Serious Gamers is a meetup group and community I established May 2022. There are plenty of groups for board gamers or game developers, but I found that those groups were too narrow in scope. Instead, I wanted to make a group that attracted anybody who takes gaming seriously: not just as an idle diversion, but as an activity worthy of pursuit and an art form worthy of analysis.
In her book Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal writes:
Through gaming, we find a source of intellectual and physical challenge that stretches us to the limits of our abilities. Gaming engenders flow state, what psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi considers the optimal human experience in which someone experiences an adequate amount of challenge and competency to feel as if time melts away. Certainly, gaming can engender laziness and be addictive. Like any other activity, it can be done to excess. But we believe in the power of gaming to improve reality, provide a consistent mental challenge, and to empower community. Understanding how to use gaming for good instead of bad is just one more aspect to nerd out about.
The group passed 200 local members in the Salt Lake City, UT area and a wider group of people have congregated on the Discord server. We regularly meet for both in-person and virtual events.
Video Game Book Club
In our Video Game Book Club events, we pick a game—sometimes popular, sometimes not—that is worth a closer look. Just like a typical book club, attendees bring all their thoughts and opinions to the table and we hold an open discussion. We discuss the individual game, but also seek out larger truths about game design in general.
So far we have had events discussing these subjects
- Elden Ring, and Open World Games
- Resident Evil Village, and Survival Horror
- Return of the Obra Dinn, and Deduction as a Game Mechanic
- Inside, and Puzzle Platformers
- Monster Train, and Rougelite Deckbuilders
- Grim Fandango & Point-and-Click Adventure Games
Game Dev Coworking
Every other week, those of us interested in the game development side of things gather for Game Dev Coworking. These events offer a chance for established game developers or those interested in getting started to meet each other and discuss their projects.
Attendees use the events to get feedback on their game projects, discuss the various game engines, get unstuck on technical or mechanic problems, or just chat with other passionate people.
We meet every other Sunday in a dedicated space. Areas for dedicated work, a communal area, and food and drinks are all provided.
We also do a number of more casual events, where people from the group drawn by the joy of communal gaming can gather. Such events include board game meetups, online games, and meetups at a cafe or local bar.
Serious Gamers can be found on Meetup.com. If you're local to the Salt Lake City area, I'd love to meet you. If you'd like to start up a chapter of Serious Gamers in your own city, please reach out!