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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Curt Schilling to take leave from ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight”

Now if only Rick Sutcliffe would start up a shaky video game company.

Curt Schilling will take a leave of absence from his role as an analyst for ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” as he deals with the legal issues of his company, 38 Studios, according to a tweet posted by ESPN PR representative Mike Soltys.

The tweet, posted Saturday afternoon, read: “We mutually agreed w/CurtSchilling to take a leave as he works thru his business issues. We expect he will return on air later this season.”

The former Red Sox pitcher has been fighting legal battles related to his troubled video gaming company started in 2010—the same year he began work at ESPN.

Schilling was lured to Rhode Island with a $75 million state loan guarantee two years ago, filed for bankruptcy protection June 7, and federal authorities have begun an investigation into the firm.

Repoz Posted: June 17, 2012 at 05:39 PM | 180 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers

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   1. SteveM. Posted: June 17, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4159366)
I would think he couldn't afford to miss a steady paycheck right now.
   2. Tripon Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4159381)
ESPN is probably still paying him.
   3. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4159385)
ESPN is probably still paying him.
Boy, this guy just can't stay away from taking handouts, can he.
   4. Tripon Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4159388)
How exactly do you burn though $75 million in two years?
   5. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4159390)
According to TFA it's more like $250 million. Amazing.
   6. Tripon Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4159392)
$250 milllion? How the heck was the company supposed to make any profit then?
   7. tshipman Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4159393)
$250 milllion? How the heck was the company supposed to make any profit then?


Sure, we lose money on each copy we ship of these games, but we make it up in volume!
   8. caprules Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4159394)
TFA is wrong. 38 Studios was founded in 2006, not 2010. Also, the loan guarantee of $75 million is oft referenced, but rarely explained. $50M of that has been disbursed to the company.

A previous article said that the company was going through $50 million a year at the time it ran out of money. I don't think that's out of line with a studio wanting to put out a AAA MMORPG that they thought would be ready in a year. The problem was the project was started without enough funding to complete it.
   9. JoeHova Posted: June 17, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4159423)
I don't really understand the context of the "AAA" in front of mmorpg that often has come up in these threads. I assume it is meant to be analogous to the highest bond rating but I don't get what it means in terms of video games.
   10. tshipman Posted: June 17, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4159426)
I don't really understand the context of the "AAA" in front of mmorpg that often has come up in these threads. I assume it is meant to be analogous to the highest bond rating but I don't get what it means in terms of video games.


Well, games like Evony or Happy Farm are also MMO's. People use the term AAA MMO to mean a game that you pay a subscription fee to and that is not launched from a browser. This is to differentiate between games that are targeted towards a "gamer" market vs. the mass market.
   11. Dan The Mediocre Posted: June 17, 2012 at 09:46 PM (#4159497)
TFA is wrong. 38 Studios was founded in 2006, not 2010. Also, the loan guarantee of $75 million is oft referenced, but rarely explained. $50M of that has been disbursed to the company.

A previous article said that the company was going through $50 million a year at the time it ran out of money. I don't think that's out of line with a studio wanting to put out a AAA MMORPG that they thought would be ready in a year. The problem was the project was started without enough funding to complete it.


If it were a year away, I don't think there would be much in the way of financing problems. I would think it was a couple years away and hadn't really gone into higher volume testing as of yet.
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2012 at 10:41 PM (#4159593)
.
   13. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4159596)
From wiki:

In July 2010, the Rhode Island Board of Economic Development approved a $75 million guaranteed loan to 38 Studios. 38 Studios promised to bring 450 jobs to the state by the end of 2012. In May 2012, 38 Studios defaulted on its loan from the state of Rhode Island and failed to meet payroll obligations to its employees. 38 Studios and its subsidiary, Big Huge Games, then laid off their staffs[63] with a mass email.[64] Some of the laid-off employees may have second mortgages because the company had not actually sold homes for them as part of a relocation package.[65] Some have accused Schilling of hypocrisy based on his views on "big government" and the studio's relationship with "big government".


A $75 million loan to create only 450 jobs in 2.5 years... doesn't seem like a lot of jobs to me for that money.

