Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Look, And In Regards To "Selling"

I picked up a template for the site I thought worked a little better and was more aesthetically pleasing. Hope you like it, because I sure do.

I've had the shilling/selling of RPGs on my mind lately, not sure why. But there are some things I mentioned on a message board post earlier this morning:

At Gen Con this year, I had people try to sell me on various games. Now, I don't mind a push. I do mind when they push too hard, make me uncomfortable, or don't take a "no" or "maybe" for an answer without acting royally pissed.. At least two smaller-press game designers did that this year (and one much larger-press vendor), and I'm not sure if it's just a bit of overzealousness or what.

It's pretty much the equivalent of the "Wushu Factor" online. After someone pushes something so hard, you begin to doubt their sincerity, intent, and honesty, to a point. If a game is recommended incessantly, annoyingly, and without regard for basic courtesy, be it online or at a Con, my Inner Gamer completely shuts down, tunes out, and sets his virtual profile to Ignore.

The other one is "This Game is Only For People Who Like X", or "X is better than Z!!!!". Geez, man, I'm cool with honest comparison, but how about not taking a dump on games I may like while you're doing it?

So what gets you when you're curious about a game? What approaches do you like, and what turns you off?

Another is "guerilla marketing" by having fans/friends of the game/designer start up "Sell Me" threads. This is sometimes a hard one to spot from earnest discussion, but if I find out about it, it usually rubs me the wrong way.

Another thought that's crossed my mind is that some games definitely deserve better fans than they have.


Jeff Rients said...

"X is better than Z" drives me nuts because all too often the players of Z are exactly the people the shill wants to sell to. Why dis a game your customers like?

Zachary The First said...

Your guess is as good as mine. I think insecurity and just plain overzealousness factor into it a fair bit, though.

S. John said...

Hi there! Jeff's Gameblog sent me :)

General agreement with all of the above. There are two kinds of fans that, for me, can damage the reputation of a game and put an icky taste in my mouth. One is defintely the proseletyzers, especially of the "us versus them" variety, because there is no "X vs. Z" among hobby whores and never should be :)

It often seems to stem from a kind of "newly adopted to the faith" thing. Like when someone finds Jesus in prison and then, when he gets out, needs to push him like a maniac at everyone on the bus heading to the mall. Some fans find a game that trips their trigger, and then have a series of false epiphanies about the way Games Ought To Be.

I try to gently dissuade this kind of thing with my "No wrong way to play" trip, but I doubt it helps much even among the few gamers aware of my stuff. Lots of folks cite it back to me and yet don't seem to understand what it really means, like that bit in Life of Brian: "Yes, we are all individuals!"

(The second kind of fan that can wreck a game's rep for me is pedants/lawyers/scholars, which are really just another reflection of One True Wayism)

Zachary The First said...

Man, I've got some of my favorites folks posting here. Life is good.

I think when people break out the "there is no wrong way to play", then crap over someone's game choice or playstyle, well, to keep it in Life of Brian, I think of that guy on the back of the PFJ meeting saying "Uh, well one...". Of course. Not wrong way to play except the one you don't personally like. Got it.

That's why I think so many of the "what RPGs/the industry needs" threads, be they from Dancey, some grognard, or Joe Gaming Hipster, are silly. At the core, they claim to be a mouthpiece for your average gamer or presume to know a superior way of playing.

You know, we have pdf gaming companies, PoD, and plenty of small press game companies. With more games of differing crunch, approaches, themes, etc., that ever before, why does "One Way" have to be the way? Whenever I see someone go all One True Wayist, I tend to suspect ulterior motives, be the ego, self-validation, financial, or all 3.

S. John said...

Sometimes I have these bizarro experiences with fans where they assume I'm a member of their "team" based on something I've written, and that I must also therefore be against the implied "enemy teams" as they are.

Example I: The fan who expected me to join him in a game of "bash the Hero System" because Risus is rules-light, therefore S. John must be "on the anti-rules-heavy" hater team. He was a bit embarassed/confused, I think, when I responded by bragging about how much fun I had writing parts of Pulp Hero, contributing to a Dark Champions supplement, and helping run a blindtest team for Hero Sidekick ...

Example II: The angry, angry fan who wrote me about my "betrayal" when I did Uresia: Grave of Heaven. By doing one article the value of consistent demographics, I had apparently (in his eyes) joined the "anti-casual-fantasy" team, and penning Uresia (which has unexplained handheld videogames, polaroid cameras and other blasphemous bits of so-called anachronism) made me a traitor to the holy cause of Very Serious Drily Accurate Fantasy Worlds. I cringe to think of what his reaction to Encounter Critical must have been (some Risus fans were horrified by that one, too, so I think I've alienated pretty much everyone by now) :)

Of course, it's not just gaming fandom ... fandom in general has always had a tendency to take opinion to unecessary extremes of flag-waving and chest-thumping, and I know I'm not innocent of it myself (I was young once). But seeing it play out so often in my face is ... exhausting.

And if I tire easily of one-true-wayism, don't even get me started on three-true-waysism ;)

Zachary The First said...

For the life of me, I cannot imagine writing an angry letter to someone based on their genre selection.

But, I think you're right--that's just fandom in general. Some Star Wars fans threaten to kill George Lucas over Wookie culture, some BSG fans ream anyone who doesn't share their appreciation for that show, and we won't even get into the Scale Wars of mode railroading.

Three-True-Wayism? Brother, I'm staying away from that one.