Irony, Thy Name is Gamer

A few days back, I tweeted about a blog post by former Adamant freelancer Malcolm Sheppard of Mob United Media: “Why You Can’t Have Nice Things.”

In the post, Malcolm talks about how the toxicity of the most vocal, negative segment of the online community (the segment most easily found, sadly) has chased away any hope of influence that the RPG community might have in the new media fields where you’d think they’d be valued:

“A couple of years ago I had this client — great guy, worked with him a few times. He’s a former tabletop RPG player and was really interested in bringing some of the ideas he loved from that into a new arena in the form of some cool online tools. We looked at the market at the time and determined that the service was pretty much tailor-made for roleplayers and that they were the most natural early adopters.

Once we got actual tabletop gamers from the “leading edge” of the hobby, he discovered they were so insufferable he changed his business model to stop attracting them. They were bad for business. They weren’t the gamers he remembered having fun with. They were assholes.

How were they assholes? My client used a bunch of methods to tag RPG players and monitor them moving through the system. This is what he found out about them:

  • Instead of having social conversations, they focused on concrete goals.
  • They related to content in a cynical fashion.
  • They dissuaded other users from getting involved with the content.
  • They resisted most desired behaviors (that is, the stuff that actually might make money).
  • They complained all the goddamn time.”

It’s unfortunate, because the RPG community would seem to be a perfect fit for a lot of where online entertainment is headed. But I’ve seen the same thing in my discussions with transmedia producers — there’s more of an effort to draw away the best (non-toxic) elements of the community and convert them into a base for their efforts, rather than any attempt to engage with the community as a whole — and it’s entirely because of the negative stereotype, reinforced by the loudest segments online.

This post by Malcolm generated a little bit of commentary (including some absolutely delusional garbage from the “Indie” crowd about how the resistance to monetization was due to the fact that gamers are “artists.”).

Until today, when it became the subject of a thread on ENWorld, which has spurred 4 pages (to date), and increased commentary at the original blog entry.

Of course, the majority of it is a whole bunch of knee-jerking about how there’s nothing wrong, how they don’t know anybody like that, how Bad Businesses are Bad, and other crap which entirely misses the point.

What he’s talking about is that the WORST elements of the RPG community, as represented online, is sadly defining the segment for people OUTSIDE the community — even in those areas where RPGers should be valued.

…and that’s a bad thing.

A direct quote from his closing:

“I would really like the tabletop RPG community to be at the center of roleplaying in all media, sharing their insights, but it’s not going to happen unless that center attracts.”

The result of saying that? A negative pile-on by the usual suspects… aided and abetted by professionals looking to buff up their populist cred. (like Erik Mona from Paizo, coming in to call him an “idiot” — seriously)

Irony, thy name is Gamer.

iPad Geek Nostalgia

Today, the Los Angeles Times had a story featuring the original poster art for STAR WARS, by the Brothers Hidebrandt (including a clickable large-scale image).

If you’re near to my age, this image was a big part of what made you fall in love with STAR WARS.

Thanks to the Times providing such a good digital copy, I decided that I wanted to have that beloved image as wallpaper on my iPad (to go along with the ones that I did based on Adamant products earlier this month).

So I figured I’d put this out here — done non-commercially, as a fan, for other fans. Click the image below to download a fully-rotatable 1024×1024 PNG image, suitable for your iPad:

Friday Music

Buncha good stuff this week, so let’s not waste any time….

First up, thanks to an i09 post I started looking into the candy-coated confection that is “K-Pop” (Korean girl groups). This track became an absolute earworm for me (helped considerably by this smoking-hot video, and was quickly added to my weekly playlist: 4minute – “HuH (Hit Your Heart).”

Moving on to girl-pop on this side of the planet, Kate Nash has released her new album, and she’s definitely going for a 60s-girl-group vibe with it, as can be evidenced in these two tracks: Kate Nash – “Kiss That Grrl.”, and Kate Nash – “Paris”. The new album is called “My Best Friend is You.” It’s a different sound that her debut, to be sure — but I like it.

UK group The Noisettes take the 1978 Buzzcocks classic, and mix in a bit of Bollywood rhythms and a synth riff that reminds me of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” — I’m a huge fan of the original track, but this cover is a pretty good re-interpretation: The Noisettes – “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).”

One of those tracks that crystallizes a time and place for me — this is always going to be Summer 1983, riding my bike downtown in Babylon NY, to pick up comics at the first specialty comic book store I ever went to. StevieNicks – “Stand Back.”

A short two to three years later, I was listening to things like this: Einstürzende Neubauten – “Yü-Gung (Fütter Mein Ego)”. The comic books were still there, though.

Lastly, the source of the inspirational quote I have on my desk, from Jay-Z’s contribution to this song. Jay-Z and the Shirley Bassey Bond-theme sample are the best things about this track, enough to tolerate sub-standard work from Kanye: Kanye West- “Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix feat. Jay-Z).”