4/12/17

THE END OF A CYCLE, AND A NEW HOPE

There's been a lot of talk lately, partly spawned by the Fuck the OSR conversation at Knights & Knaves, sparked itself by This Blogspot, and partly because, as I will explain, the current cycle is dying.

MY OSR was Grognards, and punks. It was like the Ramones rather than the Sex Pistols, who frankly, were just a fashion show. It had ODD74, Dragonsfoot, Knights & Knaves, James Mal, Rients, the TAO, Carcosa already, my own AD&D game tables, this OSR sucks website( remember it?). Then came the new kids on the block, mostly Zak and a bunch of friends and followers. Kids who hated the Grognards, and didn't identify with them, kids who wanted to do new things, and that's a good thing. They had no experience of it all, and that's a good thing because youthful recklessness leads to success says the Yi-King. Everything was blogs back then, like this one. And very little was Facebook, or G+.

There's a band called Cinema Strange, which did Deathrock. It was a small band, a bunch of randoms doing average stuff. So what did they do? They released an album, and there was written «The Leading Deathrock Band» on the album, and people believed it. Like the Sex Pistols being punk, you know. And people bought it. And they became The Leading Deathrock Band for real. That's exactly what the new kids did. «We are the OSR», the leading whatnot of the OSR, etc.

And it worked. It worked because the new kids had clout from outside, they were doing porn, Art, stuff. And there were people there. And geeks went like «Wow, a geek who fucks», or gets fucked, whatever. So clout indeed. A clout that had nothing to do with the actual quality of their design, or creativity, and everything with their clout alone. So Zak patches up sloppily his own campaign notes without even putting the effort to edit them, and here comes Vornheim. He should thank James Raggi a thousand times else this half-baked thing would have never been readable. But hey, Vornheim from «The Geek That Fucks», The Leading OSR guy. Honestly, my friends and myself had better, more interesting, funnier campaign notes in 1990, and we would have laughed at the idea of publishing them as is but everything's possible with clout, and pretend Art, and friends in juries. There are two adventures in it with barely understandable maps, tables that would been original in 1985, tidbits of rules which have been done before a hundred times and weren't the best, and okay, the die-drop mechanic, which is new, good, and interesting but really, that's all there is.

I worked in a Social Gaming company once, in France. Our games were Free to Play so it was vital that people talked about them, but also did so positively. The problem was that we had a bunch of vocal people out there who were getting abrasive, and Bad for Business. Do you know what we did? Well, simple, we hired them as consultants. We didn't give a shit about their ideas though we were all like «we love your input, yes this will be in the game, thank you, you are so awesome». And we did put some of their stuff in our games, and paid them, just to keep them quiet and say good things and say that D&D5 was Old School (seriously, people...). And it worked, and that's not a good thing because once you've said that, then you've said that everything is Old School, and that nothing matters. But hey, people are stupid thinks the Big Bad Business. Well, not all of them.

So back to Cinema Zak the Vornheim Consultant. Of course, the guy's ego inflates like a fucking zeppelin from Corfu, and he starts shitting all over the place. The place, by the way, is Google +, which is sooner or later getting down. So he starts promoting his friends who can't write, and do art like 5-years old kids and it's all getting to feel like a Contemporary Art gallery where you're supposed to be ecstatic in front of broken toilets else you're shit.

Now, the ENnies, the most significant award we had. The ENnies were depressing. It was like a corrupt government with awards that felt given to the industry majors for no reason. But it has judges. So what did the new kids do? They promoted their own judges, their flattered them, they pushed them into the positions like lobbies do. And of course, they won. The funny thing with inflated egos, especially if they're inflated by hollow winds instead of genuine, deserved success, is that they tend to explode all over the place, and to hurt themselves. This is coming to us super-fast like a train wreck. Yes, the ENnies needed to be shaken from this nigh-invisible corruption, that was good. But they were shaken with a similar corruption, and that's where it starts to hurt.

Do you see the trend?

  1. Everything and nothing is Old School
  2. The Awards are still meaningless
  3. The Industry bought your silence
  4. G+ is dying
  5. The egos are so inflated that they will shit on the OSR itself as a whole in no time after having used it. Trust me.

The current cycle is dying, and it's a good thing. We'll get rid of those people, and it's a good thing. Grognards and punks, unite!

In some cases, I quite like irritating people who need to be irritated. Robert Smith

22 comments:

  1. I cannot thank you enough for being brave enough to say things I only thought. And don't forget, as a creator, you have clout; don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

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  2. Thank you, Will, but as you can read, clout is secondary to me.

