To kick the discussion off, let's be honest with one another (we're all friends here!) and admit that our hobby isn't exactly a conventional one. You're hardly going to be discussing pastimes with family, work colleagues or classmates where the conversation goes: "I like playing football and going to the gym, those are my hobbies." "Cool! I like reverse-engineering old Pokémon games so I can make my own!" For some, the legal implication is a point for consideration depending on your outlook and situation. Another reason, I suppose depending on your age, is the worry that you'll be judged for liking Pokémon; that it could be considered childish, although for lots of ROM hackers their interest in Pokémon has only ever gone as far as the games. Some people also think any kind of game development is awesome and worth talking about! During my time here I've met members whose friends knew all about their ROM hacking hobby and were fully supportive, which is brilliant.
Personally, no one I associate with in real life - not even my most trusted friends - knows about my Pokémon ROM hacking hobby. The main reason for that is because it's something very dear to me that I've grown up with over the years, and it's something I like to keep "just for me". No matter where I'm at in my real life, with family or friends or with other hobbies, I've aways got my own little RH universe to come back to and I'd never swap it. I'm definitely not ashamed to say that it's gotten me through some tougher times.
Do your "real-life" peers know about your interest in Pokémon ROM hacking? Do you shout it from the rooftops or do you keep it quiet? How come?
One of my closest friends is actively helping me with my ROM hack and I have a few other friends with which I bounce ideas. "I'm working in a ROM hack" comes up pretty much any time when Pokemon comes up in conversation. I just like discussing design and Pokemon so I can't help it.
when people ask me what my hobbies are or whatever, i say i have a programming project that i've been working for on/off again over the years with varying levels of devotion
it's weird to think that i will have been going on for a really long time and no real project started, as i'm still learning in a sense
I actually kept it a secret for years, when I first started messing around with ROM hacking. It was only when I moved out of my parents' house and moved in with a roommate that I told anyone about it - my roommate was kind of into Pokémon himself, and he was super excited about it and even ended up designing one of the fakemon in my hack, Fakemon FireRed. Since then, I've told my girlfriend about it, plus a few close friends. It's still not something I bring up with co-workers or even my family, though, I guess just because it is so incredibly niche.
I'll tell anyone who asks. I'm not going to pretend I go home and twiddle my thumbs all night, and besides, I think a lot of the things I work on are relatively interesting! At least, more-so than what happened on last night's Love Island.
But I guess all my friends and coworkers (that would ask about my personal life) are into similar kinds of nerdy things, so there's little risk of someone thinking ill of me :)