Staying in the Game

The word has come down. All games older than Ten years will have the text flake off the pages. All you old geezers will have to buy into the new games to keep playing. HA!

Well not yet at least. I’m quite sure the Evil Liches in the basement at Hasbro have been working on that. Just like the MAAfia wants to charge you royalties for the song stuck in you head.

I say it often enough, the words do not fall of the pages when a new game comes out. It is no vice to keep playing the system you like, and no virtue to constantly jump systems.

To wit: I have not even cracked the cover of 5e. Not because it is a bad game, but because it is a different game. The system changes are sufficient that I would have to rewrite my whole world to conform to it. Reams of work. Last I checked I was not into self flagellation.

So do not feel you have to have the latest thing if you are having fun. Players, just because a game is not the latest thing does not mean it’s a bad game. The fun does not fall out of a game because they stick with a system that works for that game.

Years ago I ran into a girl on a Star Trek forum that would not watch Casablanca because it was Black & White. It is still one of the best films I have ever seen. Hopefully she has gained in wisdom. The point being don’t be that person. Do not judge a game by the age of the rules.

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Growing up, everything was black & white for my family, even the things in color! But I guess they don’t make reverse-Ted-Turner tvs anymore.

I think we crossed a line as a culture sometime after 2000. I’m not sure when, maybe between 2005 and 2015? People - generally young people who weren’t already set in their ways - got bombarded by more movies, tv shows, music, games, and internet stuff than ever before, and a lot of it was made permanently available instead of scheduled. No more missing an episode because you were out shopping, no more waiting for second-run theaters or home video releases of that cinema masterpiece you missed. More of it than ever and it never goes away, and it’s a lot to go through. Even if they don’t want most of it, it takes work to find what they do want. Since they’re always filtering new incoming stuff, basically their whole lives up to now, they haven’t experienced the older stuff, and so they don’t assign any particular value to it. That’s all media in general, and I think it holds true enough to RPGs, there are more releases now than ever. And so the default stance of the Youth Of Today™ is Nothing Before Me, 'Cause Have You Seen How Goddamn Much There Is Now?

Whereas in my youth, that blursed time known as The Eighties, you watched whatever was on tv and listened to whatever was on the radio and played whatever game you had the bits to play because that’s all there was. And thankfully, it was varied. Weekend afternoons were a grab bag if you were around the house, could be Marx Brothers, could be Night Gallery, could be something so dull it would force you into the open air. My generation was at least exposed to a broad age of media and did assign value to it, and that colors how we judge all older material, in that we don’t dismiss it outright.

People need to see old games being played to feel like there’s something worth seeking out. Kind of an experiential spam filter: old is -10, being used now is +15, the total scored high enough to not get moved to the junk folder.

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I was born in the Eisenhower administration. I’m a child of the Sixties. Three lousy channels, the library, outside. That was the entertainment options. Help was the first film I saw as a kid. Why my Dad took us to that one? We were all Beetle crazy. The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.

The sheer volume of media available at the touch of a finger is staggering. The computer I’m using was unthinkable in 1973 when I hit high school. IBM was still thinking in terms of Huge-I-vac.

When I started the hobby there were a few choices in terms of games. D&D and…D&D. I saw it as a rules for the kind of thing my friends and I had been doing all along.

Hate to have to say this, but you guys don’t really get the point. It has nothing to do with if its old or new or good or bad. There is one thing, and one thing only, that younger people are interested in… PEOPLE. Humans only learn with other humans, we only gain interest in things if we have communities and people do to them with. I don’t know if any of you noticed, but all the things we all grew up doing are GONE. Not just boring or defunct, but have been specifically ripped out and destroyed with the gentrification or run-down destruction of neighborhoods. The only thing “The Youth” have to interact with is a bunch of lies and bullshit that constantly force feed them the “latest and greatest” while subtly removing any of the older stuff. This isn’t just about memes going old or games disappearing. This happens with academic journals and legitimate medical information. The only thing younger people have as a way to connect with each other systematically removes access to older things and constantly pushes only the new things on them. Double onto that the amount that the older generation shits on them by shoving participation trophies down their throats and never letting them just go make mistakes and the younger generation literally doesn’t have access to older people to learn from.

If you really want the younger generation to experience and appreciate the classics offer to spend time with them and make it fun for them like it was for you. Stop judging and comparing the difference and notice the real root here – young people are depressingly levels of lonely and overwhelmed and terrified because of it.

For me the game has always been about the social aspect. One reason remote gaming holds little appeal. It is about breaking bread with friends.

However I’ve seen too many people hung up on game or editions. Some people are shallow that way, the latest thing or they can’t have fun with it. You wonder how anyone can enjoy chess or poker. They have not had new cards, pieces or rules in forever. (Yes I know, there are people fiddling with chess all the time. The classic game remains.)

Fun is not found only in novelty.

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It’s something I think about a lot. On the one hand, I’m seriously content with the systems – or even modernized versions of systems – I played in the 70s and 80s. On the other, I want to keep an open mind. Someone might just come up with a system I like better.

That’s the way it is with the updated version of games I play. I like the 7th (!) edition of Call of Cthulhu, for instance. But I find some games are influenced a bit too much by video games for my taste. That’s what I see with D&D 5e, though it’s not as bad as 4e. Another turn-off is the desperate attempts to seem edgy.

I seriously won’t touch a game that has [random word]punk in it’s description. IMO, the only legitimate use of “punk” as a suffix is cyberpunk. And maybe steampunk, though I’m not sure. Same goes with “dark.” There’s actually a game called “C’thulhu Dark.” Because Call of C’thulhu isn’t dark enough, I guess. My point is that they seem like cynical marketing strategies, I guess. Which, with the glut of new games on the market, is probably just good business.

And get off my lawn! Okay, rant over. All this is to say, I agree – if it works, why upgrade? It’s not like games are like my cell phone, which I’m sure the USB port will break on long before it’s useeless, making it unchargable and, well… useless.

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My wife dragged us into Steampunk because she loves Victorian clothing.

At Steam Con:
Girl: Has anyone seen my boyfriend?
People: What does he look like?
Girl: He has a beard, and a top hat.

I yell at them to get on the lawn. I hate grass.

I agree in part that it is a good deal the information overload. New, new, new being constantly shoved at you from everything around you.

I tried 5e but running it I was still running AD&D only with substitute inflated numbers. It wasn’t intentional but AD&D 1st and 2nd edition are just a part of my DNA now. I raised my kids playing it and their friends likewise. We’ve played Dungeon World, Blades In the Dark, Cy_Borg, etc. but when we want D&D it’s the old standby warts and all.
Can’t say AD&D 1st and 2nd are best but they are my dearest and most comfortable friends of role playing.

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The most comfortable, if I might invisible system. When you are comfortable the system falls away and the game remains. Crunch is important, it is how things get decided. To my thinking it should never be in the front.

Play Comfortable.

That’s a fact, I never get analysis paralysis with AD&D able to roll with whatever punches the characters and players might throw. I’ve definitely learned some better practices from Dungeon World and Burning Wheel over the years that I think made my AD&D games better. Still, there’s been Band if Blades games where as a Gm I just lost the what happens next plot for the rules being a bit too open to interpretation. When figuring GM moved on a failure I felt like I was supposed to tap into a sadistic game master side I don’t have.

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