Gainesville, FL - Area geek Ross Davis has learned to overcome his
long-standing social anxiety by turning his life into a Role-Playing
RPG systems such as D&D and GURPS have been part of the geek
culture for decades, but they have traditionally served to further
cement their participants into Loserdom. With the advent of computerized
RPGs such as Neverwinter Nights and the Final Fantasy series, geeks
have been able to further socially isolate themselves. Davis claims
that his revolutionary application of RPGs can increase a geek's
social skill by several levels and result in the accomplishment of
new social feats.
"I've been playing RPGs for a long time," said Davis. "From
Bard's Tale to Chrono Cross, I've been leveling up while everyone
else is out living it up. I decided it was time to get out of my
apartment and join the party... wait, hold on a sec." Davis
then lapsed into silence as his full attention became focused on
Lost Kingdoms II.
"Hooooo buddy - I think this bad boy is gonna cough up a Runestone!" Davis
blurted out several minutes later.
After being bribed with an old P233 Gateway system, the 26-year-old
Systems Programmer was convinced to leave his apartment in order
to demonstrate his RPG-As-Real-Life system.
"Okay," Davis explained, "the goal here is to gain
experience so you can level up - just like an RPG. For example, I
haven't had a date since about the time that Skies of Arcadia: Legends
came out. So my objective is to talk to girls without being paralyzed
by overwhelming social anxiety."
He continued, "Every time I talk to a girl, I reward myself
with some experience points. The longer the conversation, the more
experience I get. Instead of playing as a character in a game, I
am the character and my social life is the game. In the end, I am
able to transform an unknown, frightening reality into a comfortable,
exciting fantasy. Remember - reality: bad, fantasy: good."
"Right now my focus is on one of my stats that I call CER -
my Chick Exposure Rate. See, as my CER increases, my probability
of performing a critical hit (getting a date) dramatically increases.
It's just a matter of simple statisti-" Davis then broke off,
his eyes following an attractive University of Florida co-ed on rollerblades.
"Yow! Now that's a perfect level ten," Davis said appreciatively.
Davis explained that talking to the "level ten" girl was
out of the question due to his lack of experience. "When you
first start an RPG, you don't immediately strap on your leather armor
and charge headlong at a Lich King. You've got to work your way up
to it. And so it is with women."
Davis then made his way to a nearby bus stop where an aged homeless
woman wearing Hefty bags on her feet was slouched against a fire
"Now THIS is more like it!" Davis exclaimed enthusiastically.
He proceeded to have an animated discussion with the transient.
After several minutes of conversation, Davis presented her with $1.58
in loose change and reported on his progress.
"I'd say I only get 5 EXP for that encounter," Davis said
with some disappointment. "She was a very low-level creature.
Still, every little bit contributes to that next level." He
then logged the five experience points into his PDA.
Psychologist Greta Amberbock gave cautious approval when told of
Davis's RPG approach to socializing.
"It is often very helpful to have a reward system when dealing
with social anxiety and other disorders," Amberbock said. "Of
course, one must be sure that the reward itself is healthy. For a
person who spends much of his time immersed in a video game world,
it is perhaps not so healthy to have a video game related reward.
Still, it appears that he has made progress and will continue to
Added Amberbock, "At least until [Final Fantasy] Crystal Chronicles
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