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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 43 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]  (Read 23504 times)
Le Joueur
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« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2002, 07:43:48 AM »

Hey Ralph,

Run into too many crusaders?

Quote from: Valamir
And Fang...I have no idea where your sense of demeaning anything comes from.  Are you suggesting that being compared to a gamer is insulting?  Personally your "delicate" and "deprecation" comments I find to be the worst form of PC baloney.  When you render a topic too "delicate" for discussion you remove the ability to critically analyze, question, or learn from it.   Sometimes issues just need to be held up to the harsh light of reality and shaken a bit to see what comes out...something that can't be done if everyone's walking on egg shells worrying if someone might get offended.

What is this the hour of extremism?  I said "just an acknowledgement" not "walk on eggshells."  I'm not saying that being 'like a gamer' is insulting; I'm saying that one under-appreciates gay rights by comparing it to say, the stigma attached to not liking football.  This isn't an 'all or nothing' thing; one quick acknowledgement that we're talking about the superficial similarities of two things of very different depth would be plenty.

I'm not making an issue about this; I am explaining what I meant by "the willies."  The thread had me sitting there thinking 'how can you be so insensitive,' not 'how dare you.'  A little sensitivity goes a long way and can hardly cripple a discussion.

If you can't see how to show a little respect without having it totally overwhelm your discussion, I can't really say anything more on this topic.

Fang Langford
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2002, 08:22:30 AM »

Hello,

Aw fuck.

Anthony wrote,
"there is some stigma attached to being a gamer, it doesn't come close to what gays have to go through."

You know, this was one of my main hopes - that someone would say this. I almost said it myself but decided that the Raven's-job-crisis side of things was a strong issue of its own.

Anthony, I agree with you and have done so for years. Part of my goal with this thread is to say: "Dudes [gamers], quit crying about the Big Bad Society picking on you. You haven't seen shit. Any real oppressed minority is disgusted to hear your whinin'."

But as I say, Raven's situation did put a bit of bite into the picture in favor of the idea that some degree of potential "oppression" is involved. I'll definitely agree with you that the actual quantity of that degree is comparatively (and significantly) minor.

As for the "BULL FUCKING SHIT"  part ... well, first, I'll start by saying that "offense" isn't an issue, in case anyone wondered or was trying to protect me or whatever. More importantly, Anthony, whaddaya say to a compromise, or maybe a graded-stepped position, as follows ...

Step 1: pride. Standing up for yourself.

Step 2: enlisting support from non-members of the oppressed minority. Getting representation, making political alliances.

My point, 'way back on my post, was that Step 2 is "Real Power," but that it relies upon Step 1. How does that sound?

One final point: in your second post, you used a key word: to equate the gay / gamer issues, which you rightly tag as absurd. I hope it's clear that nothing about this thread does that.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Ralph, Raven, and Fang, forgive me for saying this, but having the three of you on a thread with this kind of loaded content makes me shudder with fear. Every one of you tends to get real erect with one another, and I'm tryin'a talk to Anthony. Can you all settle a bit? I mean, post as you will, but recognize your tendency to enjoy fighting and that it's not a good topic for that.

P.P.S. I agree with Raven's post.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2002, 09:11:30 AM »

Yeah! Me too, Argh!

Uh...

This is in belated reply to the responses to my post back on PAGE 1, but for the record I do see more clearly what this thread was getting at, and how I missed it. Much clearer now, thanks.

I had a few ideas to add to the thread, now, but I think that it's doing fine without them, so I'll hold back.

A question, though, as it's become muddy, is "where is this thread going?" Or, in more of a forge style, "What do you *do* in this thread?" Are we bitching about a problem, trying to solve it, trying to make an accurate comparison, or what?

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2002, 09:17:27 AM »

Hi Jake,

My real goals on this thread are based on my goals for the (what are now called, I guess) Infamous Five. Each one has spawned a few daughter threads, like this one.