But a grown man's obsession with video games is perhaps more curious.

Schilling formed a deep-rooted interest in the board wargame Advanced Squad Leader.

"ASL has become his constant companion on road trips, and every National League city is now his playground for baseball at night and ASL in the day. (All of which has become a bonanza for ASL players of his acquaintance, who are sometimes Curt's guests at stadiums around the country.)"[55]

...Schilling has played EverQuest and EverQuest II and has reviewed two of the game's many expansion packs for PC Gamer magazine. Schilling has played World of Warcraft[57] and became a regular guest on the World of Warcraft podcast The Instance.[58] In 2006 Schilling created Green Monster Games, which Schilling stated was not named after the Fenway left field wall.[59] In early 2007, the company's name changed to 38 Studios.[60]

He claimed that Green Monster Games was _not_ named after Fenway. Tee. Hee.
   14. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 17, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4159635)
This situation (in general - not TFA specifically) does help illustrate why those mediots who bash free agents for taking the highest bid based on the "how much money does one player need, anyway? Why isn't $X million enough?" are such jackasses. The answer, as I always point out, is that several million may be fine if you plan to sit home and watch tv on the couch for the rest of your life, perhaps taking a fishing trip a few times a year. But if you plan to, e.g., start a business, invest, then more money is quite important.
   15. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4159657)
From b-r he made $114 million over his career. It would have been nice if he had invested his own money in this boondoggle (getting loans from private business if needed), rather than the taxpayers'. Not that this should absolve the state of RI from getting into a bad deal (if indeed the fact that this was a bad deal could have been reasonably foreseen in advance).
   16. RJ in TO Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4159684)
It would have been nice if he had invested his own money in this boondoggle (getting loans from private business if needed), rather than the taxpayers'.

At various points, he's claimed to have invested significant amounts of his own money - he's stated $30 million on a couple occasions.
   17. Tripon Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:27 PM (#4159700)
He stated $50 million in another recent article. Personally, I think he's blowing smoke or severely exaggerating to what he put in to gain sympathy.
   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4159702)
I assume he invested some of his own money - even a significant amount. My point (not clearly stated) is that he should have financed this exclusively with private money.
   19. Morty Causa Posted: June 17, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4159707)
Well, he could have used his money to capture Osama Bin Laden. He could have backed a broadway play, made a movie (The Bloody Sock Bears), or learn to play rhythm guitar as distinctively as John Lennon, How to play rhythm guitar like Lennon or, as William Powell said to Jean Harlow in Libeled Lady, when she asked what she was supposed to do while he was chasing another woman on what was supposed to be their wedding night: "Perhaps you could learn to read."
   20. Mayor Blomberg Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:02 AM (#4159710)
several million may be fine if you plan to sit home and watch tv on the couch for the rest of your life, perhaps taking a fishing trip a few times a year. But if you plan to, e.g., start a business, invest, then more money is quite important.

In this case, he'd have been better off with less.
   21. Jay Z Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4159715)
several million may be fine if you plan to sit home and watch tv on the couch for the rest of your life, perhaps taking a fishing trip a few times a year. But if you plan to, e.g., start a business, invest, then more money is quite important.

In this case, he'd have been better off with less.


Gotta agree.

Schilling already won the lottery by making his millions playing baseball. He can do thousands of things that no one else gets to do anyway. Blowing a serious chunk of change on some pipe dream was foolhardy. Why did he need enough money to do that?

Also, why does this leave-taking sound like something Charles Van Doren would do? Maybe Schilling can live out his days teaching at some community college in shame and disgrace. And without tenure! Ha!

several million may be fine if you plan to sit home and watch tv on the couch for the rest of your life, perhaps taking a fishing trip a few times a year. But if you plan to, e.g., start a business, invest, then more money is quite important.

In this case, he'd have been better off with less.
   22. BFFB Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:41 AM (#4159738)
I don't really understand the context of the "AAA" in front of mmorpg that often has come up in these threads. I assume it is meant to be analogous to the highest bond rating but I don't get what it means in terms of video games.


