Friday, March 11, 2011

ZX81: Small black box of computing desire

I think this article, although it doesn't deal directly with the OSR, speaks of a different mindset and mentality at a similar time.

Back then if something didn't do something you wanted it to do you fixed it, at least to your satisfaction. RPGs were the same way. I will say that everything TSR printed was a trainwreck to some degree in everyone's eyes, but that's not a value judgment. As the old hackers would say you just need to kluge it a bit and everything was ok.

Gaming was about consensus. The DM talked to a potential group, laid out (or handed out if lucky) any house rules and then the game was underway.

Now when you say house rule to most modern gamers they retort 'if I just wanted to make something up I wouldn't bother with buying the rule books'.

I think therein lies the fundamental building blocks that make up the difference between old school play and new school.

One group is happy to make something there own, inspired by many different things and the other want to buy a pre-packaged entertainment product and consume it. I guess there's nothing wrong with that and I don't want anyone to think that I believe this is a flat footed 100% across the board situation. Younger gamers are trying out different methods of gaming, which I whole hardheartedly agree with, I just think it underlines some of the basic misunderstandings between the different groups.

Anyway, enjoy the link to a flashback from the BBC. In the States you might remember this little guy as a Sinclair or Timex-Sinclair (the ads used to run in OMNI magazine every month).

BBC News - ZX81: Small black box of computing desire