This time, the quote is by me. If you ask me, all those doomsayers that think the pen & paper roleplaying hobby will vanish in a few years are wrong. At first, we have to see things in a perspective. RPGs were never a mainstream phenomenon like computer games are today. And the size of the market has been shrinking since the golden days of TSR but the hobby is still very much alive and well.
The hobby is held alive by dedicated people in the industry and by countless fans who continue to enjoy the game. And if you ask me, the current economical crisis may even help bring a few people back to the table. Pulling out your old D&D books and sitting down around a table with a couple of friends is much cheaper than buying that fancy new video game. And while the hobby will change (as it already has changed), I don’t believe it will ever be dead. Just like TV and the cinema did not kill the theater or books.
In my opinion, the hobby will move more to the digital realm, because it’s easier to “meet” people on the internet than to schedule a session in your own home. A lot of roleplayers already play using software like Fantasy Grounds II and Skype or participate in play-by-post games. Basically the game is still the same, but instead of meeting in real life, people play in “cyberspace”. That’s not the same thing as playing a MMO. And better technology will probably make it even easier to play roleplaying games over the ‘net without it turning into a game like “World of WarCraft“.
I still have a lot of hope in our hobby. Our own RPG Bloggers Network clearly shows that there are a lot of talented and dedicated people who still enjoy games like D&D, Savage Worlds and others. And especially when I read blog posts from parents who introduce their children and their friends to the hobby, I am sure, that pen & paper roleplaying games will not die! So, let’s stop conjuring up doomsday scenarios! Stop worrying and enjoy the game!
No, that line is not from me, but from game designer Steve Jackson, co-founder of Games Workshop and creator of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. He has said these words in a recent interview with the German news magazine DER SPIEGEL.
And please note that the translation to English is from me, since the interview was entirely in German language, so it might be that some things got lost intranslation.
According to this interview he also believes that the tradition of pen & paper roleplaying games is continued in computer games, since “the most computer games today are just Dungeons & Dragons with pretty pictures and software that rolls the dice and uses the rules behind the curtain.” He continues: “The rules might be more complex but the game concept is the same“.
When he was not misquoted he also stated that one of the problems of pen & paper RPGs “was” that they are depending on the creativity of the players and game masters.
In my opinion Steve Jackson makes the same mistake that a lot of people do, they think that the new technologies, like computers and the internet will replace our hobby entirely. And that’s where they are probably wrong. The new technologies changed and continue to change who roleplaying games are played, created and sold, but I am pretty sure the hobby as a whole will survive.
Steve Jackson is currently developing computer and video games at Lionhead Studios which he co-founded with 2005 together with Peter Molyneux. If you ask me, he just lost touch with the pen & paper roleplaying scene a lot of years ago. Or am I wrong here and our hobby is doomed? What are your thoughts on the matter?
I just wanted to let you all know that I am having two weeks off from work and that usually leads to me being lazy beyond belief, sleeping until midday and sitting on the couch playing some video game. 🙂
It is likely that I won’t update my blog on a daily basis, because of that. While I am wasting my free time playing “Final Fantasy XII” (pretty cool game, highly recommended!) why don’t you check some of my older posts?
Stargazer, signing off (at least for today). I will be back tomorrow for sure, since it’s my blog’s 1st birthday! Yay!