It's shorthand for a game with a large budget compared to similar titles, usually backed by a major publisher and lots of marketing dollars with a very high standard for graphical and audio fidelity, and which are expected to be big sellers and generate a large ROI; E.g. Call of Duty, Battlefield 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic. In contrast to games with smaller development and marketing budgets or Indie games.

A non-video game comparison would be calling Transformers a "AAA Movie" in comparison to, say, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
   23. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 07:13 AM (#4159741)
A non-video game comparison would be calling Transformers a "AAA Movie" in comparison to, say, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


Yeah, it's essentially a 'blockbuster' type of tag. Non-AAA games can out-sell AAA games, but usually don't, and when they do it's often because of an imaginative gimmick or word of mouth rather than via advertising. (E.g. 'Minecraft' has sold 2m+ on Xbox alone, but isn't an "AAA game").

It is possible to make money from a subscription-based non-AAA Massively Multiplayer game, though. Eve Online is probably the best example; there are others. The other part of the distinction might be that AAA games 'launch big', whereas non-AAA games tend to have a lot more freedom to build in increments, usually by offering one or two compelling mechanics or concepts, and then bolting on the rest afterwards. 38Studios might have been better off shooting for an Eve-like experience; smaller numbers of subscribers, but fiercely loyal to the game 'world', and then you build on that over a period of years.

I tend to rattle on about Eve in these threads just because it's one of the few I've actually played, and because I find the core concept so compelling, but it's not like it's that hard to build a successful non-AAA MMO if you have the money and the idea. It feels to me like 38Studios didn't really have an idea, they had a fantasy license, and decided that plus some carefully chosen existing mechanics was enough.

But a grown man's obsession with video games is perhaps more curious.


Not really.
   24. thok Posted: June 18, 2012 at 07:56 AM (#4159749)
This situation (in general - not TFA specifically) does help illustrate why those mediots who bash free agents for taking the highest bid based on the "how much money does one player need, anyway? Why isn't $X million enough?" are such jackasses. The answer, as I always point out, is that several million may be fine if you plan to sit home and watch tv on the couch for the rest of your life, perhaps taking a fishing trip a few times a year. But if you plan to, e.g., start a business, invest, then more money is quite important.


Not really. Given the amount of money floating around, an extra 3-4 million a year is literally a drop in the bucket. Even over a 20 year career, that's only 60-80 million, and an athlete holding out/going for the big contract is simultaneously hurting his ability to make money via advertisements and connections made off of his reputation (and an athlete will spend more of his life earning money from endorsements and opportunities then from free agent contracts.)

For Schilling in particular, the amount of money he made from free agent contracts in his career would have had little to do with the success or failure of his company; when it came to getting investors, arguably the most valuable asset Schilling had was a bloody sock.
   25. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:35 AM (#4159762)
in the late 90's startups were getting millions from venture capitalists and burning through the cash like nothing. and in many of those cases not even generating like a product/service before closing down. be it 75 or 250 million neither would be a surprise save that it being the late aughts means that RI was well behind the curve
   26. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4159766)
days teaching at some community college in shame and disgrace

There are thousands of hard working adjuncts working at community colleges and four year colleges in this country. I don't think they have anything to be ashamed of.
   27. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4159786)
There are thousands of hard working adjuncts working at community colleges and four year colleges in this country. I don't think they have anything to be ashamed of.


"I'm a teacher here. No, wait, that's even worse than the truth. I'm a student here."
   28. The Good Face Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4159792)
I tend to rattle on about Eve in these threads just because it's one of the few I've actually played, and because I find the core concept so compelling, but it's not like it's that hard to build a successful non-AAA MMO if you have the money and the idea. It feels to me like 38Studios didn't really have an idea, they had a fantasy license, and decided that plus some carefully chosen existing mechanics was enough.


I'm not so sure that's true, unless you're referring to FTP MMOs, like World of Tanks, LOTR Online, etc. Even the upcoming Guild Wars 2, which has tremendous buzz and grassroots support, won't have a monthly fee. I think at this point, EVE Online is the only non-AAA MMO that's successful getting a monthly subscription fee out of its players, and EVE is a crazy outlier in virtually every way. Brilliant game though, and one I have very fond memories of.
   29. UCCF Posted: June 18, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4159794)
"I'm a teacher here. No, wait, that's even worse than the truth. I'm a student here."

