Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jumping at Shadows: Secrets of the Industry Revealed!

"Oh, you're gonna buy my games! Ohhhhh!"

Gamers! Do you believe that the game industry is out to get you? That there's a dark conspiracy at the heart of the hobby bent on destroying your fun and stealing your hard earned money with missed deadlines, multiple editions and shady bait and switch tactics in press releases? I know the truth! I've come from the industry to spread the word! Like Geraldo Rivera with a crowbar and a camera crew, I'm going to shine the light of righteous, neckbearded fury into those shadowy nether regions and bring forth the wriggling, pulsing truth for you! Yes! Are you ready, gamers? Are you ready for the truth? I believe you are. Is there a conspiracy at the heart of the industry? If you're strong enough, if you can handle it, read on to learn the answer...

There isn't one. Seriously, guys. There's no conspiracy. No smoke filled rooms, no price fixing, hardly any mendacity, no shadowy cabal comprised of Steve Jackson, WotC, Fantasy Flight, the Queen and Colonel Sanders that meets tri-annually to figure out the best way to ruin your fun and steal your monies and eat babies. I've seen some of the wildest, most benighted, uninformed, willfully obtuse claims bandied about on the internets and in the blogosphere. Strident wailing and gnashing of teeth over imagined slights, things blown way out of proportion, molehills made into mountains, official statements purposely misunderstood and the righteous indignation of a thousand gamers scorned.

Why, gamers? Why do you think that "they," and when I say they I'm including me because in my short tenure I've been accused of eating more than one baby, are out to get you? The people in the industry aren't here to rob you. I swear. The industry is largely made up of people like you and me. Men and women who love games and want to make art, have fun and get paid, largely in that order. Maybe a little rough around the edges, perhaps lacking in good communication skills or social graces, but good people. Fun people. Certainly not the monsters that various gaming fora claim they are.

Now, don't believe for a minute that I'm defending the true bad actors. A press release made largely of lies? Not delivering promised content? Taking pre-orders then not honoring them? Stiffing freelancers? That's bullshit and everybody knows it. A new edition of a game, though? That's not a cynical grab for cash as I've heard some people say. Things change, tastes change, new ideas are formed, better ideas, this is what drives new editions. My favorite one I've heard recently is "Company X released Game Y and left it unsupported to sucker people into buying Game Z!" Really? Seriously, guys. Do you have any idea how much work and money goes into producing a book, let alone a whole new game line? Why would anyone go through the hundreds of hours of stress and sleeplessness and lousy takeout and burned eyes and sore asses and isolation from family and friends just to trick you out of a few dollars? Seriously, now.

Now, I'm sure what I'm saying will fall largely on deaf ears. Gamers love to bitch, I know because I'm a gamer and I love to bitch. A bitchy gamer is a happy gamer. Just let me leave you with this for a little perspective. When I started on Robotech, I was interviewed for this Robotech centric podcast that was essentially an elaborate trap. They asked a lot of confrontational questions and tried to trip me up so that they could lean back and stroke their neckbeards and claim that I wasn't doing my Robotech research or "didn't care about the property." Anyway, about half way through the interview someone asked, "What's it like to make all these people jealous with your job? Have you gone back and rubbed it in the faces of your teachers and parents?" Now, aside from the fact that that question speaks volumes about the asker, I was flabbergasted. Really? Make people jealous? So, I collected my thoughts and told them, "Look, I don't do this job to make people jealous, I do it to make people happy." That's the gods' truth right there, gentle readers. This is why I do this. I do this to make you happy, and I'm not alone.


Braden Campbell said...

A-fuckin-men, brother!

Also, "lean back and stroke their neckbeards"... made my day

Chris Tregenza said...

The Queen and Colonel Sanders are in a conspiracy, just not this one.

A great post and an accurate one but you did miss out one ingredient - incompetence.

Nine times out of ten, someone's incompetence is the cause of a company's odd or unfathomable behaviour.

Swordgleam said...

I'd just like to say that we at Chaotic Shiny Productions fully support baby eating, and hope that each one of our products that you buy noticeably worsens the quality of your game. I can't speak for our artist, but I know the only reason I started making RPG supplements was because I hate RPGs and everyone who plays them.

Jason Marker said...

@Chris: Indeed. I did sadly leave out my favorite saying, "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained through sheer stupidity."

Chuckn said...

Denial of the existence of a conspriacy only proves that it exists! Aha! :)