Friday 11 May, 2012

Bridging the Gamer Generational Gap?

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Hello Again…

First off I wanted to congratulate Tim H. for winning the blog opening contest.  His ideas game me some great fuel for thought.  Thanks to the others who also offered some sound ideas.  Grappling and overbearing rules have been a bug up my behind for many years, and now that I am about to publish an OSR type supplement shortly, I wanted to work on a mechanic that I was comfortable with.

So onto my topic of the evening.  I was actually going to write about steampunk rpgs tonight.  I had a bunch of thoughts on systems, settings, and the genre in general that I wanted to get into the open… Then I saw the picture I just placed as my featured image.  I knew WotC was going to republish the original three AD&D books, heck I have even pre-ordered.  Not that I need another set, but some of the money is going to the Gygax memorial so I said what the hell.  Seeing the three books in a modern ad really brought back some fond memories.  I still remember looking at the core books at a small hobby shop in San Francisco called “The Dungeon Master” on Geary Blvd.  The amazing feeling and the passion to own them that filled me.  I remember having the argument with the shop owner over my comparison of Elric to a 1/2 elf and the following Christmas when my mother bought me all three books.  The core AD&D books are part of who I am and who I became.  So you can probably see my excitement in their re-release.

Why is WotC doing this?  I would like to think that WotC is really doing this for the Gygax memorial, in my heart I am hoping that the company which abandoned two generations of D&D fans for a higher profit margin was trying to make right with the fans…  The harsh reality of it is, I don’t know.  It seems WotC did figure out that by abandoning D&D’s early edition fan base caused some major ripples.  The OSR movement is a prime example of that.  Awesome people like Matt Finch, John Adams, Joe Goodman, James Raggi, and Daniel Proctor have brought early edition clones or simulacrum games which can allow us to play older edition games without having to comb ebay for books.  While WotC took away the ability to buy the older games on PDF, other created other versions of said games with a cleaner layout, written more coherently, and within arms reach.  In addition… get this, absolutely free.  By using the open gaming license we now have very cool games in which to have our old school mega-dungeons fill our tables every week.  So now after Wizards has lost another market share of people, do they think this is going to have us running back?  Are most of us going to say “oh WotC you silly goose, we know you meant well”… Fuck No!  Although I am buying a copy of the reprints, Wizards can bite my 40 something crank.  I tried to buy in to their 4e bandwagon, but now I sit with bookshelves full of door stops and table leg equalizers.  D&D next? please.  WotC if you really want to make it up to your fans, republish all the old editions and let people play what they want to play.  The days of one RPG to rule them all is over, and even if it wasn’t Paizo took all the loyal fans you kicked in the Jimmy back in 08 and gave them Pathfinder.   Paizo took your game, made it better, and then took your fan base.  ::golf clap::

So now that I have climbed off my soap box I can get to business.  Over that past two years I have tried to introduce some of my game stores’ young gamer folk to AD&D.  It has been like pulling teeth.  If the games does not have feats or powers no body even wants to talk to you.  The day I brought my Moldvay/Cook stuff and wanted to run Keep on the Borderlands, you should have heard the mockery.  Race as class was something the  “old folk” did and how primitive a game design.  Really?  Now this is not because I suck as a GM (well I don’t think I do anyway), I have run many successful games over the past few years at the shop.  What is with the basic D&D/ AD&D stigma?  I have enjoyed this game for years, I just want to share my passion… that is all.  What I am really hoping for is that the reissued books will put a new and shiny spin on this old game.  Perhaps those youngsters will see this as something worthy of their respect (and money), perhaps they will learn to read high Gygaxian, perhaps appendix N will stir interest in reading the classic of fantasy.  Maybe for once I will get a nod when I say save or die, or someone else will like the number crunching of the psionics system.  With this re-release finally see the game for all its good points?  I have long ago given up on the notion that the newer the game the cooler I was for playing it.  The good people who empowered the OSR got me to pull stuff out of storage and appreciate what I owned.  I am a gamer, I play what makes me happy.  Lets hope WotC will get some good out of this run and make AD&D cool to another generation.  Perhaps I can have an argument with a 16 year old gamer about Elric and half elves…  It really needs to come full circle.

2 Comments

  • burnedfx says:

    You can donate directly to the Gygax fund.

    WotC reprints (or WotC anything) revitalizing new interest is a joke. I am not excited about the reprints based on their track record.

    Did you end up running something else at the store?

  • James says:

    The fanboy in me wanted to own the books, but I guess I have to be a bit realistic about the re-release bringing new gamers in to the fold. One can dream right?

    I end up running more newer stuff at the store. Hollow Earth Expedition was the last game I ran, and I run Shadowrun missions once a month. I would just love it if I could run some people through white plume mountain or G1, but the negative stigma against older edition games puts a stopper on that.


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