[MUD-Dev] SOC: MUD-Dev, Developers, and DGN: Reasons for play, blah-bity-blah-bity-blah...

Sean Howard squidi at squidi.net
Fri Sep 2 01:42:05 CEST 2005

"Jaycen Rigger" <jaycen.rigger at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Michael Sellers <mike at onlinealchemy.com> wrote:

> All of you have made excellent points and counter points and I
> really like most of what you three guys have to say, especially
> when you disagree with each other;-)

Disagreement is the cornerstone of debate, and debate is the
cornerstone to understanding. Every discussion requires at least a
devil's advocate for it to be even remotely productive. A lot of
people don't like it when I do it though. :)

> Single-point anecdotes DO explain some things.  They may not be
> indicative of the largest population, but they point to smaller
> markets.  Some people do very well selling to a niche.

If the point of an anecdote is merely to express what you think,
then they really are useless. But if they are used to express WHY
you think, then they are priceless.

>> I've worked with people in the past who discounted women's
>> general distaste for games as coming from anything in the games
>> or the industry itself.  > > Totally agree.  Too many devs are
>> content to "blame the players" > instead of focusing on the real
>> problem; the devs.

As somebody who spends a lot of his time calling devs stupid to
their face, you may find it strange that I think it is equally
important to blame the players as well. When a new genre appears, it
tends to get snatched up by a particular demographic, which then
becomes exclusionary and xenophobic. Case in point, I used to see
discussions in messageboards debating over whether Deus Ex was a
first person shooter or an RPG - both groups wanted to claim the
game (it's good) to the point where it wasn't a hybrid. FPS guys
didn't want it to be an RPG because they hated RPGs, and RPG guys
hated FPSs.

Games are all about decision making, and decision making doesn't
quite fall down genre lines. Something like a real time strategy
game can appeal to a great many people for a great many
reasons. Kohan vs Warcraft 3 vs Fallout Tactics vs Commandos. Why is
it that nearly all RTS games look like Warcraft and are judged
against Warcraft? A truly free game industry means that genres must
be open to different types of people. I have a huge problem with the
exclusionary tactics of the game industry (probably because I'm not
a typical gamer and get excluded a lot). The credit here goes as
much to the player as the dev - but I think the solution is simply
for the devs to stop copying each other's homework to open up some
more variety.

> I'm married though, so does my world view differ significantly
> from unmarried, white males? When people who use phraseology such
> as that speak, they sound sexist, racist, and socialist.

I'm a socialist! Oh... you mean in the bad way... ;)

> Either way, it makes my skin crawl to hear someone who's probably
> a young, white unmarried man talk about a "world view" as if he
> can speak for everyone else.

If he said young, unmarried geek, would you feel better? I probably

> I'm surprised Sean wasn't already more aware of just that.  You
> can hardly watch the Discovery channel or pick up a copy of
> Scientific American without seeing information to this effect.  I
> thought everyone was already on-board with these concepts.

If I may take an example into a slightly more inappropriate (though
strangly topical) realm. Men and women are different in the same way
that that the penis is different than the clitoris. They are
essentially the same thing, serve the same function, etc. There is a
greater difference between one man's penis and another than there
are differences between an abstract penis and an abstract
clitoris. Is the penis pierced, circumcised, long, short, tan, pale,
freckly, thick, thin, diseased, etc?  In this case, the concrete
specifics (genetics and environmental) have a bigger effect on how
you feel about your genitals and how much pleasure you get from
their use. If all penises were equal, we wouldn't have male
enhancement pills marketed towards people with low self esteem (much
like we wouldn't have breast implants for the same reasons).

Okay, to take it somewhere entirely vain: I have a genius IQ. We can
argue over whether IQs need to factor in race or upbringing, and
what exactly IQ really measures and what it's worth, but
statistically speaking, my IQ is higher than 98% of the people on
this planet (but you guys are smart, so I'm probably only average
here). My brain operates in a different way than the average
man's. So, tell me, is this more or less important than the
collective differences between male and female brain operation? I am
a man, and yet I am not the average man. With like a billion men on
this planet with hundreds of different genetic structures and
cultures, even the average man isn't the average man.

> Leave the politics and ideology out of the discussion.  Your logic
> starts to wane when you attack the problem from this perspective
> and it just sounds like wishy-washy hippie-talk.

While I won't argue against the wishy-washy hippie-talk, the very
fact that we are discussing what drives human brains means that we
have nothing but politics and ideology to discuss. If a guy says
that homosexuality is genetic and can be cured, what does that mean
to the gay people out there?  That they are broken? That their
lifestyle will die with them because it is somehow wrong?

Unfortunately, we can't characterize people, pretty much ever. Not
definitively. Instead, we must come up with a theorum of how they
work without attacking anything so specific as them being gay,
black, or female. We need something that works for all abstract
people but applies to none. Whatever theory we come up with, no
matter how scientifically accurate, will be dismissed by someone
else because it conflicts with their morals or world view. All we
have is ideology and politics. The question is, can we create
something that is more useful than the whatever we currently have?

> We can keep the discussions theoretical without getting "liberal".

Does this mean we can't talk about putting gun locks in first person
shooters? :)

- Sean Howard
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