Those goals are: what are we, socially speaking, as role-players? Does the answer pose any identifiable real problems? If so, can the Forge as a site operate as a means to solve any of them? I do not personally have answers to these questions all ready to go. I'm hoping to work that out through the strengths of this medium (internet discourse).

This particular thread is intended to illuminate role-player behavior, exclusively. It's not intended as any kind of critical examination or discourse on either gay-ness (whatever that might be) or gay culture. Bluntly, I think role-players have a lot to learn from gay struggles, both internal and external, not as a direct model, but in terms of parallel details.

Jake, I put a lot of thought and concern into my response to your earlier post. I'd appreciate any feedback about it. Also, I'm not sure which post your current "Me too!" is referring to.

Best,
Ron
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greyorm
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« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2002, 09:34:52 AM »

Quote
P.S. Ralph, Raven, and Fang, forgive me for saying this, but having the three of you on a thread with this kind of loaded content makes me shudder with fear.


Raven: "Yeah, we're like the Three Musketeers!"

Ralph: "What? How do you figure that?"

Raven: "Unh, because there's three of us and we're always fighting?"

Fang: "Yes, but in the source literature, the Three Musketeers were on a team, not opposed. The teamwork and fighting issue is one I commented on in http://Scattershot..."

Ralph: "Fang, you missed the point...Raven's making a joke!"

Raven: "Ralph's right, I am making a joke, and further, Fang, I think you'll find the source literature by Dumas supports some amount of in-fighting amongst the Three Musketeers..."

Ralph: "Raven, now you're missing the point! You said yourself it was a joke, so quit intellectually analyzing the issue as a topic, because it makes no sense to do so."

Fang: "Yes, Ralph's right. And anyways, Ron's pointing out how we tend to discuss things with one other, in a combatitive manner, but even though that holds true, I don't think we can really be seen as a brotherhood of warriors."

Ralph: "Sure we can, we're all fighting for truth and justice, crusading to keep Forge discussion hard-hitting and on topic, under the banner of his Majesty, King Edwards."

Ron: "Ok, that's taking it too far. Everyone shutup, you're scaring everybody, and you know the flak that referring to me as any sort of supreme authority figure or cult-leader causes, even in jest. So stop it."

Raven: "Hey, look, Ron's the Fourth Musketeer!"

Ralph: "There is no fourth Musketeer!"

...

<Grin>

Just a bit of humor to lighten the mood.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled topic.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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J B Bell
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« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2002, 09:48:54 AM »

Thanks Raven.  As a queer person who has found this thread at times
uncomfortable, I appreciate your providing useful direction.  The only
thing I have to add is a note (a note!  Not castigating, or even
correcting, just a "just so you know") that the whole "lifestyle"
terminology rubs many of us the wrong way.  I'd also like to
acknowledge that after the whole sweating-bullets experience of coming
out as not-straight, being an out gamer isn't much of anything.  In
any case I think it is, for me, kind of a sub-category of my overall
"geek" personality, which is certainly the trait for which I have
taken the majority of crap in my life.

I tend to agree with Ron that the fetish world is actually something
of a closer match than the pre- . . . uh, well, past, less powerful
gay community.  However it's a significantly less well-known topic so
I can see why Ron chose to go with what people will at least have some
ideas about, even if they may not always be right on target.  I have
thought about this exact issue many times and see powerful parallels
specifically in the "internalized x-phobia" area.  In particular I
think it manifests as frustration among gamers in trying to use
terminology that is borrowed from the broader culture, and actually
rejecting theory and simple discussion that would clarify things.
Witness the frequent refrain that actually understanding the
source of dissatisfaction with gaming has "ruined" it.  Quitting
fooling yourself is often followed by a pretty uncomfortable period--a
necessary one, as far as I've ever seen.  There is not a strong
parallel to queerdom or fetish in that realizing the truth doesn't
usually generate a feeling of really heavy duty existential dread or
even suicidal thoughts or acts.  However, the notion that some kind of
satisfaction will elude one forever now that illusions are gone is one
I see in common here.  ("Now that I know I want spankings, I'll never
be able to have normal sex!")

