A year ago this month, Napoleon’s (a local pen and paper game shop) closed it’s doors. It was a store that was around for almost my entire life, one that my old elementary school was across the street from, and I would walk past it nearly every day going to and from school. At one point in it’s history, it was the place in town to pick-up whatever peaked your interest within the realm of Dungeons & Dragons, Battletech, Warhammer, and long list of other games. I admit that I haven’t visited this store very often over the last several years, primarily due to my lack of actually gaming and due to my lack of interest in pen-and-paper gaming in general.
Stores like Napoleon’s are hard to come by these days, with their biggest competitors being computer/console games and the Internet in general (Amazon.com sells a lot of D&D books for less money than the brick-and-mortar stores can), and interest in pen-and-paper gaming by younger generations being as minimal as it is. These store will disappear one day, and to with it pen-and-paper gaming as we know it.
On the bright side, the Internet may bring about a new generation of pen-and paper gaming. Player communities can create their own games and distribute them with total ease on the web, without the need to physically publish any books, and have the same level of detail as any hardcover D&D book.
At the end of it all, it’s sad to see another piece of my childhood disappear and another fine establishment vanish, but that’s all part of growing up, and as time goes by, things do change for the better… sometimes.