Most people today hear "gaming" and immediately think of casinos. And while I am fond of pulling a lever or two in the hopes of a payout, that's not the gaming I'm talking about. I'm talking mainly about Role Playing Games, and to a lesser extent, Collectible Card Games and Board Games.
I was introduced to RPGs just as many people were, though D&D. In 1982, my step-father had decided to re-enter the Air Force, and my mom decided to join up too. So, while they were off training, I went to live with my grandparents in my hometown of Walnut Creek, CA. I was in 6th grade. During that time, I was asked if I played D&D. My response was "What's that?"
Thus began a long journey that has lasted over 25 years, and encompassed games of nearly every genre you can imagine. Supers, horror, pulp, science fiction, non-D&D fantasy, espionage...you name it, I've probably played it. And it was because of my playing D&D that my mom allowed me to watch Conan the Barbarian when I was 13. And that lead me to reading Robert E. Howard, which in turn lead me to reading all sorts of fantasy and science fiction literature (not to mention the class in high school on the genres).
Today I still play D&D (though right now I'm actually running a game, rather than playing). I am considering dipping my toe back into the CCG pool with L5R again, and I play World of Warcraft almost religiously (alternating with City of Heroes, through which I met my wife).
And not only do I play these games, I have tried my hand at writing them as well. I've written several supplements to various systems (my conversion of the Gargoyles TV series for the World of Darkness setting was considered one of the best efforts back in the day). I wrote my own universal system, and have been tweaking it for several years now. Granted, it's a mish-mash of all of the best elements from my favorite RPGs, but I feel that's what most games are anyways. I recently started to convert my universal system to one that is purely Sword & Sorcery (low-magic, high-adventure). And my latest effort is an RPG where the characters are Orcs, and there is a special purpose to the game beyond the adventure itself. More on that some other time.
In short, I am gamer to the core. I love being one, and I will probably be running D&D 10.5 when I am in the retirement home. And no doubt, my beautiful wife will be one of my loyal players.