The big parallel I see is the horrible dance where two people (or
often more, among gamers, who tend to be less "monogamous"--except
about systems, sometimes) conspire to fail to communicate about their
dissatisfactions.  I'm having trouble giving good examples here, but I
mean the situation where people talk about everything but what
they're unhappy about, often actually rejecting attempts to clarify
matters in a way that would help them figure out what they're unhappy
about.  I think this is sometimes, though certainly not always, why
gamers will sometimes reject theory discussions on the basis that
understanding things thoroughly will somehow "ruin the fun."  I also
see a parallel between the times when someone in a relationship
romantically will shut down conversation by insisting that clear
discussion is hurtful, and the gamer's occasional refrain that the
mysterious "fun" is the only criterion worth discussing.

Well, I could go on, but I'm not being as clear as I'd like in spite
of a full night's sleep.  I am as always open to correction &
clarification.

--JB

P.S. As for the contentious topic of whether mainstream support is needed, I think we can hardly argue that it can be helpful.  (And yes, seeking that support has risks of its own.)
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2002, 10:35:56 AM »

Ron-

The "me too, argh!" was just me poking my head in and trying to feel like part of the argument. Actually it was mostly just me being an ass.

I didn't respond in detail earlier because I felt that it had been too long since that post, and I din't want to de-rail anything, but, since you asked...

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Jake, I think the key issues that separate the gamer thing from "another hobby," at least in terms of the comparison we're examining, are these:

1) Some negative repercussions to being perceived as a gamer are real. The most substantive case study I can think of occurred to one of our own Forge members, Raven, within the last two months, as documented on a couple of threads in the Site Discussion forum.


And I maintain that what happened to Raven is the exception, and has less to do with his being a gamer than someone else needing a scapegoat. It really *isn't* that hard being a gamer, and 90% of the stigma is either in our own heads or has been brought upon us by our own anti-social behaviors, not by the fact that we are gamers. Many (most?) gamers are total geeks in the eyes of "mundanes." The majority of gamers seen at conventions (or at least the ones you notice) are overwieght, exclaim stupid things (esp. anime quotes) in nasal voices, are unkempt, and have a penchant for japanese animated porn. Is that a true statement? No, not exactly, but it is a perception that many have. Is any of it actually related to gaming as a hobby? No. Does any of it explain what happened to Raven? No.

Gaming is like quilting or stamp collecting. It's an immersive hobby with a really annoying stereotypical player, but it isn't that anyone hates the hobby--they just don't like the folks they've met who are part of the hobby. Yeah, there is/was some "D&D is Satanic" vibe, but most people don't care that much. Those that do are usually easily avoided, and most of them are easily convinced that RPGing isn't satanic. It was something that they had "heard" but that they really never cared about that much, and as such had no firm opinions.

What I'm saying is that the so-called negative repercussions of being a gamer come from the kind of people that gamers are or associate with, and not the actual fact of "being a gamer." No one in my family has a problem with it, nor does anyone I talk to. In fact, I find that most folks even played once or twice as a kid. They are always suprised, however, that I game, because I'm so "normal." That says a lot.

Quote
2) Many more negative repercussions are much more minor - and they arise as much from the "self-closeting" behavior as from the 'phobes, as it were. In other words, the problem here is behaving as if gamer/gay were the problem, in any way, by anyone.


I'd say, except in rare examples (like Raven's terrible experience), that this is the only real problem.

