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Author Topic: Durn Foreigners!  (Read 4750 times)
Matt Snyder
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« on: October 18, 2002, 06:55:02 AM »

You know, I'm absolutely amazed at how many overseas folks have purchased Dust Devils. I've had sales in the UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, and one or two others (with multiple sales in some of those countries).

Dust Devils strikes me as the ultimate American milieu, though granted there are the Italian-made spaghetti westerns and a handful of pretty decent Aussie westerns like Quigley Down Under and the Man From Snowy River for example. And others, of course.

But still, my question to you international folks is: Why the interest in Dust Devils? What are your impressions of the West, more specifically the West as envisioned in films? Is the cowboy and/or the outlaw an attractive figure for you? Is it an ugly American stereotype? I sometimes hear political commentary of Americans, or even specific Americans like Bush(!) as a "Cowboy" meaning we're reckless or rash.

Care to shed any light on the subject? Anyone?

Furthermore, it goes without saying that I'm happier 'n  a possum eatin' a yellow jacket that Dust Devils IS selling to folks overseas!
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2002, 09:05:44 AM »

Hey Matt,

Well, I'm no foreigner, but my experience has been that folks in EU countries, and Germans in particular, harbor an almost fanatical interest in westerns, and retro country and rockabilly music. The finest thirtysomething steel guitar players I've seen in the past ten years are from Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. Musicians in these countries have preserved traditions and instruments that American musicians have allowed to fall into neglect. The coolest psychobilly recording I own is The Desperate Deeds of Ringo, a concept album that tells the story of a peaceful rancher who sets out on a mission to avenge crimes against his family on the gunfighter who perpetrated them. A couple of the most incredible tracks feature duets between male singers, in character as the voices of the rancher and the gunfighter. When's the last time you heard two young American male musicians singing an opposed duet? The album is by the Motorpsychos, a German band.

Paul
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Clay
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2002, 09:08:06 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
Furthermore, it goes without saying that I'm happier 'n  a possum eatin' a yellow jacket that Dust Devils IS selling to folks overseas!


That's a heck of a simile, Matt.  I should suspect that any opossum eating a yellow jacket would have earned a few stings to get that meal.  Then again, maybe there's something I don't suspect about opossums
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Clay Dowling
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Mikko Kauppinen
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2002, 10:20:48 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
But still, my question to you international folks is: Why the interest in Dust Devils? What are your impressions of the West, more specifically the West as envisioned in films? Is the cowboy and/or the outlaw an attractive figure for you? Is it an ugly American stereotype? I sometimes hear political commentary of Americans, or even specific Americans like Bush(!) as a "Cowboy" meaning we're reckless or rash.


Hello everyone,

I just finished downloading the PDF version (BTW, thanks for the quick assistance, Matt) and decided to register here as well.

It seems to be that it is anti-cool, at least among people I know, to confess watching and liking Westerns. I guess partially it is because of those stereotypes, like John Wayne riding into town and cleaning it up, and Indians, or Mexicans being third-rate citizens at best in Western movies. And many seem to think that there is no real depth or characterization in Westerns. And yes, "cowboy behavior" is not a complimentary term in Europe.

But it pisses me off that people dismiss ALL Westerns as similar juvenile/boring/racist/whatever films. I've seen some awful Westerns, but the genre is no different from any other in this regard. There's a lot of crap, some average stuff, and a handful of gems. And it just so happens that, should a pick a dozen films to accompany me to a desert island, there'd be several westerns in there. Films like Unforgiven, Rio Bravo, Once Upon A Time In The West, and The Wild Bunch are as good as anything I've seen.

Uh, I don't know if I answered your question, but at least I got that off my chest. :)

Mikko
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Tim Denee
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2002, 03:07:49 PM »

Actually (and correct me if I'm wrong) but I'd imagine that the old west is almost as exotic to you modern Americans as it is to a foreigner like myself.

In any case, cowboys are just plain cool; romantic, tough, independent, et al. It doesn't anything to do with my perceptions of Americans, per se, any more than my love of the Samurai/Ronin stereotype has anything to do with how I perceive a "typical Japanese" person.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2002, 08:07:59 PM »

Quote from: Tim Denee
Actually (and correct me if I'm wrong) but I'd imagine that the old west is almost as exotic to you modern Americans as it is to a foreigner like myself.