+1 for the Community reference. You should all be watching.
   30. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4159796)
I'm not so sure that's true, unless you're referring to FTP MMOs, like World of Tanks, LOTR Online, etc. Even the upcoming Guild Wars 2, which has tremendous buzz and grassroots support, won't have a monthly fee.


I guess I'm making an inherent mental divide between the 'casual' FTP MMOs, like the Mafia Wars of this world, and the 'core' FTP MMOs, which seem to largely be games that once were subscription-based, and are finding that FTP is a more workable strategy. LOTR, Star Trek, and the like would fit into the latter category, but because they require dedicated gaming equipment - you can't play them in a browser; you need a video-card - I think they're targeted at a very different audience, and the outlay to get started is much higher. In the middle, I suppose, are games like Battlefield Heroes. Tried it once; lag killed it for me.

So I guess I see 3 tiers of MMOs - AAA, which is basically World of Warcraft and games that wish they were World of Warcraft; niche MMOs, which are sub-AAA MMOs that are nevertheless targeted at 'gamers', and which you'd need to download, install, patch, and run on a gaming-capable box, and 'casual' MMOs, which basically need a browser, an Internet connection, and patience.

Blizzard had over a decade of experience as a development house and as a brand before making WoW; I think 38Studio should have been firmly targeting the second tier. While many of the second tier started out as hopeful challengers to WoW, I don't see any new game ever arriving with that kind of impact again. WoW's fanbase took years to build. So far SW:Galaxies, LOTR, Warhammer, and others have taken shots at WoW and failed/retreated to FTP; games like Planetside and World of Tanks seem to be healthier goals for a start-up.
   31. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4159800)
But a grown man's obsession with video games is perhaps more curious.


Now, now. I have it on good authority from this site that immersion in the silly things is essential to understanding the zeitgeist.

Or something.
   32. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4159805)
But a grown man's obsession with video games is perhaps more curious.

Most studies have the average age of a video gamer currently as being in the 30s somewhere. The ESA study has the average age as 37, with 29% older than 50.

Video games being for kids was simply a temporary demographic curiosity, stemming from how video games were originally marketed in the 70s and the original players not having aged yet. Now, it's no stranger than being obsessed with TV, which can happen at any age.
   33. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4159812)
Of course, it's inherently superior for grown men to spend hundreds or thousands of hours passively enjoying the games other people play on their TV screen, such as baseball, than it is for grown men to spend hundreds or thousands of hours actively enjoying the games they themselves play on their computer screen. That's just common sense.
   34. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4159814)
it's no stranger than being obsessed with TV,


"Strange" -- maybe not. "Not indicative of making good choices of things to be obsessed with" -- maybe so. (I harbor all sorts of obsessions myself, but I don't think I'm so insecure about them that I have to pretend that they're somehow essential to being in touch with the deeper meaning of life in the world around me.)
   35. The Good Face Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4159827)
Blizzard had over a decade of experience as a development house and as a brand before making WoW; I think 38Studio should have been firmly targeting the second tier. While many of the second tier started out as hopeful challengers to WoW, I don't see any new game ever arriving with that kind of impact again. WoW's fanbase took years to build. So far SW:Galaxies, LOTR, Warhammer, and others have taken shots at WoW and failed/retreated to FTP; games like Planetside and World of Tanks seem to be healthier goals for a start-up.


Yeah, I absolutely agree with this. Blizzard's brand and and the market position at the time WoW came out put them in a unique situation, and all those companies that thought they could replicate that success by creating a slightly different version of online Swords & Wizard Hats were pretty much doomed to failure.

I haven't really paid much attention to World of Tanks financials, but I like what they did there. They chose a niche that wasn't filled (historical tanks from different eras fighting each other!), filled it competently with a stable game, and didn't succumb to design drift or overly grandiose ambitions.
   36. tshipman Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4159835)
"Strange" -- maybe not. "Not indicative of making good choices of things to be obsessed with" -- maybe so.


And yet you could probably describe in detail the difference in Superman's representation across the ages. Why are your choices more valid?