Quote
3) The "self-closeting" behaviors I'm talking about are distinctive, compared to how one reacts to having one's odd but dignified hobby publicized. I don't know your dad, but I suspect that if someone mentions his motorcycle racing, he does not hunch his shoulders, grin sheepishly, make a self-effacing joke, or (at best) change the subject sharply. I also suspect he does not play the "neuter" game, which would be, say if he were off to race motorcycles one day when his friends invite him to do something, he says, "I'll be busy that day," consistently, as opposed to saying, "I'll be racing motorcycles that day." [The parallel is the "gender" game played by closeted gay folks, who in conversation with "unsafe" people, use neuter gender pronouns to disguise the gender of their partners.]


Now this is the part of your post that reached me. He doesn't handle it that way, but he's kind of a blunt guy like that. OTOH, there are many crowds that my mom won't tell people what she does (she's a Yoga instructer in the buckle of the bible belt, and a mormon "cultist," either of which can get a cross burned on your lawn in our town), or where my sister is afraid to discuss her belly-dancing because people think it's essentially the rag-head terrorist version of a strip-dancer. So I think that while you hit my Dad's hobby square on the head (and helped me understand what you are getting at), I also still maintain that our "problem" as gamers is pretty common all over in many "specialty" hobbies, especially anything that takes up a lot of time.

Likewise, I don't "hunch [my] shoulders, grin sheepishly, make a self-effacing joke, or (at best) change the subject sharply" when my sword-fighting comes up, but it isn't a topic I bring to the table, either, because WMA is still a long way from legitmate recognition as a viable and real martial art in the world's eye. Why? Well...movies and gamers, actually. And by gamers, I mean the fat smelly kind that run around with boffer swords throwing nerf-ball spells.* Remember also that that's a large part of the image gamers deal with as well, and of which many of us are embarrased.

(*Not that I have a problem with the above, but it *is* frustrating trying to explain what I'm doing with a sword in light of what they're doing with a "sword.")

Quote
Anyway, now that I've gone and rudely described the behavior of a man I've never met, let me know if I've made this distinction clear. It's crucial to this thread.


As above, you hit the nail on the head with that one.

Quote
Everyone, one of my key points on this thread is to state that gay people were able to gain some recognition, and most importantly legal protection from bashing, when they were able to enlist support from straight people who had voices in the power structure. A fellow closeted gay person in the power structure is all well and good, but not, in the long run or during harsh times, very effective. No, the key was to be out to people who were (a) not "accusable" in terms you would be accused of, and (b) willing to go to the wall for you.

And yet, this key begins at the internal level after all. One doesn't get that non-[X] support, at the mass level, until one is proud to be [X].


I suppose. I'm not an expert in the least. What I see is a problem with (a) self-image amongst gamers, and (b) projected image to the outside world. All of that is internal, and it can't be helped by friendly "mundanes" speaking up for us or anything of the sort. In the eyes of others gamers look like geeks, idiots, or delusionals. In many cases I think that that stereotype has been fairly earned by us. Of the gay people that I know I have *zero* problems with the ones that seem "normal" to me--meaning that they dress normally, talk normally, and aren't obsessed with their gayness anymore than I am with my non-gayness. The opposite is true of those gay individuals are part of a culture that is alien to me. It makes me uncomfortable just as sitting in a bar with a bunch of drunk Frenchman would--it's alien to me, and I don't entirely get it. I'm not telling them to stop it, but it *is* another world to me, just as "smelly gamer culture" is another world to "mundanes."

And, in that respect, I'm a "mundane." Origins was the weirdest dang place I'd ever been. I was enjoying myself immensely, but it was very, very, very strange seeing 6 300-lb men dressed up as sailor moon. That's just weird, and we've got no one to blame but ourselves in this.

Anyway, I've probably ranted a whole lot here, and chewed on my foot a few times. Understand that I have nothing against geeks, sailor moon, gay people (sorry for including you in this list, BTW), boffer-fighters, or the like. Understand also that I don't want to play-down what happened to Raven, but I do want to ephasize how rare it is.

Jake,
who is waiting for the backlash.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2002, 11:24:02 AM »

This is a reply to only a portion of Jake's post, because, for the most part I completely agree with him.