Well, I can't speak about generations since mine, but from mine on back, every boy growing up in America was part cowboy. We all played the incredibly politically incorrect "Cowboy's and Indians" game that often gets mentioned in the obligatory "How to play RPGs" sections. And we all watched a zillion westerns on Saturday afternoons, and after school. And we all dressed up as a cowboy for halloween, once at least if not more.

While the actual western experience is alien to us as to anyone else, the "Western" as a movie genre, and an aesthetic, is a part of the psyche of almost every American male over the age of thirty.

The question is, did you Finns and New Zealanders all grow up on a diet of western fantasizing? If not, then what's the appeal of Westerns?

I buy Tim's description, but then, as I understand it, New Zealanders (and Aussies, too?) are also fond of the "Rugged Individualist" type. While, if I'm not mistaken, this is seen as near neurotic (or worse) behavior in countries such as Germany. So are those who like it in Germany just contrarians, or is there something more universal about the Western that we're missing?

Mike
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Jon H
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2002, 08:47:04 AM »

Here in the UK,  I too was weaned on playing Cowboys and Indians.  Westerns were on TV every Sunday afternoon.  Aged about 8 or 9 I was a massive John Wayne fan, and had an arsenal of cap firing six shooters.  It was a good few years into my childhood before I realised America was actually somewhere very far away!  Similarly me and my little friends played 'Monkey' after being riveted to the TV show.  We had no idea where it was from though, and nor was that important to our games.

These days I enjoy the slightly more mature takes on the Old West - both Unforgiven and the novel Blood Meridian by Cormac MacCarthy took my breath away.  Both are great inspirations for Dust Devils.

I think The Western genre has a truly broad appeal, much like King Arthur does, despite the fact its a history/mythology based squarely in one part of the world.

Everyone loves ninjas, knights, and cowboys, where ever they happen to have been born!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2002, 04:29:56 PM »

Hello,

The western has taken hold on nearly every culture that it's invaded, often to the extent of spawning "foreign westerns" or equivalents in local terms.

I have a very minor, anecdotal, terribly non-scientific bit of data that might be relevant. Every middle-aged Korean man I've interviewed about why they came to the States (which is a fair number of people; I'm very interested in the history of Korean-to-U.S. martial arts and hold the rank to merit asking these questions) has cited cowboy movies. Many of them left Korea in the early 60s for political reasons and went first to Europe or Canada, but they "just wanted" to get to America ... and for some reason, the cowboy-thing played a big role in that.

Best,
Ron
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UnSub
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2002, 07:52:30 PM »

Quigley Down Under! Hahahaha! Sorry, but I was unable to sit through this movie. It followed the US movie tradition of slapping "... Down Under" onto a subject and thinking that's going to make it exotic. Unfortunately "... Down Under" films are usually pretty average, and Quigley... fell into that trap.

Anyway...

As an Australian who hasn't bought DD but is really thinking of doing so, the Western appeals to me BECAUSE of its tortured heroes. I don't have time for most John Wayne films because he is a hero from start to finish, but a film such as Pale Rider or some of the Italian westerns I've seen has characters that you are never quite sure of. DD really takes this idea and runs with it.

Is the "loner" character appealing to Australia? Absolutely. Australians love the colourful and outstanding characters of our (and others') history. Think of Ned Kelly (and a collective, "Who?" fills the forums). On one hand a murdering thieving Irishman from a family of murdering thieving Irishmen. On the other hand he fashioned himself a suit of armour that stopped bullets, conducted legendary (ie may not of actually happened as history reports it) bank robberies and his last words as he went to the gallows was reportedly, "Such is life." (Here are some links for you on Ned Kelly:http://www.ironoutlaw.com/, http://www.abc.net.au/btn/australians/nedkelly.htm) He's a hero in (most) Australian history books and is just one example of Australia's love of the bushranger / anti-authoritarian character that can also be seen reflected in the Western.

