There’s been a LOT of talk about my previous post. On G+, on Facebook, on blogs and fora and in person. I wanted to follow up with some key points. None of these are direct quotes from anyone (I think), but they’re meant to sum up arguments that I see here and there.
Bear in mind that I’m summing up only my personal perspective, from what I see going on. From where you sit/stand, things may look different.
1. People are still playing games
Yes, they are. I am, too. Right now I’m in two campaigns and one semi-regular group, and we’re talking about setting up a new thing for one-shot games. I know my friends play a lot, too. But the visible, communal discussions and design are pretty much gone. Which is too bad, because we’re not sharing our thoughts and ideas. If we’re just the same gangs, sitting in the same basements, playing the same games, the hobby is dead when we die.
2. That scene was just you (Matthijs) and your buddies
Some were my buddies, some became my buddies. I think we were all open to making new friends, and many of us did. In a tiny scene, you get that – people become friends because they share passions and interests. It was me and others who had the same (sometimes obsessive) interests. This is what art movements are.
3. That scene was insular, elitist and made people feel unwelcome
(This tends to come from people I’ve never met, or from anonymous posters).
We’ve tried to make people feel welcome. We’ve tried to bridge gaps. I don’t tell people that their play preferences are wrong or stupid. People have told me that, though. We tried engaging people in discussion, to find out where all this came from, but it was like sitting in a bright room while people would spit at us from the fog outside. This whole “fight” between “camps” is pointless, a waste of time, and something nobody I know wants. Still it keeps coming up from people I’ve never met.
At my “elitist” con, complete strangers stayed at my house for days and played Draker & Demoner or Street Fighter or GURPS. At the “elitist” fora, people discussed Vampire and D&D4 and talked about why traditional games were awesome and how we could make ARCON (the major mainstream gaming festival) even better. In the “elitist” competitions, people won without anyone knowing who the hell they were.
It feels as if people wanted me and others to play and design and discuss for them. We didn’t. We did it for us. We didn’t design the games you wanted us to design, because they were already out there.
4. There’s lots of shit happening right now
Yes, there’s things going on. But not as much as before, and not by new people. My impression is that some of the people from the scene will continue doing things until we die, but still, I feel that the majority has dissipated.
5. Here’s what you should have done: (…)
You’re not really helping.
6. Here’s what you should do: (…)
Thanks. I, and most people I’ve talked to, know what we should do/have done to keep things going. However, the things we never did, we’re not doing now, and I’m not sure we ever will (in my experience, people don’t start doing things they’ve never done). So I’m not very optimistic.
7. I’m going to do some shit!
YES! Do that!
8. Scenes come and go
Yup. They do, and I think that’s just the way it is. And this one is gone now.
9. The scene is still influential abroad
I know it is, and that makes me very happy!
10. The scene was very tiny, and not representative of what the rest of us were doing
We were representative of us, and what we did was pretty amazing. I’m not representing people I’ve never met or spoken to. I do wish you’d popped by and spoken to us, though.
11. We’re all growing old, and don’t have as much time as we used to
Tell me about it! Again, cycle of life. Scenes come and go.
12. I tried to do things for the scene, but nobody listened to me
We all feel like that sometimes. I’ve felt like that A LOT. I know people won’t believe me, since I talk and talk and sometimes people answer, but yeah. The games I’ve made that nobody’s played, the magazines I’ve made that were only read by the people who made them, etc etc etc. People DO listen, even if they don’t cheer you on or answer when you talk to them (strangely enough). But then, nobody’s responsible for cheering you on, either. You do what you do, you see what happens, nobody owes you anything.
13. The things you did weren’t interesting to me or my friends
14. I’m doing LOTS of shit ALL THE FUCKING TIME!
Tomas, I love you, you’re one of a kind, our biggest inspiration, and please keep on rocking.
15. You’re just a bunch of guys excluding all the girls
No. Ask the girls.