Quote
"but I do want to ephasize how rare it is."

Is it, though?

I'll quote one of my posts from the RPG Hate Issue thread, and the URL I provided therein. Based on the evidence presented here, the stereotype or the stigma is much more dangerous to gamers than even we generally think it is.

Quote
...in case you missed it, a branch of our lovely media, in typical sensationalist fashion, has now linked D&D to the sniper shootings out on the eastern seaboard. Here is the link to the article about it: Save vs Channel 9 For Half

I point this out as the nature of this thread is to stir up movement towards the establishment of an RPG defense league. According to the author and his Court TV viewing habits, the media situation is worse than I had understood, so I take this as a kick-in-the-butt to get things moving on that front.


On the other hand, it is not my intention to downplay the plight of any persecuted group by trying to jump into the "victim" boat with anyone. Like I said, I'm not into playing games of "we're more persecuted than you are," because when you get right down to it, every group is persecuted for something by another group (larger or smaller). Thus I'm not going to value, devalue or inflate the persecution of anyone, because its all bad in that it is persecution.

Again, this isn't to say, "Yes we are!" or "No we aren't!" in response to my own questioning of the rarity or existance of the above -- by "is it?" I mean to ask that as a question for everyone to answer individually, to say "hey, stop, let's really look at this and our own perceptions about it," provide data for exploration and evaluation, not definitively answer it here.

Like I said, I agree with Jake, in comparison to the gay community (or the pagan community, or the black community) gamers have it "easy" (or as easy as ostracization of any sort can ever be).

What I'm really interested in is how we deal with that as a group, what "that" actually is (the actual forms it takes, individually and culturally), and how it affects our hobby, perception of our hobby, et al. "in comparison" isn't the issue; I think the issue of severity is a red herring...not unimportant, certainly, but off-topic right now in this context.

As an example, note the article above: lawyers, prosecutors and government profilers use D&D (and RPGs) as a marker of instability, to showcase that someone isn't mentally healthy to a jury and convict them of crimes. This does not really affect you as a gamer on an immediate, personal level, but do note that this behavior does exist and occur, and as it does, it does have an affect gamers as a whole.

When's the last time you heard prosecutors using the facts that someone plays poker or works on model trains against them in court, not as evidence (ie: "you play poker on Wednesdays, and you were in the area"), but as a sign of obvious mental instability?

This is one aspect of what I'm talking about discussion in this thread serving itself better by focusing on, rather than the issue that a comparison was made to highlight certain similarities, not to bind the two together as similar.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2002, 11:33:58 AM »

Hello,

Jake wrote,
"... All of that is internal, and it can't be helped by friendly "mundanes" speaking up for us or anything of the sort."

I agree. I've said so from the beginning of the thread. The process starts internally, with actual pride. In many ways, that's the only process that matters.

Is someone not seeing this? I'm starting to get that aggravated feeling one gets upon not being heard, despite multiple repetitions.  

Best,
Ron
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erithromycin
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Posts: 159


« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2002, 03:25:18 PM »

Right. I'm with you. The issue is pride.

With 'pride' we can move some way towards having roleplaying accepted as a mainstream social activity. At least, I assume that's what you're after.

It's the best explanation I can see for our use of the transformation of homosexuality [and a number of, but not all, fetishes] into an accepted part of mainstream sexual activity.

That's what you're talking about, no?
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my name is drew

"I wouldn't be satisfied with a roleplaying  session if I wasn't turned into a turkey or something" - A
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2002, 03:26:24 PM »

Hi Drew,

Yup, it is. That's what I'm after with this thread. When Jake referred to self-image among gamers and projection from them to non-gamers, he nailed it.

Best,
Ron
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2002, 03:41:17 PM »

Ha! I nailed it! Woo-hoo!

See mom, I'm not an idiot!

Sorry...didn't mean to interrupt with useless drivel...