Blizzard had over a decade of experience as a development house and as a brand before making WoW; I think 38Studio should have been firmly targeting the second tier. While many of the second tier started out as hopeful challengers to WoW, I don't see any new game ever arriving with that kind of impact again. WoW's fanbase took years to build. So far SW:Galaxies, LOTR, Warhammer, and others have taken shots at WoW and failed/retreated to FTP; games like Planetside and World of Tanks seem to be healthier goals for a start-up.


Basically WoW is like the big three TV studios in 1970. They've been bleeding subscribers, though. I don't think that the subscription based game model works at all anymore. WoW is only in business due to legacy customers.
   37. bachslunch Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4159838)
#14: Agreed with this. My guess is also that more money lets you:

-take better care of family members, such as paying off mortgages for parents and uncles and aunts, funding college for nieces and nephews and such, and setting up trust funds for your kids.

-do charitably funded things, such as start a foundation to help a favorite cause (fight cancer, help the deaf, etc.) or fund a gymnasium or other building for your high school or college alma mater. Giving back to the community, that sort of thing.

And the more money you have, the more generous you can be.
   38. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4159839)
There are thousands of hard working adjuncts working at community colleges and four year colleges in this country. I don't think they have anything to be ashamed of.
They don't. Charles Van Doren on the other hand...
   39. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4159840)
Most studies have the average age of a video gamer currently as being in the 30s somewhere. The ESA study has the average age as 37, with 29% older than 50.

Video games being for kids was simply a temporary demographic curiosity, stemming from how video games were originally marketed in the 70s and the original players not having aged yet. Now, it's no stranger than being obsessed with TV, which can happen at any age.


Well, I did say "obsession," which I see you've picked up on. But yes, the structural factors you point out are valid. And plenty of people have plenty of obsessions. Such as spending hours a week on BTF :-)

I don't really play video games anymore but I can see the fun in something like Tetris or Madden or Halo or whatever. When I sit down to play once in a blue moon I enjoy them. And I also like DMB. I suppose like anything, though, if you do something in more than moderation you might have a bit of a problem.
   40. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4159846)
And yet you could probably describe in detail the difference in Superman's representation across the ages. Why are your choices more valid?


They're not. That's, y'know, sort of my point in saying that

I harbor all sorts of obsessions myself, but I don't think I'm so insecure about them that I have to pretend that they're somehow essential to being in touch with the deeper meaning of life in the world around me.


I'm sure I could drag out some self-styled expert or other to say precisely the opposite, as was done during an OMG VIDEO GAMES ARE THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE AS WE KNOW IT IN THE 21ST CENTURY discussion a few weeks ago, but that would be sort of sad, IMHO, not to mention meaningless.


   41. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4159863)
This situation (in general - not TFA specifically) does help illustrate why those mediots who bash free agents for taking the highest bid based on the "how much money does one player need, anyway? Why isn't $X million enough?" are such jackasses. The answer, as I always point out, is that several million may be fine if you plan to sit home and watch tv on the couch for the rest of your life, perhaps taking a fishing trip a few times a year. But if you plan to, e.g., start a business, invest, then more money is quite important.

That or if he'd been paid a sane salary he wouldn't have got the stupid idea in his head that he could be a successful video game producer.
   42. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4159868)
That or if he'd been paid a sane salary he wouldn't have got the stupid idea in his head that he could be a successful video game producer.


The more money someone has, the bigger the toys they have, and the greater the chance they'll get into trouble they otherwise wouldn't have. EG Tiger Woods having enough money to finance more women than Wilt Chamberlain could handle, or John Denver building a kit plane and then going up in it before coming down.
   43. BFFB Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4159877)
So I guess I see 3 tiers of MMOs - AAA, which is basically World of Warcraft and games that wish they were World of Warcraft; niche MMOs, which are sub-AAA MMOs that are nevertheless targeted at 'gamers', and which you'd need to download, install, patch, and run on a gaming-capable box, and 'casual' MMOs, which basically need a browser, an Internet connection, and patience.