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  3. That geeks would be impressed by someone who does porn/gets laid is either hilariously wrong or hilariously right. I can't tell. Maybe its both on a case by case basis, LOL.

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    Replies
    1. His porn "career" is another thing that Zak inflates. Big time.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. NSFW — Hilariously right? http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.in/2017/04/our-barbarian-is-pet-of-month.html

      Delete
  4. United in fun. Everything else is a distraction. ;-)

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  5. Very accurate. I don't understand the urge to ruin perfectly good styles of "let's pretend" with scenesterism, shit-sniping, stalking, Puritanical purges, etc. Can't we all just be Kuo-Toa?

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  6. We need to reboot the system before it crashes.

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  7. Sure, times are always changing. Generations go, and new generations come?

    But will the next big thing be the old big thing? I think that's unlikely and it will rather be something new. But who knows, maybe they might. Like an Old School OSR Rennaisance.

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    Replies
    1. Or, worst case scenario: everyone gets in its own corner and does its own with branches like Old-Old School, True Old School, True Genuine Old School, Do It Yourself Open School, etc.

      Delete
  8. From K&K "Something is rotten when reviewers are unwilling (afraid?) to speak the truth and point out a work's obvious flaws."

    Indeed.

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  9. It's a weird world. You block a guy once for lying and he explodes and decides you don't like Jeff Rients.

    oh well.

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  10. Ah it seems to me that the guy (if we're talking about the same) blocked you for lying. I have no idea of what you mean with Jeff.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe people read your comments, so

      You asked to be in my G+ circles. You were there for years, not making any criticism of anything I wrote.

      Then we had this exchange, where you lied, falsely claiming I'd equated Ennies + sales with quality. Which is, of course, the opposite of what I believe

      ZAK's OP:

      Moral of the Story: Everyone's indie RPG marketing advice is wrong.

      (Quoted)Originally shared by James Raggi
      The second 2000 copies of Vornheim sold faster than the first 2000 copies.

      Jennifer Fuss
      What would be your advice?

      Zak Sabbath

      +Jennifer Fuss 1. Make a book you yourself are going to use
      2. Make sure the product does things no free product could do
      3. Don't let anyone give you any shit
      4. Don't let anyone give your people any shit
      2h

      Kabuki Kaiser
      100% with you on that, +Zak Sabbath​​ but I'm not sure I've read different advice so far. Which one are you referring to?

      Zak Sabbath
      +Kabuki Kaiser Oh the advice you usually get is:
      1. Fuck what you want, listen to some "audience" and cater to them
      2. Give them basically some bullshit that might be on a blog only with worse art and laid out by some douche who mumbles about white space while masturbating to Milton Glaser posters and never ran a game in their life
      3. When someone gives you shit, accept it gracefully and change whatever you are doing to accommodate the shit-giver's desire then write an 8-paragraph blog entry about how unenlightened you were before the brain patient gave you shit
      4, When someone drags your friends, keep quiet and do not rock the boat THESE ARE POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS!!!
      ...which is all terrible and has the final effect of preserving the status quo

      Kabuki Kaiser
      Looks like it's what the big publishers are doing, indeed not useful for a niche.

      Zak Sabbath
      +Kabuki Kaiser which is why it's bizarre that the indies are doing it, too. Who are they trying to appease with their stock-art-using, ennie-losing trash?

      Kabuki Kaiser
      They're not indie, they're fans. It's not a bad thing, I started like this too.

      Zak Sabbath
      Indie or not, they're scum and in the way.

      Kabuki Kaiser
      +Zak Sabbath​ You can't confuse people who start, and learn, and improve, and people with a bad perception, and shitty motive. I know that you've sold, and won ENnies but that in itself is no proof of anything. Hell, dungeon tiles won ENnies, super-shitty things have won ENnies, and sell. While I'm not shouting "genius!" I usually appreciate what you do on its own merits, I couldn't care less if you won nothing and didn't sell. Please stop making this equation sales+awards = good, it makes no sense and you know it.

      Zak Sabbath
      +Kabuki KaiserI didn't say sales or awards make things good.
      Please apologize for putting misinformation in my comments.

      Kabuki Kaiser
      +Patrick Stuart​ post about the OSR "2000 sales means it's good". Your comment "3000". Please apologize for asking for apologies in bad faith.

