It seems to me that there are some people who are dedicated to going around rpg sites talking about (with a bizarre tone of pride) their "gaming is just an excuse for getting together with your friends". And they smugly declare that "they play to be with their friends, not for the game". Or that "friends are the most important thing" about roleplaying; and looking down on and insulting those who have a "too serious" attitude and dare to think that playing an RPG should be something more than merely social. Some even make absurd proclamations like "you shouldn't game with anyone who you wouldn't be friends with normally".
I, personally, game for the game. Pretty much everyone I game with I'd say are my friends, and its nice to have developed friendships based on my RPG hobby. However, while some of those friends have evolved into more than JUST "gaming buddies", there are many others that are not friends in any context other than us getting together to game.
Essentially, there are many people in my gaming group that, if we weren't getting together to play an RPG, we wouldn't be getting together at all.
So to me, I'm firmly on the "game" side of things. RPGs do have a purpose aside from socialization: that purpose is the game. Like any really worthwhile game or sport, the purpose is in playing and perfecting yourself through that play, and having a good experience of play. The RPG is not just an "excuse to get together with your friends": I have friends(made via gaming or made via many other sources), I don't need an "excuse" to get together with them. When we get together in my gaming group, we are there to game. Its fine to socialize, but we're not just there to fuck around and maybe game, and there's certainly no problem in telling people to get focused and get playing, because that's what we're there for.
I would suggest that its those who are loudly proclaiming how their RPG play is just their "excuse" for being with friends that have the problem: why the fuck do you need an excuse? If your gaming is just your source for socialization, the way you get friends, it would imply to me not that you are somehow more social than other gamers, but that you are less. You are incapable of making friends or engaging in normal social activity if you aren't using some kind of hobby/sport as a crutch by which to have them. Maybe your loud proclamations about how bad it is for people to see games as serving any purpose aside from socialization comes out of the personal fear that you can't make friends without RPGs, and that if it wasn't for RPGs the people you call your "friends" probably wouldn't want to hang out with you.
(Originally Posted March 31, 2008)