Not you, Gentle Readers– the title of this post is directed at one “fugaros” (who shall hereafter be known as “wise fugaros”, for reasons which shall be apparent), who runs a new blog called “How Not to Run a Game Business” which you will find newly ensconced in my “Blogs I Read” list over to the left; I make a point of reading points of view with which I disagree. Keeps me young.
With his wealth of experience running a just-broke-even
lemonade espresso stand and a failed weekly newspaper, and armed with his sophomore year textbooks in Business Administration at county college, he has taken it upon his acned shoulders to tell the rest of the gaming hobby/industry YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
And thank the heavens he has, or else the folks at Amarillo Design Bureau, one of his favorite punching bags who have been, apparently by sheerest happenstance in their ignorant bumbling, selling enormously successful and popular products for more than three decades, wouldn’t know just how bad bad bad they’ve been. Now that they have wise fugaros to point them in the proper direction, I’m sure they will actually prosper, as opposed to… well… selling enormously successful and popular products for more than three decades.
What occasioned my notice of wise fugaros (whose blog address has the charmingly endearing URL “yourbusinesssucks.wordpress.com”) was a post of his entitled “STOP. MAKING. GAMES.” Thanks to Stargazer’s World for his much-more-temperate-than-my reply, “NEVER.STOP.MAKING.GAMES” for pointing it out, or I would never have found
Mr. Marketing Expert wise fugaros’s blog, despite being both a gamer and one of the despised self-published-gamers who is, presumably, his intended audience.
Apparently, having a large number of options for a beginner is a Bad Thing:
There are over a hundred products in my local game store that bill
themselves as core or introductory. I didn’t even check the
clearance/closeout/used shelves. This is a ridiculously dangerous fact.
Dangerous indeed; the unwashed and unprofessional masses are harming the elite few whose wares are actually worthy of customers by putting so many alternatives out on store shelves that the good stuff gets drowned out in the noise. And the internet? That’s even worse:
Anyone with a copy of OpenOffice and two fingers can create a game.
THE HORROR! The hoi polloi, having escaped the well-defined and god-intended boundaries of the 1980’s, doing an end run around Professional Editorial Review, dare to inflict their ham-fisted musings on a helpless populace that can’t tell the difference between their moose-droppings and the results of Professional Designers. Much like, it seems, anyone with an Internet connection and a gmail account can start a blog about game companies. But I digress…
Wise fugaros has something to say about the OSR as well:
What’s more, we have various “movements” in the hobby causing even
further factionalization. These feature hobbyists, players, people who
have no goddamned right to be making a game, touting themselves as
“designers” and putting out endless iterations of the rules that please
them. Storygames vs. anti-storygames, D&D vs. Pathfinder vs.
AD&D vs. OSR, you could probably fill a landfill with the shit these
people put out.
|AD&D vs. OSR?
That’s right– OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, LotFP, Adventures Dark and Deep, etc. etc. is all shit fit for the landfill. Writing games to please ourselves? How DARE we!? We have “no goddamned right to be making a game.” There’s a special circle of Hell reserved for such miscreants as we. We should, presumably, be writing games to please other people, and those games better be pretty. Because wise fugaros seems to place a high value on glossy paper and pretty pictures. The text itself is, well, boring. It’s eye candy that makes a game, damnit; we’ve got to get people BUYING those euludically-perfect games. And hex maps? Surely you jest.
Because hobbiests-turned-publishers, amateur posers that they are, don’t understand that the goal of doing all this isn’t to have fun and share their work with fellow travelers, even (especially!) if those travelers are in a niche-of-a-niche and you end up with tiny sales that might cover your pizza bill for a month and a small measure of satisfaction. THOU FOOL! The goal is to have a successful business, and if you are a gamer, you’re almost certain to be an inept boob when it comes to the Real Goal of publishing games. After all, Lorraine Williams proved that, right?
I fear nothing more than that I shall ever be a disappointment to wise fugaros. Am I not one of the Fallen? Am I not a gamer with not a whit of business sense, who has fallen into folly and have started my own game company? Worse yet still, I’m not making edgy, cool, “indy” games that are surely the future of not only the hobby by the very race of men itself, but just another “fantasy heartbreaker.” More the fool I! Nobody should ever make another fantasy RPG. Ever. It’s been done, to perfection (by 4E, no less), so any attempt would be a useless gesture. And the fun I’m having doing it? Scales upon my eyes which have not yet fallen to reveal the utter emptiness of my labors and the destitution of my vision.
Thank goodness I’ve got wise fugaros to guide me through this rough patch, when I fancy myself a designer, and fool myself into thinking that I could actually have fun doing it, and that that would be enough.