A number of folks offered me a solution to the problem I went into in my last entry. It’s a good solution, and I decided to write it up, so I can refer to it again whenever I feel the same depression creeping up on me:
Make your games for your target audience. The audience that you had in mind when you wrote it– The ones that “get it.”
To hell with the rest. You’re never going to make them happy, and it’s futile to try.
Part of this is recognizing that not all games are automatically for all gamers. This realization needs to occur on all sides. If gamers realize that a game that doesn’t appeal to them doesn’t automatically make it “broken” or worth bitching about, then the level of venom will drop. If game designers realize that not everything they design is going to be lauded by every gamer, and that the gamers that are bitching don’t need to be convinced, because it was never intended for them anyway, then the level of defensiveness will drop.
Less venom. Less defensiveness. Less conflict.
Not every game is intended for every gamer, and there is no point in trying to make all gamers happy. That way lies ulcers.
Design your games for the ones who get it. They are your customers. The customer is always right–but the ones who weren’t your target…the ones who don’t get it…the ones who will attempt to beat the joy of creation out of you with rants and insults…they are not your customers, and never were going to be. As such, Fuck ’em. They’re not worth worrying about.
At our scale (i.e. Non-WOTC), we can afford to specifically target a particular niche, and be fulfilled by it:
Design the games you want to play, for gamers who you’d like to play with.
The rest can go hang.