Subscription based models are dying. I would be pretty surprised for any new MMO under development to be anything but FTP, there is simply more money to be had with the latter; E.g. Planetside 2 is very much a AAA MMO and it will be FTP and there is already talk of TOR going FTP.
   44. Lassus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4159898)
Subscription based models are dying.

Are you saying REAMDE is going to seem dated eventually?
   45. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4159902)
Subscription based models are dying. I would be pretty surprised for any new MMO under development to be anything but FTP, there is simply more money to be had with the latter; E.g. Planetside 2 is very much a AAA MMO and it will be FTP and there is already talk of TOR going FTP.


Agree with your overall point; I think 'The Secret World' (fascinating, loony-sounding game) is going to be subscription-based, or at least partly, but there's some suspicion about whether that'll last long. SW:TOR is probably the bellwether here; if Bioware can't make an AAA-scale subscription-based model work despite a $120m+ budget and one of the all-time great licenses, then what hope the rest of them?

Hey, remember when Hellgate: London was going to be the next World of Warcraft? . . . yeah.
   46. SouthSideRyan Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4159905)
[29]Unfortunately nobody will be watching next season in the death sentence that is a Friday night slot after Whitney I just hope they let them air their entire 13 episode run before canning it.
   47. zonk Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4159915)

"Strange" -- maybe not. "Not indicative of making good choices of things to be obsessed with" -- maybe so. (I harbor all sorts of obsessions myself, but I don't think I'm so insecure about them that I have to pretend that they're somehow essential to being in touch with the deeper meaning of life in the world around me.)


How does being a gamer necessarily require one believe it to be some key to getting in touch with the deeper meaning of life?

MMOs aren't my cup of tea, but I'd consider myself a very hardcore 'gamer', albeit more with the niche strategy/historical sim titles and text-based sports sims. I would imagine I spend a good 10 hours a week - sometimes more - gaming.

I don't draw any deeper meaning or otherwise make more of this hobby than it is, but I will say that while I don't think regularly whuppin' the AI in OOTP makes me fit to be a GM, I have probably learned more about advanced metrics playing OOTP than I have at most sites. What's more -- I think it would probably be Civ4 more than my job that made me exceedingly proficient not just in XML, but schema architecture, etc. I've also brushed up on a fair bit of scripting logic mucking about with various Paradox titles (EU/HOI/etc) - not that it's directly portable, but the pure if/then/while/trigger logic has a lot of theoretical portability and I can think of dozens of times I've been working with developers on new projects at work, and find myself thinking in terms (to myself) of "if France fortifies X, trigger build Y, while..." I'm not saying doing such things necessarily taught me much, just I can firsthand say that it's been good practice.
   48. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4159925)
Double post. The end is nigh.
   49. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4159927)
How does being a gamer necessarily require one believe it to be some key to getting in touch with the deeper meaning of life?


That's precisely what was being alleged in the aforementioned thread. I thought it was piffle, & obviously I still do, but clearly one or more of your brethren have taken gaming on as some sort of reason for existing, or something. Which IMHO is sort of creepy.

If I could remember the navel-gazing essayist (or book author?) that said True Believer(s) cited to corroborate this ... interesting ... world-view, I'd go searching for the thread, but offhand I remember no particulars from the back-&-forth.
   50. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4159935)
How does being a gamer necessarily require one believe it to be some key to getting in touch with the deeper meaning of life?


It's a comical overreaction to a point made by someone else (I want to say CrosbyBird, but IMBW) on an earlier thread, suggesting that since videogames are probably the definitive new form of entertainment/pastime invented by this generation, to not partake of them at all was meaning that one was missing out on something that makes the last couple of decades unique.

I think the point made was correct, though possibly overstated. I read an excellent piece a while back about how the response to the staggering volume and variety of entertainment available to us today can be one of two things:

a) "(That entire genre of entertainment) sucks!" (Hip-hop, videogaming, country music, fantasy literature, are some of the oft-cited examples). The sub-text being a defensive one; to re-assure oneself that nothing is being missed by ignoring or failing to understand an entire category of entertainment, by being overtly dismissive and proud of one's ignorance. Useful hints: "You mean adults enjoy that stuff?" "(That genre) promotes violence, promiscuity, and drug-taking!" "Oh, those silly things."

b) "I don't know much about (that category). Maybe I'll get to it one day." The sub-text being an open one; that there will never be enough time in anyone's life to do much more than sample the incredible variety of what's available, so the key is to be open to new stuff, and to be delighted when you're surprised by something you previously didn't know could impress you.