      Zak Sabbath
      +Kabuki Kaiser I didn't ask for apologies or anything in bad faith and I don't know why you're referring to some Patrick Stuart post, it also doesn't claim that sales or awards make things good.
      You have one comment to apologize or else clarify your statement before being banned.
      "
      ....

      Delete
    2. ...Then immediately after this, you start aggressively criticizing my work.

      So in addition to being a liar, you did a second dishonest thing.

      Either:

      a You had all these criticisms but said nothing in order to, i don't know, be able to read my game posts (which is dishonest and makes you a bad person)

      or

      b you made up the criticisms in response to being blocked (which is dishonest and makes you a bad person)

      ...and then you do a third dishonest thing, in this post you lump hundreds or thousands of different games together, including--by name-- people whose work I like a lot like James Mal and Jeff Rients and a project I like (Carcosa) claim I and some nebulous group of people don't like them.

      Here is you telling this lie

      "
      MY OSR was Grognards, and punks. It was like the Ramones rather than the Sex Pistols, who frankly, were just a fashion show. It had ODD74, Dragonsfoot, Knights & Knaves, James Mal, Rients, the TAO, Carcosa already, my own AD&D game tables, this OSR sucks website( remember it?). Then came the new kids on the block, mostly Zak and a bunch of friends and followers. Kids who hated the Grognards, and didn't identify with them, kids who wanted to do new things, and that's a good thing.
      "

      I don't want to speculate as to your motives, but you've been aggressively dishonest three times.
      You should seek therapy for whatever mental disorder caused you to lie about these things.

      Delete
  11. You assume that your game posts are so interesting that people would put up with your pathologic narcissism just to read them, which is pathetic, really. The only thing you have worth following is clout, which explains why people keep you around, are afraid to stand up to you, and think that doing so is brave.

    I will not discuss your anal grasping of words, and usual justification. You think people agree with you, and eventually stand down while truth is, they're bored to death, and like me, will say that you're right instead of even debating with you, because it's pointless.

    You want to send a little too many people to theraphy, Zak, maybe it's time you look into yourself, and wonder why it is impossible for you to accept criticism or questions to your "worthiness". Also, since I don't care enough to be having this conversation here, I will delete your answer so don't bother.

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  12. Hell, you ever have the idiocy to repost this all yourself "they're scum, they're in the way, ennie-losing", then genuinely have the guts to say that I'm lying while saying you equate your undeserved awards with quality? So yeah, like most of the people reading you, MAILING me they think the same but wouldn't dare say it, I chose to ignore your shit. If that makes me a bad person, please think about what that makes you. Yet somehow, I'm the aggressive one here. So yeah, maybe you didn't hate the grogs, maybe you just craved for their approval because that was part of your strategy. You are not a good person, stop believing this.

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  13. the people who do the following things are scum, this is unrelated to equating sales and awards with quality:

    1. Fuck what you want, listen to some "audience" and cater to them
    2. Give them basically some bullshit that might be on a blog only with worse art and laid out by some douche who mumbles about white space while masturbating to Milton Glaser posters and never ran a game in their life
    3. When someone gives you shit, accept it gracefully and change whatever you are doing to accommodate the shit-giver's desire then write an 8-paragraph blog entry about how unenlightened you were before the brain patient gave you shit
    4, When someone drags your friends, keep quiet and do not rock the boat THESE ARE POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS!!!

    The specific Indies I was thinking of, who followed these rules and then lost Ennies (ie, they were nominated and lost) were the folks behind Fate. For example the awful fate of Agaptus.

    If you follow the above 4 rules, you are also scum, but I had no idea you did, and so it surpriese me you took it so seriously.

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    Replies
    1. Allowed because I want to discuss this —

      1. This leads nowhere good, agreed as I said in the G+ post you're quoting. I change opinions sometimes, but not that fast.
      2. How you say something like this, which is entirely subjective, and then support Scrap's outsider art, for instance, is beyond me. Stock art is better.
      3. Yup, bad. I never do this.
      4. Bad too. I never do this.

      Basically, and in a nutshell, what I took seriously isn't in these points (except 2) but in the fact that you shit on people repeatedly while thinking you're doing good yourself. I don't care which people, I don't care that these people are not me. I think that me posting THAT, and still discussing here is pretty much a proof in itself that I'm not doing any of these things, because that would be very stupid.

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Closing the comments on this one. Apologies for the sensible, intelligent comments, but this is exactly why I blocked bad people in other places, so I don't want to see all this bad faith transported here.

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