Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Year Of The Great Burn Out

After seeing just how many of my favorite blogs have disappeared I realize I'm not the only one experiencing blogger burn out.

It seems one of the ways we deal with this syndrome is by blaming our software. Frustration at the constant change online is reaching a fever pitch and as they try to push Web 2.0 down everyone's throat many have just packed up and went home.

I for one have loved blogs because of their simplicity. A simple interface that can hold a picture or two and link to a video for as an added benefit.

But the flight of many into Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc seems to be leaving a vacuum and it is having a rough time refilling itself.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no Luddite and like a new gadget (software or hardware) as well as the next guy. But it seems we have become so focused on the features of the hammer that we are forgetting that we were building a house.

It's been a tough year for many, myself included so I do understand, from the bad winter that segued into a worse spring (the old analog antenna that was on the roof when we bought the house coming through the ceiling during a micro-burst being the single event that focused my spring) filled with storms EVERY F'ING DAY for 3 months causing me to power every thing day and sit in the dark when the power would go out tested my patience to their limits.

We seem to be going through another transitional phase, where the last of the first wave of OSR bloggers are making their exit to the the second wave-divided over what constitutes the OSR, what material should be released,free vs commercial, what impact we have had,etc-now departing due to differences that imo shouldn't be separating us in the first place.

But people will be people of that there is no doubt. I watch as more blogs close up or just disappear and wonder if maybe some self-fulfilling prophecy is at work here. What will be left of us by the first of the year? Will 2012 be the end of OSR scene as we know it?

All I seem to read about these days is how the games have never been as big as they were in the '80s and how small and insignificant we are as a group, be it gaming in general or the OSR. That our numbers are so small we are a drop in a cosmic bucket.

But yet one of the biggest game corporations in the world is sending reprimands to bloggers demanding they print retractions about when store sponsored events can occur and cease and desist letters to those they feel are impinging on their copy rights and trade marks.

As I have said before, if we (the OSR) are so insignificant why do they bother to issue a 'Red Box' that is identical in all but company name in outward appearance to a generation of gamers who for the most part weren't even born when it first launched unless it was to try and bring back the large volume of gamers who have abandoned them for greener pastures.

There is only so much self-deprecating modesty necessary in the situation and I think we have reached our limit. The items I see being produced, even on a pure fan scale, are superior in material and design to what would have passed for commercial product not a decade ago.

I haven't posted much myself here in the last few months due to my bad habit of taking on too many projects at once. But a house cleaning is in order. I only have so much time and energy for these projects and now have to start deciding what will receive my attention.

No, I will not be nuking any blogs, although some will be seeing less activity and some will begin to change in nature of their content. I decided for me a way to regain my energy was to enjoy a bit of what I love about the hobby and that is playing. Granted I have chosen something that some might not fit in with an RPG / OSR theme, but I'm gaming nonetheless at something I have wanted to try for a long time. I have always been an HP Lovecraft fan and since my chances of playing a CoC session is very slim I am quite enjoying the FFG editions of Elder Sign and Arkham Horror. These activities have boosted my energy and lowered my contempt for looking at my own design notes to the point of where I can get back to work on them.

For me gaming is a long and winding road, made up of many different eras and I have always loved the idea that there is something awesome just around the corner that I have never played before. I miss my original group as much as anyone, but then everyone remembers their first and that's fair. But don't let the past stand in the way of enjoying the present for all that it is worth. I could go on about this being a Golden Age but hell, if I have to tell you that then I think we are failing each other in some way.

I consider this community to be one of the better things I have involved myself in and my hope for the future is that it continues to prosper and grow in strength and numbers. For those who have to go I might not like it but I will carry no ill will towards them and for those who decide to stay and re-invent themselves, taking on the challenges presented by this crazy hobby I offer a hearty handshake.

We may not ever get to sit at the same table and roll the bones in person, but I look forward everyday to being in the 'big room' that has been built out here in Will Gibson's 'cyberspace' and wish everyone health and happiness as we enter the holiday season and the challenge of a new year.

Now, I have to go show Mr. Cthulhu he needs to work on his people skills, not just his people EATING skills...