I thought I had bookmarked the article somewhere, but I can't find it. I think it was on Salon.
   51. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4159937)
Unfortunately nobody will be watching next season in the death sentence that is a Friday night slot after Whitney I just hope they let them air their entire 13 episode run before canning it.
I'm not as despondent about Community's time-slot, actually.

Networks know full well that you can't draw big ratings on Friday night. Community has failed to draw more than a small audience in a much better time slot. This audience is extremely devoted, however, and NBC is betting that they'll take a larger chunk of their audience than usual to Friday night. That would be more than enough to save the show. Six seasons and a movie!

My much larger concern is the loss of Dan Harmon. He's clearly in the range of dangerously crazy, but the tone and style of the show were clearly his work, and it's going to be a different show without him. I love the cast and the current writing team, but it won't be the same. Hopefully it can be differently great.
   52. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4159939)
I'm sure I could drag out some self-styled expert or other to say precisely the opposite, as was done during an OMG VIDEO GAMES ARE THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE AS WE KNOW IT IN THE 21ST CENTURY discussion a few weeks ago,


Seriously? Sounds like quite a discussion.
   53. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4159940)
My much larger concern is the loss of Dan Harmon. He's clearly in the range of dangerously crazy, but the tone and style of the show were clearly his work, and it's going to be a different show without him. I love the cast and the current writing team, but it won't be the same. Hopefully it can be differently great.


As long as it doesn't radically de-whimsify itself, I'll be watching.
   54. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4159941)
Ben Broussard Ramjet is correct -- it was CrosbyBird. The thread is this one; the subject comes up a couple of pages from the end.

Apparently, someone named Tom Bissell is the greatest thinker of our time, I think because the games & writs about it.

(Obviously, I'm overstating. Hey, this is BTF!)

   55. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4159943)

Seriously? Sounds like quite a discussion.


The discussion actually revolved around whether knowing some basic info about video games was necessary for cultural literacy in the 21st century.
   56. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4159944)
The discussion actually revolved around whether knowing some basic info about video games was necessary for cultural literacy in the 21st century.


In so many words. Whereas my position is that someone (a lot of someones, actually; certainly, CrosbyBird is not alone in this instance) is driven by some sort of compulsion to intellectualize a particular interest of his. Which is fine; in my case, I could do it with zombie movies (I know of more than one academic tome that does just that) & proclaim that anyone who hasn't watched at least 10/20/50/250/whatever (I'm at around 260, I suppose, after finishing the Chilean Descendents this morning before work) zombie movies doesn't really grasp modern life, but why in the name of god would I want to?

In short, going back to the above-cited thread, I find this a bit, shall we say, presumptuous --

Video games are part of our culture, and they shape our behavior in very different ways than any other medium ever has before. Most of us have never lived in a society without mainstream acceptance of music, or film, or television; we can't even imagine what culture would feel like without these things. I don't see how anyone over 25 isn't at least marginally interested in the evolution of this art form within their lifetime, if for no other reason than how much and quickly it has changed (and continues to change).


We also learned later that anyone who doesn't care about video games doesn't understand America.

(Similarly, I'm pretty sure that anyone who doesn't care about the Legion of Super-Heroes doesn't understand America, but I'm willing to concede that that's just me.)
   57. The District Attorney Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4159949)
I don't know whether playing video games would help you become someone whom your fellow human beings might want to interact with, but you should certainly try something.
   58. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4159955)
I interact with quite as many people as I care to, but thanks.

And as it happens, the biggest videogaming geek I happen to (vaguely) know is someone whom no one in their right mind in my former newsroom has even the slightest interest in interacting with, so there's that.

