All that is left to carry on the tradition are a few small companies like Fresno Game Associates, run as labors of love by hobbyists, who manage, in these days of desktop publishing, to produce games of remarkably high graphic quality which are, by and large, thoroughly derivative and quite mediocre. Where wargames once sold in the hundreds of thousands, a game that sells a few thousand units is accounted a success; an industry that once sold in department and chain stores across the country now has products only in a few scattered hobby outlets. Wargaming is not quite extinct, no; but all that remains are the reflex twitches of a still-warm corpse.From a very interesting essay by Greg Costikyan on the decline and fall of RPGs' big brother. Thanks to Justin Alexander for pointing me toward it.
It is hard for those of us who grew up with wargames, who loved them, who spent so many years studying them and taking them seriously as works of scholarship and art, it is hard for us to acknowledge this. We keep on hoping for some last minute reprieve, some renaissance; how could so much effort, so much inspired work, go for nought? How can it be that all of our labors will be forgotten? Yet it is so: whole artforms, whole genres grow and disappear. Where now is vaudeville? Radio drama? The air story? Perhaps board wargaming will survive in some form, greatly diminished from its glory days, as have poetry and the western; but that is all that can be hoped for.