Old Spice has created a D&D 3.5 character class. I read about it in a news story, which seemed surprised that Old Spice should do such a thing.
As I watch my beard turn white, though, I often find myself thinking, “I bet tabletop games could do well in retirement communities.” The people who started playing D&D in the late 70s and early 80s are nearing retirement age. Almost every gamer has fond memories of all-night sessions, but most players stopped playing as adult commitments – family, a career – filled their time.
But they call old age a “second childhood” for a reason. The kids are gone, you’ve either made it in your career, or you haven’t. Either way, you’re getting old, and there’s some time to kill before the Grim Reaper comes for you. So, why not break out the D&D books, roll up some characters, and murder your way through a few dungeons?
And, medically speaking, it’s likely… quite healthy for older people. It is social, and even at my age I’m starting to feel a trifle isolated and have trouble making new friends. It keeps a person mentally alert; they’re using their mind, exercising creativity, etc., etc.
Given that Old Spice is the cologne of choice for old men, it seems to me that they know their target audience. A lot of geeks are getting up there in years. Go to any smaller sci-fi or fantasy convention in America, and you’ll see plenty of gray hairs. The idea that geek hobbies are somehow the domain of the young is preposterous. The things the kids these days obsess about were created by the people in my generation – or even in my parents’ generation. They’re not new.
What surprises me is that Dungeons & Dragons hasn’t come out with a Silver Edition targeted at older players – people who are now free to game as they did as kids and who have a LOT more money to do it.
(FWIW, the class isn’t playable. It is, functionally, a more martial version of the bard – better with weapons but without spells, yet able to provide party buffs. However, for its special abilities, they often lack details such as what kind of action it is to use a given ability. And many abilities are tongue-in-cheek, such as giving the character the ability to change in-game decisions usually made by the DM. While it is an interesting marketing tool towards a growing segment of their target demographic, they could have put a bit more work into the character class, itself, and made it fully playable. Quite frankly, if the class was better done, it is very much the kind of thing I enjoy playing.)