Card games, board games and even tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons have been around for generations, but the dice continue to roll.
Games will be in the spotlight this weekend at the CharCon convention in Charleston.
Owners of two city game shops believe the hobby is not only surviving, but thriving in the video era.
Ric Pittman and his wife, Adrienne, opened Champion Cards & Games on Virginia Street East in downtown Charleston in May.
The couple, who are originally from Valdosta, Ga., sell role-playing game merchandise as well as card games like Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.
Ric, 36, started playing the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons in the early 1990s. About 1994, he also started playing collectible card games.
"The hobby has become a lot more mainstream," he said.
Adrienne, who also is 36, believes television shows like Pokemon and movies like Harry Potter have helped bring fantasy, and thus the gaming that follows it, into mainstream culture.
She also believes older gamers like her husband have exposed a younger generation to the hobby. This in turn has helped bring games that used to be played in dark basements and apartments into the limelight.
Grownup gamers have introduced their own kids to the world of role-playing, she said.
"People have grown up with the concept of role-playing games," she said.
The hobby has become so popular that the Pittmans have needed to expand their space at 618 Virginia Street E. into an adjacent storefront.
David Whelan, owner of Lost Legion Games and Comics, says tabletop role-playing and card and board games have become more than just a niche market.
Whelan owns three stores under his Lost Legion flagship: The Rifleman on Charleston's West Side, The Castle in Beckley and The Keep in Princeton.
"Role-playing games are all pretty strong right now," he said. "Old gamers are bringing in new players."
The games allow participants to act out their fantasies of portraying characters such as wizards, warriors or elves using dice and basic math skills. The games have expanded to the point where there are many different concepts outside the realm of fantasy, Whelan said.
There are games that allow participants to be vampires, generals marshaling their armies or even people dealing with a zombie attack. There are many different genres nowadays, he said.
Whelan, a Beckley resident, said basic board games also are big sellers. He says families are attempting to unplug the video game consoles and interact more.
"These games get kids away from the console and interacting with people face to face," he said. "And they get adults away from the console and interacting with people face to face."