My first visit I arrived to find a house full of gamers (shockingly the women outnumbered the men) sprawled on college-grade furniture, comfortable if not the same color it had been when new. I don't specifically recall which games were played that night, but the flavor of the games were the same each week: Arkham Horror, Talisman, Magic: The Gathering, Falcon 3.0, X-Wing, Wing Commander and just about anything else that would run on the two-computer LAN, created by punching a hole through a wall and running a network cable. One night a week turned into three as tabletop RPGs picked up on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Fantasy Hero and Champions the games of choice.
With the release of the PlayStation, our little group of gamers made the jump into the console world, which most of us had visited before, particularly as Jay had a job with a local videogame company called SingleTrac. We played the first copies of Warhawk and Twisted Metal on blue box PlayStations and competitive Tetris and Battle Arena Toshinden any time there was a few minutes between other activities. It was an ideal way to spend our hours, and even better when there was money to be made doing it!
As the years slipped by, children were born and the makeup of the group changed, as friends moved away and others moved in. We watched many gamers who gave up their gaming as they moved into the responsibilities and stresses of "real life" and made the decision that we weren't going to do that. It might be necessary to modulate our gaming activities, but we weren't going to give up our community or our games. We refocused on meeting once to twice a week, and children were taught to sleep regardless of whose house they were visiting, and not to eat the dice (though one father did fish a D6 out of a diaper) or the Magic cards, and the gaming went on.
It's been nearly 15 years since that first summer, and in that time I think I've skipped maybe a handful of game nights. Our gaming group is larger now than it ever has been, filled with friends and family and gamer aspirations. Jay still works for a gaming company and started his own independent gaming company, Rampant Games. Other members of the group, Jacob and John in particular, have also gotten into game writing, and most of us blog up a storm. The opportunities created by the internet and advances in multiplayer games have increased the number of nights we're together again, and we've played everything from StarCraft to EverQuest and most recently City of Heroes, where every Tuesday we patrol the streets of Paragon City and bring safety to the unwashed masses.