Friday, July 17, 2009

A tale of two bands, and the gaming connection thereto

A few years back, my nephew wanted to see this one band live in concert. They were playing at the University, not too far from me. The problem was, the boy was just 18 and his mother didn't want him coming to the Big Bad Twin Cities all by his lonesome.

So she asked if I'd go with him. She'd buy my ticket; she just wanted a chaperone for the boy.

Well, it's family, so what could I do? I went.

We had seats at the very top of the arena. I was in the very last row, so I could hardly see the performers. But it was sure loud enough; I didn't have to worry about hearing them.

I didn't care for the band (they weren't bad, they just weren't what I like). It was crowded. It was smoky. It wasn't a pleasant experience for me. I could have lived without it.

Another time, many years before this, I went to a party with some friends. At this party, the entertainment was a band which contained the brother of the girlfriend of one of my friends.

Again, it was loud; this time so loud I just stood near a wall and felt it vibrate. The songs had no distinct difference one from another; they were just an assault of noise (although I later found out that one of them was supposed to have been "Johnny B. Goode").

Again, I could have lived without it.

Thanks for sticking with me through this! You're probably wondering what this has to do with gaming.

Well, it's an analogy.

The first band, the major label band, that everybody went to and we couldn't even see them, that's 4th edition. A helluva lot of people love it to death, and even though I don't particularly like it, I don't begrudge its existence. It keeps gaming alive after all.

The other band is old school, whatever old school rules you like (my preference is 3LB, but ymmv). It's not that it's objectively "better", it's just different. And part of that difference is that when the music was over, the musicians sat around and drank with the rest of us. I listened to their stories and such. They asked us what we thought and some of us (not me but those more musically inclined) told them -- even if it wasn't unabashed praise.

I felt like I was a part of it, not just a spectator.

And that, to me, is the whole reason I'm involved (even in my minor way) with the whole Old School Renaissance: I get to be involved. Directly involved, I mean.

Specifically, I have a contribution in every issue (so far) of Fight On! magazine. I'm proud of that. (My comic for Issue #6 is mostly written, so it should be finished this weekend.)

I really don't see any hope of me having such a connection with 4th edition. Not just because I don't play it, but because I can't see getting very deeply involved in such a thing. It's just not my cup of tea.

4E is a major label release, after all (in fact, the most major of labels).

I'm much happier with a local garage band.

1 comment:

kesher said...

I totally get what you mean about the feeling of being directly involved.

Now, in the indie game world, there are lots of opportunities to get involved, meet and talk with designers, get feedback on your designs, etc. However, there's also a lot of "cliqueishness", which sometimes sours the experience. The advent of Fight On! was a watershed for me. The ability to contribute, and to see the contributions of others, and for there to be no sense of exclusion, especially based on perceived "koolness", is unbelievable. This also comes out in places like the ODD forum. I've been posting on there for close to two years, and seen almost no fighting or even snarkiness. In the world of the IntraWeb, that's almost unheard of.

And Will, I'll sit down and have a drink with you anytime! :)