Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Here's The Attention You Crave, Ron Edwards

Yesterday was a big day of change, and no, I'm not just referencing the U.S. midterm elections in this instance. Ron Edwards announced the "winter stage" of The Forge, which some people took as a re-purposing of his site, and others took as game over for that particular instrument.

Edwards seems inclined towards these gestures now and then; we go from his early references of gamers as "brain damaged" to his damnation of Indie Press Revolution as too impersonal or commercial or...something, and now we have the "winter stage" of the Forge. Only, you know, the Forge isn't going away, quite. Edwards also declares victory or something, which is great for him.  I guess you can do that, since none of the rest of us can quite figure out exactly what the parameters of victory, or, fittingly, the rules of the game were in the first place.

Of course, there's a time to let everything go (2003 or earlier, by my watch, but let's be charitable for the moment). For Edwards, desperate to hang on to edginess or some manner of relevance long after having been eclipsed by more coherent and affable game designers, he can only hope to send up these dimming flares now and again, hope some poor, equally irrelevant blogger, bored on Election Night, will take a few minutes to blog about him once more.

...

Damn you, Edwards. Perhaps you did win, after all.

15 comments:

Stargazer said...

Make that two bloggers...
http://www.stargazersworld.com/2010/11/03/the-end-of-the-forge/

Anonymous said...

The sad irony is that Edwards never realized HE was the one who didn't understand RPGs and could never be satisfied with them, not everyone else. He's hoping to find a solution to a problem that never even existed.

Jeff Rients said...

I hope they still keep some of his essays up at the Forge. The GNS essays don't do much for me but some of the other stuff is good, the heartbreaker stuff I particularly like.

Also, the whole DIY ethos of the Forge was an oft-unacknowledged influence on the Old School scene.

N. Wright said...

I always liked the grandiose fumblings of Ron Edwards. He always seemed like an intelligent man who was never quite sure what he was doing, what he wanted, or where he was going with all his gestures.

Like a self-important, ultimately awkward kid who thinks that his ways are the only way, now look at me!

Silliness.

da Trux said...

I read Pundit's response on the RPGSite and laughed, as I usually do.

I never participated or posted on The Forge, but I did look through it a few times looking for material to use in my own games. Never even heard of it until last year.

It quickly reminded me of the hipster music kids in my city - all so busy clapping each other on the back that they can't see that their preconceived notions don't fit into the world at large.

Greg Christopher said...

When the community you built comes to represent arrogance and entitlement, perhaps it is time to move on to other projects.

Ryan said...

Don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out.

Zachary Houghton said...

The issue is, Edwards' personality, incoherence, and arrogance stopped many people from seriously discussing any type of useful gaming theory. He made it obfuscating and obtuse.

Anonymous said...

"Also, the whole DIY ethos of the Forge was an oft-unacknowledged influence on the Old School scene"

JEFF RIENTS YOU TAKE THAT BACK!! HE ONLY STOLEZ THE "ETHOS" AND BRANDED IT WITH HIM BIG YAMMERINGS! DIY HAS BEEN DOING JUST FINE SINCE 1974!

Jeff Rients said...

Joesky, I was referring to the publishing end of things only. The kind of garage-based game company seemed approaching extinction before the Forge came along with all their crazy self-published games. I found it very inspirational.

Leonardo said...

I still think that Ron Edwards is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented guys in the RPG community. For sure he has the ability to polarize people's "affiliation".

Yet I'm buffled by all the inaccuracies that surface every time that he (or his theory) becomes the main topic in a conversation. For example, he never said that gamers are "brain damaged", not even close, even if many people still think that he did.

I think that if people were more interested in understanding each other's opinions than in passing quick judgement about them, then maybe we would not see disagreement turning into flame wars at such an "alarming" rate (and this works both ways).

Anonymous said...

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Zachary Houghton said...

@Leonardo: I think there's more than enough documentation out there for people to make up their own mind on exactly what he said. They don't need to take it from me or you what he did or didn't do.

Leonardo said...

Sure Zachary and believe me, I really wish that more people would read the original thread about the infamous "Brain Damage" because I'm pretty sure many of them never bothered to check it out and just took at face value what they heard around the net. Maybe I'm wrong but that's the impression I get most of the times.

What "troubles" me is that, even in case we would like to, we couldn't be involved in an exchange of opinions about the validity of Edwards' ideas because we can't even agree on what he actually said.
I've seen this issue showing up countless times in discussions, always preventing any kind of communication.
Maybe Edwards is too cryptic in his writings but my experience taught me that a little effort and perseverance is all that is needed to get through them.

Every time I find myself talking about Ron's works on the internet I always feel uneasy because, as I said, this kind of conversations tends to polarize people's opinions so much that you end up looking like either a fanboy or a Forge-hater and this makes communication even harder.

Andreas Davour said...

Well put Leonardo.

There are way to many people why gets worked up about Ron, or things they think he has said.

One thing he have always been very much interested in is actual play, which many people never seen to have understood. Many of his essays are more about what happens at the game table and then working backward to design. Considering that I'm amazed that he is so unpopular in some circles.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people who seem to be offended when somebody try to think about how things work. It never cease to amaze me.