Monday, July 12, 2010

Pondering different types of gamers or reasons why people get into gaming

Thinking more about old school and the complaints of the ilk regarding the more negative stereotype with the new generation.

One interesting evolution about the games is that they have been made to be more consistent, robust and easier to use. Imagine the GM and Players of yore as work and responsibilities had finally caught up to him/her. Market Share dips, and these gamers voice their reasons: ease the prep or prerequisites, more robust and consistent rules. Then what happens, the market and makers listens and begin to put more work in order to help these people out.

As the games became easier, the cost to get into the hobby got smaller. More people came in. Some like the previous adopters, but found the hobby just slightly out of reach before. Then there are those who were very different and had a very different view about the game.

Eventually the gamer market grew and inevitably it changed. You have another group of people who came into the hobby with a different take and a very different point of view of the same familiar things. As the market diversified, tastes diversified. Old and New got to sample different genres, flavors and styles. As with much of human experience, subjectivity and personal experiences win out arbitrary lines of difference. We have our old and new schools.

Has anyone looked at their own personal evolution and change in the hobby and admitted to the "bragging rights", the in-jokes and stories that prevented new friend from being made, arguments about style, or when unhealthy amounts of projection and escape were pilled into the hobby? Getting into the hobby when I was in highschool in the late 90s and seeing the values of various groups up till now, same pitfalls are still there. what changed was a more recent adopter.

Although something has really changed, a trend that is very much different from when the games were just trying to be better. The quintessential game fictional GMs like BA, Nitro, and Pete keep aspiring to seem to be a more distant memory. It seems the new systems and its simpler and simpler evolutions are headed to the opposite the direction of the earlier innovators were going.

When the first Gamers took their wargame and decided to perform actions using only their own logic, reasoning and imagination to resolve they opened up infinity... the new systems seek to simplify to the point that infinity is eliminated and all there is are the very very specific rules.

When the Old School Gamers complain of skills are doing the thinking for the player, they are largely correct. The system was designed so that a player with very little or no investment in the gaming-problem solving skills can just jump in. The rewards were designed to intensify the imersion by providing a more fantastic and addictive escape from reality. They were more disconnected to real world sensibilities that sh*t happened and sometimes there are no rewards. The games were designed to hook these new crowd into the hobby and identify themselves as Gamers. The idea was to get them to brand themselves as Gamers so they would be more manipulatable... of course there was no intent to teach them these hard won skills that cost patience and so much time gamers of old so loved.

It seems, the last bastion of the old school is not the new products but the compilation of skills, problem solving habits and outlook to adversity that most of the veterans attribute to the hobby. In the end, its not the game system but how their hard work, camaraderie, fair play and fun changed their lives and outlook on life.

As to replicating all that, I think it does come from any gaming material. It comes from the Player or GM and the values he/she projects in life. That is what people see and what attracts them to what these people find fun and interesting. When they take up the dice with such people, it is only natural that learn and realize the usefulness and the effectives of the gaming medium.

Simply put A Good Person, who happens to love the Game is a Good Gamer. Their presence and character are where the next generations of good gamers will come from... by helping in the development of other Good People who happen to love Gaming.
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