Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Nostalgia: OK (OSR) Boomer...

So I recently spoke with a young gamer who extolled the objective superiority of modern games, alleging that we oldsters only cling to the OSR out of nostalgia.  I reminded him that many older people like new games, and that many young people like older games, which effectively ended the debate.  This got me thinking though.  Is nostalgia really a dirty word, a doddering longing for the past that clouds our reason?  Sometimes.  We humans like our rose-colored glasses.  But for something as specific as gaming, I think not...   

We're born, blessed by genetics with certain innate predispositions, and thrust into the circumstances of our lives, where nature and nurture conspire to make us who we ultimately become.  Along the way we pick up interests; and if these survive the rigors of an ever-changing brain, they become lifelong passions.  To the extent that these are programmed, our nostalgia isn't a bad thing - it's merely inevitable.  Nostalgia, then, is what happens when we're lucky enough to accumulate interests and value them.


Our physical brains are still developing through young adulthood, with at least some of our personalities and preferences arising from this formative time.  This makes my abiding love of old-school D&D a bit of biological programming.  So?  To wax metaphysical, I have friends who ask how I can value love when I think it's just (their word, not mine) a chemical process in our brains.  To this I reply, so what?  Love is wonderful no matter where it comes from, physical or otherwise, and I can value it on that basis.  Love is what it is...

Ditto for gaming.  Sure, if I'd been born in 2006 I might be playing 5e and listening to (I honestly don't know what kids are listening to now) the latest thing.  Instead, I prepare my next adventure while listening to Ozzy era Black Sabbath.  It doesn't matter that it's the byproduct of my raising.  I like it.  Sue me for having a happy life and valuing my personal experiences.  It is what it is and I like it.  Anyway, I'm hard pressed to devalue nostalgia when it's really just us liking the thing(s) we've become through living.

So much for nostalgia.  Now let's play it forward.  Modern gaming enthusiasts are also being programmed by nature and nurture.  Sure, there are objective things we can say about 5e (quite a lot of them, obviously).  But we can say the same about the OSR, and our personal preferences come from the same place(s) regardless.  This ends nostalgia as a pejorative term.  It does nothing to diminish the objective facts about what we like, especially since the next generation is building their own future nostalgia - and we should all be so lucky!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hatchets, Buried Here...

Well, we're back from our equivalent of Hell Week, only it was more like a hellish two damn months!  It all started back in February with a cough and a light fever that soon spread to Robyn and her father (who lives with us): Influenza Type-A, which wouldn't normally be that big of a deal except yours truly has a heart condition and Dad is 77.  He got the worst of things, developing ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) and pneumonia; but even Robyn did a stint in the emergency room.  It really sucked...

Anyway, Dad ended up intubated (that's knocked out and chemically paralyzed with a breathing tube) for a week after coding and almost dying twice.  I'm in awe of Robyn's ability to hold it together like she did.  She's a superstar.  Anyway, six weeks in the ICU became another six in rehab, and we're happy to report that Dad's home and thriving in isolation from COVID-19!  Can't beat timing like that; but he's alive, and we'll take that any day.


So it was in this context that I read The Ten Foot Pole's less-than-stellar review of Lair of the Shorlee Wyrm.  I wrote a scathing rebuke from bed; and we all know how rational we are when we're throwing up.  Now to be clear, I stand by my words.  When your central complaint is based on objective falsehoods it doesn't look good.  But the review was right about the preview and area descriptions (I'll admit it), and even its rants conveyed useful information to the reader.  It was just a review, and I probably should have let it go.

Hear that Bryce?  I'll bury the hatchet.  You rock on with your bad self and eviscerate the Philistines.  I suppose it's a vital public service, not to mention fun.  Lord knows we all could use a bit more levity these days.  We have a nice little community here, and even its more extreme personalities have their own special charm.  Let's hope we can ride out this plague season and return to something like normalcy.  Anyway, we won't be back in business for another week or so; but we'll be dropping in and sending our best wishes for all...