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #42 on: November 22, 2002, 04:16:24 PM »

If someone was trying to make a point about the silliness of being ashamed of your gaming hobby, using an emotionally weighted comparison like homosexuality is certainly effective.  

I do not, however, think the comparison is useful for doing anything but granting some forge-goers insight into their psychology.
 
With freaky fundamentalists the same approach to "mainstream acceptance" (have some pride in yourself, stand up and be counted) may indeed help in eliminating harmful discrimination.

But for more sane people (the actual mainstream), "Look at me, I game, and I don't sacrifice children", isn't going to do anything to improve the opinion of gaming or increase the number of new gamers.

The comparison may be too similar, but I think comparing gaming to comic book collecting and anime would yeild a better "comparison with solution" - they all fall into the "kid stuff" category that people "grew out of" and is for "geeks".  Both comic books and anime are becoming more mainstream as time goes on - because of advertizing, not because of any sort of antidiscrimination effort.

Disney puts out Princess Mononoke, it does well, so they put out Spirited Away.  My girlfriend's mother likes Princess Mononoke, so she wants to watch more anime.  We'd been offering her good Princess Mononoke quality anime for years - but now that its on TV it is all of a sudden no longer irritating and childish.   Look, an X-men movie, which is not geeky when it's in the theatre (though more comics probably aren't being sold).

I have to extend my thanks to WoTC, I saw a D&D ad in a Maxim magazine.

PS:  

Jake -
Quote
Likewise, I don't "hunch [my] shoulders, grin sheepishly, make a self-effacing joke, or (at best) change the subject sharply" when my sword-fighting comes up, but it isn't a topic I bring to the table, either, because WMA is still a long way from legitmate recognition as a viable and real martial art in the world's eye. Why? Well...movies and gamers, actually. And by gamers, I mean the fat smelly kind that run around with boffer swords throwing nerf-ball spells.* Remember also that that's a large part of the image gamers deal with as well, and of which many of us are embarrased.


I'll have to concure, in the martial arts community most non-asian martial arts meet with an upturned nose.  I've been guilty of it myself (having a background in a couple Japanese arts), and you're right the nerf swords are partially to blame ("Ha! You'd break your thumb if that wasn't a piece of foam").  I did however recently join a Flos Duellatorum study group, and I'll give it credit - it's nothing new, but it is "effective".
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- Cruciel
M. J. Young
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« Reply #43 on: November 22, 2002, 10:47:58 PM »

Quote from: cruciel
I have to extend my thanks to WoTC, I saw a D&D ad in a Maxim magazine.

That's a good thing, but it's not really a new thing. Twenty years ago, TSR was running D&D ads. I saw quite a few in Omni that were pretty good.


Still, I think they vanished for a while, so it's good that they're back.

--M. J. Young
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #44 on: November 23, 2002, 11:23:06 AM »

You know, we've been over and over and over this...it ain't about what was compared to...that doesn't matter. Like Ron, I feel rather like the MC at an event where everyone is yelling but no one is listening.

Read the full thread -- scratch that, COMPREHEND the full thread and its purpose -- people, before leaping full bore into a "well, that's a bad comparison" spiel, because we've been down that road before and I think our answers stand on their own.

Now, cruciel points out something which I'd considered: would it have been better to compare RPGs to something more "kiddish"...for the purposes of this thread?

I thought about it, but "No"...for the purposes of this thread. Comic book collecting and anime don't have a similar social subculture comparable to that of gaming...or rather, we're not looking at surface similarities and one-on-one comparisons (he said again) and "the analogy that fits best." We're looking at what we can learn from another group with the subcultural behaviors being approached.

Also, cruciel, you might want to read the "Mainstream: a revision" thread that was the first in this series, if you haven't yet. Therein lies some thoughts about why advertising alone won't do it, and (in my mind at least), a basis for a push towards not merely acceptance, but joining the main game market.

Who cares? Well, I do; many publishers do.
Do you have to? No.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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