Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Eternal Paradox

Random Lonely Nerd: "I wish more people were interested in [comic books/Star Trek/Dungeons & Dragons/etc.]."

Random Annoyed Nerd: "It was better before more people became interested in [comic books/Star Trek/Dungeons & Dragons/etc.]."

33 comments:

  1. The curse of popularity. I know it well. Back in the 1990s I was a part of "Panhistoria", a writing group dabbling in alternative Victorian Scientific Romance. We were all well versed in Verne, Wells, Griffith, etc. We wished the interest would become more popular, and then "Steampunk" grew like a weed. I attended a convention in 2006, to speak to a large Steampunk group and discovered that less than 6% of them had ever read the original stories. They were more interested in gluing clock gears to everything, donning goggles, and wearing corsets outside their clothes. I have seen this happen in several genres and I have concluded, It is better to celebrate your passions with a few dedicated comrades rather than the trend following masses.

    Hail Esoterica!

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    1. Ah yes, steampunk. If you somehow haven't had the good fortune to hear Sir Reginald Pikedevant's musical discourse on the subject you're addressing, I heartily recommend a listen:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFCuE5rHbPA

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  2. haha this is great and on point, inre to grognards and gatekeepers.

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  3. I think back at the time, with no internet some players had problems finding other D&D fans, especially if they were living in small villages or towns. Nowadays they might be living well anyway. Despite that I find it amazing going to a bar and see a young pretty lady ordering a beer wearing the hellfire club t-shirt. Ah, if you are questioning if I am joking, the answer is no and I have the evidence.

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  4. "Oh, you've heard of that band? I guess they suck now..."

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    1. Yea, I hate that attitude. Sure, after they become popular, the band (or author, or whatever) may change the creative output, but the original stuff that was loved, why does it suddenly become trash?

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  5. I have never asked for more people to like the things I like.

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    1. I just wanted to add, that as a collector, I feel very overwhelmed. in 1986, you could have bought EVERYTHING spiderman (that came out that year) for what, $800? even accounting for inflation, you could not do that today for 25 times that amount.

      just look at the insane rise of prices for RPG products. all while there are more items than ever before.

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    2. Get out when a company starts selling products aimed at collectors. Easier said than done.

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    3. Anybody forcing you at gunpoint to buy products?

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  6. I dunno. Someone else's liking or disliking of what I'm into doesn't particularly bother me. I don't do things because they are cool, things are cool because I do them.

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    1. I might modify that to "I don't do things because they are cool to others, I do things because they are cool to me."

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    2. But what if thousands of new consumers started liking what you like... and what they like most about it is the dumbest parts? And then they turned those parts into the entirely until everything cool about it had been stripped away?

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    3. Like the video game industry turning into a giant slot machine, for instance.

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    4. How do new consumers eliminating the cool stuff? Are they coming to our houses and burning our OD&D books? Are they staging raids on games of Gamma World? Are they hacking the hard drives of OSR content creators and destroying their work?

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    5. "But what if thousands of new consumers started liking what you like... and what they like most about it is the dumbest parts? And then they turned those parts into the entirely until everything cool about it had been stripped away?"

      I think that that was how Dave Arneson felt after Gary Gygax re-interpreted Blackmoor as D&D.

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    6. Lol, yeah... until somebody comes to my house and tells me I can't run this game or that game, or forces me to run 5th edition, I really don't give a damn what they're doing. There are plenty of new games/movies/whatever that I don't like. No big deal, I just ignore them and play/watch/whatever what I do like. As far as "the Hobby" is concerned, well things change, like it or not. If some kid wants to play some game with only "the dumbest parts" more power to 'em.

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    7. "If some kid wants to play some game with only "the dumbest parts" more power to 'em."

      What?! How can you possibly sleep at night knowing someone somewhere is doing something incorrectly?!?

      :D

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  7. I used to be that first person wishing there were more people who played RPGs. No more. Experience has taught me that "good" and "popular" are inversely correlated a lot of the time. It's not people discovering something is good and them enjoying it on mass that ruins it. It's because the people whose only interest is in strip mining pop-culture for the sake of their bank accounts ruin it.

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  8. I still can't see the surge of the unwashed masses, clawing at the doors to play all the games I really wanted to play since time immemorial (CoC, Mage, Kult, Grunt, Zenobia, Over the edge, UVG and lots of others), so I'm not overly worried.

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  9. It's quantity of time - not people - that's the key governor. Adulting kills your "fun" schedule. As a teen in the 80s I was content with my group of four; we played three times a week. Nowadays, gathering three players once a month is a challenge.

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  10. I've never been one of those people who says "growing the hobby is a good thing". The worst times for quality of products and fans IME are when the hobby was flourishing/at a high point in "population": whether the boom of the early/mid 80s, the rebirth of D&D/ launch of SRD/OGL/D20 glut, in the past 8ish years with 5E.

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  11. More popularity means more weird niche stuff too. All for popular.

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  12. I admit to sometimes feeling like this.
    Not because of people, though.
    I know how to identify and avoid jerks, and I'm all for more people delving into rpgs, s-f, comics.
    What I find fatiguing, is the sheer size, soulless-ness and ubiquitousness of contemporary pop culture.

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    1. That's almost exactly my own feeling on the matter.

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  13. I am glad the hobby has grown. If it hadn't exploded in the universities in 1974, I probably would never have played. Sure, sometimes that growth causes problems, but the magic of the internet is that we can easily find smaller groups of like minded people to discuss gaming with and with the ease of VTT, even game with (with VTT over the past bunch of years, I have gamed with almost as many folks over seas as living locally not to mention the several times that number that are more distant, considerably more than half not even in my timezone). Most of the time I don't have to deal with the crazy masses in the hobby.

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  14. I am not and never will be this guy. Very glad people enjoy what I like and being able to talk about comics, watch Marvel movies, play rpgs together.

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  15. I love that TTRPGs are thriving. I've played so many great games in the past few years that would not have existed if the hobby hadn't pulled in so many new people over the past few years. The breadth of designs coming out today dwarfs the variety and styles of earlier eras. It's simply amazing.

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    1. Breadth and style does not equal quality. Most material published for 5E is bland and neutered for political correctness. Revisiting older, superior, material only amplifies the stark contrast.

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    2. 99% of everything is crap, as Theodore Sturgeon put it. That was true in 1974 and has been true ever since. I don't know your specific tastes, obviously, but I'd be willing to bet that there is numerically more quality material suited to them being published now than there was at any point in the past. There's just *also* more garbage.

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    3. D&D is "thriving" depending on how you define the word. The number of different RPGs available is because of direct to consumer distribution channels. We see this in every form of entertainment. It is not unique to RPGs. The growth in the number of RPGs doesn't have anything to do with the number of new players, it has everything to do with the access to market.

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    4. There's a lot of truth in that, BUT, the number of games available exploded shortly after D&D was published. Granted some of that was access to market (game stores eager to fill shelves with this new kind of game) but it was also a result of the growing interest in the hobby. And in truth, without a growing number of players, there would be less of a market even with direct to consumer channels. Also note that really, most RPGs are still sold via some kind of distribution channel, it's just that the costs of having the distributor (DrivethruRPG and others) carry your product are minimal. Very few people sell their games direct from their own website (other than a number of successful publishers, some of them individuals and some companies with at least a few employees). And DriveThruRPG wouldn't do what they do if it wasn't for the growing number of players.

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