I'd Like to buy the World a Game…

Dork Covenant will be released in French soon, and my publishers in Paris asked me to write an introduction to it.

In the middle of writing it, I discovered that a joke I was making actually turned into a good point. And it’s not that often that I make good points, so I thought I’d repeat it here.

Not many people know I went to school in France. At least for a little while.

The school was located near Nice, and the two things I cherish most about it were learning about Charlemagne, and the food.

I was born in Manchester, England, and went to school in Somerset. But if there are two things English schools *aren’t* noted for, it’s teaching Charlemagne, and the food.

As often as I can, I try to return to France. I took my wife (the lovely and talented Judith) to Paris for our honeymoon. The last time I was in England, I also dragged the poor woman across the English Channel on a small ferry in the middle of a full gale (did you ever see the movie “The Perfect Storm”? Then you’ll have seen the highlights from our trip).

I learned French from the Asterix and Obelix books my father would bring back from his travels. So even though I still have a hard time checking into a Parisian hotel and asking for a large room with two beds and a bath, the next time they invade I can at least state with confidence that “These Romans are crazy!”

When I was in school in Nice that year, my French was actually pretty good. Now, alas, alack, it is almost totally gone. My mind is nothing is not sieve-like.

But thanks to my good friends at Darwin Project, I’ve just learned another phrase in French:

“Hey, Marcia! Come and see the satanist!”

I’m hoping to yell this one day as a fall-back plan, when I once again fail to make it understood that I’d like a large room with two beds and a bath.

The world can seem like a very big, confusing place, sometimes (particularly if you’re a cartoonist who draws muskrats), but one of the things I love about being a gamer is that, in essence, we all speak the same language.

We all know the pain of a bad die roll.

We all know the thrill of creating a brand-new character.

We all know the joy of anticipation of awaiting the next cool release from our favorite company for our favorite game system. And we all know the agony when that release ends up sucking.

Yes indeed, Gaming is like Esperanto (although with less phlegm involved).

I was in Florence one beautiful summer evening, in the great square, and I was amazed at the kids from all over Europe that flocked to the plaza. You could hear Italian, French, German, English, Dutch and Spanish as the songs and the laughter filled the air. In a way, I think gaming is like that: it brings people together from all over the world.

Gaming is far richer itself because it crosses national borders and language barriers. The French bring something different to the hobby, as do the Americans, the Irish, the Germans, the Scots, the Spanish, the Italians, the Greeks, the English, the Australians, the Brazilians…

Having Dork Tower translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian is a thrill beyond words for me. The fact that I get to travel so much in support of Dork Tower, to see so many people and nations and cultures, each unique but in so many other ways, fundamentally similar, fundamentally HUMAN, is an amazing feeling.

As they say the world-over…


John Kovalic


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