I wrote this in a mood of frustration, a couple of years ago. I spent quite a lot of time on online gaming (role playing games or RPGs) but was eventually persuaded by a friend who also played that I was not a gamer but a writer who entered games for the purpose of story development. The game was never enough in itself. But at the time I was immersed in the story and the character I was playing and hated it when the game folded, as they so often do. I stopped playing eventually – a kind of self-preservation.
To a gamer who is moving on.
(Sometimes the organiser of an RPG will abandon their game before others are ready to leave.)
We played hard.
Through woods and mines, into cities of frozen stone,
And vast graveyards of polished bone,
We took our swords, two-headed axes and sharp spears,
All down the years.
Our hearts beat
With the heroic cyber pulse of might and story,
Making us virtual wizards of dread and glory,
Pumping your writing out along our veins,
Singing our names.
We stayed close,
Playing the game, fighting the fight, killing monsters that haunt dreams,
Defeating ghouls that emitted eldritch screams.
We never questioned whether you were true.
We trusted you.
Now you turn
Away from the roles, the play, shelving those who served so long,
Abandoning soldiers who, for you, were strong,
Telling your friends in a voice that hints of shame,
‘It was just a game.’
Who would say,
Compared with friends or kin in London, Paris or Rome,
Compared with loved ones here at home,
That we who kept the faith are not, at the end,
At least as real as them?