, I still play DD about twice a month with a group of co workers and friends.My feeling for this book is that the author, while on the one hand fondly reminisces about the game and credits the game for many aspects of his adult personality, on the other he clearly holds and demonstrates a certain amount of disdain and ridicule for the game This disdain in my opinion detracts from the book It was like he was once a deep insider to the subculture of fantasy role playing, but has since adopted the general public s point of view of the game, and towards the people who play it, as something to make fun of, ridicule and to be ashamed of if you had once played it yourself.I had such high hopes for this book and was sorely and severely let down.