What is really drawing me to DD is not the concept of running a Western but the Ronin mod. There are such strong ties between the Samurai and Western genres that similar stories can be told and I know my group would be much more into feudal Japan than 1800s USA (at least until they learn the rules). So, sorry Mr Snyder but I may be buying your game to make use of a free product! :-)
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Valamir
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2002, 05:21:22 AM »

Quote
Here are some links for you on Ned Kelly:http://www.ironoutlaw.com/, http://www.abc.net.au/btn/australians/nedkelly.htm) He's a hero in (most) Australian history books and is just one example of Australia's love of the bushranger / anti-authoritarian character that can also be seen reflected in the Western.


And he makes really good steaks at the Ned Kelly Steak House ;-)
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2002, 06:10:34 AM »

Quote from: UnSub

What is really drawing me to DD is not the concept of running a Western but the Ronin mod. There are such strong ties between the Samurai and Western genres that similar stories can be told and I know my group would be much more into feudal Japan than 1800s USA (at least until they learn the rules). So, sorry Mr Snyder but I may be buying your game to make use of a free product! :-)



UnSub -- thanks for the post and the links to Ned Kelley material. I think I knew you Aussies were kindred "Western" souls, so a couple orders from down under didn't surprise me much. What surprised me is interest from, say, Israel and Sweden for example. 'Course, there's always a Swede in the movies . . . heh.

Anyway, no problem if you order the game just for the Samurai mod! Jason put together a really nice little download in Ronin, and I'd be happy to have folks get DD for that reason.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

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--Yogi Berra
Mikko Kauppinen
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2002, 07:40:38 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
The question is, did you Finns and New Zealanders all grow up on a diet of western fantasizing? If not, then what's the appeal of Westerns?


Well, I did, and I guess most men who are around my age (30) or older. The Finnish television showed Western series and there's a really old tradition (as in decades) for showing "Western of the Month" on the state-owned Yleisradio channels. I also played with plastic old west figures almost as much as I did with toy soldiers, played Cowboys & Indians outside, and read Western novels & comics. (Anyone in the States heard of Tex Willer? It is an Italian comic book that's about 50 years old, and still very popular there and in Finland, at least. :)

Youngsters these days, cannot understand the excitement of films with no wire-fu/CGI space battles/action every five minutes... <grumble> Not that there's anything wrong with those, either. ;)
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2002, 09:55:38 AM »

Well, there you have it, Matt. Seems that American Cultural Imperialism, uh, I mean, Internationally Recognized Heroic Iconography, has made the Western aesthetically available to most cultures. Make sense?

Mike
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edomaur
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2002, 08:49:37 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
You know, I'm absolutely amazed at how many overseas folks have purchased Dust Devils. I've had sales in the UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, and one or two others (with multiple sales in some of those countries).

:grin: Héhéhé, "Switzerland", that's me... I would like to publih Dust Devils in French too...

Quote from: Matt Snyder
But still, my question to you international folks is: Why the interest in Dust Devils? What are your impressions of the West, more specifically the West as envisioned in films? Is the cowboy and/or the outlaw an attractive figure for you? Is it an ugly American stereotype? I sometimes hear political commentary of Americans, or even specific Americans like Bush(!) as a "Cowboy" meaning we're reckless or rash.

For me, Western movies are something of a Golden Age, but it doesn't really matter : In fact, I like the old western movies more than I like the scifi movies, they are better, grittyer, and so on.

Dust Devils is just the sort of game Deadlands isn't. As a player, I just go out a 2-years long Deadlands campaign, and there is too much tentacles in it ;) But Dust Devils... It's another matter. Just a very good game I guess :)
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Antoine Boegli
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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2002, 12:34:41 AM »

Downloaded DD last night and read through the full rules, which kept presenting me with some great gaming ideas. I'll have to run a game or two to get the hang of the mechanics, but the game structure feels really interesting.

To add to the Ned Kelly links, I'd like to suggest another Australian bushranger who isn't very well known but has a great story: Moondyne Joe ("moon-dine"). Here's a link: http://www.fremantleprison.com/history/history11.cfm. His Devil would almost undoubtedly be Freedom - of himself and of possessions. Have a look at the number of times he escaped, was re-captured and escaped to see what I mean.

Thanks for DD Matt! (Oh, pdf errata question - p17 refers to p27 for "The Hanged Man" when it is on p18... I'm not missing anything am I?)
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