Dungeons & Dragons, Women, and Grognards

 

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Photo by doctor_bob at Morguefile.com

This is somewhat of a follow-up post to my original Dungeons & Dragons article I made some time. It has been my most successful article to date in terms of views, receiving over 2000 since its original posting. However, that visibility meant that it was ripe for receiving hit-and-run comments.

Compared to other platforms, WordPress is pretty mild in terms of nastiness in my experience. Post moderation is robust, the community is very friendly and overall I’ve found it to be a welcoming place.

But, I did receive two comments that I’d like to respond to. Usually, nasty comments for their own sake will just be trashed from the moderation queue. They will never see the light of day.

Initially, I kept these comments public because I wanted to prove that they were around. However, I decided to go back on that because I don’t want to establish that kind of precedent. After this post is up, they will be trashed. All that will be left of them are the screenshots that I took. I am not doing this for their benefit since I don’t think they will be inclined to listen. However, I do believe this might be beneficial in understanding some of the behavioral mechanisms at play for an outside observer.

With that in mind, let’s get started.

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Day of the DLC

 

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Photo by OfDoom at Morguefile.com

I am not a man of nostalgia. My impression of video games, as a whole, has improved over time. My childhood may be have been filled with moments of legitimate joy, but it was also filled with many more times of trial and error. Gameplay conventions that I appreciate about the modern state of gaming were absent. I recall trying to play the original System Shock and being shocked that it required the player to use a slider on one of its many intimidating user interfaces just to look up. It was an era before mouselook, an era in which I was uncomfortable travelling.

But just as it would be inaccurate to view my personal childhood through rose-colored glasses, so too would it be inaccurate to view the present state of gaming through the same lens.

My largest gripe is the surge in DLC or downloadable content. DLC is pretty self-explanatory in concept. Previously, additions to a game could only be released for PC games as expansions. Consoles for the most were absent from this process, though the lock-on cartridge for Sonic 3 and Knuckles could be argued as its own form of an expansion pack (though it would be more accurate to describe it as a standalone expansion). As the Dreamcast introduced online connectivity, and the original Xbox introduced hard drive storage, it was now possible for a game to receive patches and updates from the internet.

But, the widespread adoption of DLC came quickly, and without structure. People were still trying to figure out what to do with it. Arguably, they still are. But what was happening as a result?

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No Man’s Sky and The Death of Hype Culture

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I’m certain that I’m late to the party on this subject, but I do want to throw in my two cents on the broader pattern of the presence of “hype culture”. The recent release of “No Man’s Sky” helps to highlight a key problem with how consumers and media creators interact.

Hype culture is the result of the process of elevating the consumer’s expectations through tantalizing press releases, trailers, demos, or other forms of marketing and promotion that are meant to produce “buzz”. After the product is promoted, consumers begin to jump on the bandwagon in anticipation for release.

But does this expectation always match with reality? To that, we turn to the case study of No Man’s Sky. What happened with No Man’s Sky, and why did it turn out the way that it did?

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