Monday, December 27, 2010

Ready to Roll

I have been hesitant to go into much depth about my gaming obsession, it's sort of like a dirty little secret that people keep well under wraps. I know a lot of people who just won't talk about it until you give them the secret hand shake and in a discreet locale. But In the interest of casting some link onto the subject of "El Diablo" I will come clean. Yes I am a gamer, and a presently active gamer. I didn't put away my toys when I grew up and still buy more.

So there it is, I'll let you chew on that a bit. This is going to be pretty game centric, so you may want to read something else or find a less dwarf loving blog.

Everyone gone yet?

Hello my gaming friends, I would like to thank you for your time. I am concerned with our hobby. I have been looking at the store and have found for all the retro love of crunchy games, producers are just not making very fun products anymore. By this I mean books that would make the fourteen year old me rush into the mall B. Dalton's and thumb through excited as Christmas morning. Where has the "oh cool" gone from the bookshelves? Adolescent joy is now the anathema of the game store.

Please dear reader let us take look over a sample store's shelves.After wandering around a bit, I found a few books tucked under a miniatures cabinet. Initially I thought this some sort of overstock area but the books were sort of new and had limited water damage. Most were 4Th edition Dungeons and Dragons or some sort of White wolf product. The variety was pretty limited and I have to admit I own more gaming books than were on this sad little shelf. Most were uniform and nondescript, and so I left partially growling at the cashier offering me help. A second store later I found myself face to face with actual variety worthy of browsing. Most of the large line products were here, the core rule books were present, they sold dice. OK, In the right place now. Suck it D&J your a joke. Now that I am at a real store it hits me. These games aren't fun, they are for the aged and mature. They have great settings with depth and plot but shit if they ain't any fun. They practically scoff at my younger self. Here the cold realization sets in, I would be a Warcraft player not a gamer if young these days! Back then while I enjoyed shows like the prisoner, I loved military movies and bad scifi. My friend and I bought silly martial arts weapons from flea markets. Tramped around the woulds and acted like fools. A good game would let us embrace and live out the technicolor violence we dreamed.

As I looked around I saw about eight varieties of Call of Cthulu games. This was the old guy game back in my time, you were going after story and a simple system that let you move the plot along with little else here. Gun's didn't win the day, if you saw a monster you had already lost. You weren't gonna bazooka Hastur to the stone age. This was a game I yawned and passed, but now its taking over the store. And may more setting focused games prowl the shelves, subtly reinventing genres and defanging joy.

In the growth of the hobby we are failing those new to it. Sure there is D&D but when there is only one genre of MMO's why would more of that same genre give new players anything other than a familiar starting point. Where are the Torg's or Dark Conspiracies of this day? Even Shadowrun has matured out of the DMZ to some sort of Sunday night story fest for forty-somethings. Perhaps the last bastion of the over the top gamer is Palladium books.

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