I want to write a missed-connection piece for those beautiful RPGs that have passed me on the train or gone unmet at the coffeehouse.
Different kinds of game texts connect with different kinds of audiences. Naturally an audience may tend to prefer and admire the text that connects with them over those that don’t. Can we manage the nuance and understanding that appreciates that games that might miss us, as individuals or an audience, might successfully connect with some other audience?
That is, games that capture an audience other than you or I might not be badly written or unsuccessfully designed or whatever else. Can’t we find ways to parse and understand texts that missed us without disparaging texts and audiences that have found each other?
As I meet more and more gamers, I discover an audience wider than that served by any one text—and audiences that presume the books they connect with are doing it “right” and the others are doing it “badly.” This is precisely as narrow-minded as the perspective of the books that missed their chance to connect with this audience. This is sort of a shame, but it is no big deal. We write from where we stand. We’ll make mistakes. We’ll gather some readers on this try and others with the next. At least we’re here together; does it matter which road we took coming in?
The RPG audience deserves a variety of texts, writing styles, and voices. A necessary consequence of that diversity shall be that not all texts shall connect with all audiences on every try. That is not a value judgment. It just is.
Let us not disparage an RPG just because it was not written in our argot, even if it was written in our language.