Facebook tells me he's at some sort of con in Boston, or was this weekend. I'm sort of scared to see what kind it is, but I can only hope that the hotel involved was burned down with everyone inside, though the lack of headlines about such an occurrence would seem to indicate otherwise.
   59. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4159956)
The discussion actually revolved around whether knowing some basic info about video games was necessary for cultural literacy in the 21st century.

Do Civ I, Civ II, and NHL 95 on Sega Genesis count?
   60. Randy Jones Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4159969)
[56] That's a false equivalency though. The correct comparison is video games to all movies(not just a single genre).
   61. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4159974)
In so many words. Whereas my position is that someone (a lot of someones, actually; certainly, CrosbyBird is not alone in this instance) is driven by some sort of compulsion to intellectualize a particular interest of his. Which is fine; in my case, I could do it with zombie movies


Hmm. I can do this with Steven Seagal movies, Columbo, Frasier, and Hawaii Five-0!

I knew there was some high, intellectual reason why I watch these things.
   62. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4159975)
I think a working knowledge of famous video games (like books, movies, TV, plays, paintings, and (ugh) web memes) definitely helps with understanding culture in the 21st century.

This is especially important with the current generation of people who were raised with video games being a large part of their childhood (arcades, home systems, internet, hand-held).
   63. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4159978)
[56] That's a false equivalency though. The correct comparison is video games to all movies(not just a single genre).


True. For Legion of Super-Heroes, substitute comics in general.

   64. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4159981)
I think a working knowledge of famous video games (like books, movies, TV, plays, paintings, and (ugh) web memes) definitely helps with understanding culture in the 21st century.


Probably. Do you happen to have a working knowledge of famous books, movies, TV, plays, painting & web memes? I'm definitely deficient when it comes to plays, paintings & to a pretty large extent web memes, & for that matter TV in general from 2000-on, & especially 2005-on, during which time I haven't had cable.

I suspect I'm not the only one; I could, of course, be wrong, since I apparently have very little handle on present-day reality anyway.

   65. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4159984)
Growing up I played a lot of Intellivision (auto racing, football, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, etc.), Nintendo (Super Mario Bros., RBI2 Baseball, Super Tecmo Bowl, etc.), and computer games (arcade form hockey, baseball, lode runner, etc.).

I distinctly remember telling myself at the time (in high school) that I would never grow out of these things, and would continue to play video games as an adult.

Almost immediately after we got a Sega game system, right before I went to college, I stopped playing video games. (EDIT: Actually, if Super Mario Bros. was Sega, then I did play that game for a little while thereafter.)

The only thing I've played since more than sporadically is DMB for a couple years when I was in Gaelan's league.

It's quite possible I'm missing out on something I'd enjoy. But it's not like I wasn't exposed to video games growing up, and it's not like I had planned to stop one day. It just turned out that I basically stopped one day.
   66. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4159990)
And apparently quite a few others haven't stopped. Which is fine; I just get irritated by the position that somehow some sort of Deep Intellectual Meaning &/or Sociologically Significant Paradigm is involved.
   67. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4159993)
The basic get-off-my-lawn problem I have with the new gaming systems these days (and someone bought me an X-Box recently as a gift but after experimenting initially with it I never use it) is that the sports-types games that I like are now very complex, with 12 different buttons or combinations, taking into account things like wind currents and the like for football, etc. It's too tireseome to learn. And I liked the old views, where it was basically left to right on a screen (such as for football) because the processors were primitive and the graphics cards and memory couldn't handle anything else. Now with all these different view angles and different ways of kicking the ball and playing -- it's too much for my tastes.
   68. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4160004)
Hmm. I can do this with Steven Seagal movies, Columbo, Frasier, and Hawaii Five-0!


I was going to post a strident, boring defense of adults playing video games. But instead, I shall encourage you to read the book Seagalogy, a surprisingly definitive analysis of the films of Steven Seagal. The book's thesis is that the traditional auteur theory (where the author of the film is the director) doesn't always hold, and that films all starring the same guy can be considered to have themes in common.

It also has a chapter about the energy drink he sold.
   69. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4160005)
And apparently quite a few others haven't stopped. Which is fine; I just get irritated by the position that somehow some sort of Deep Intellectual Meaning &/or Sociologically Significant Paradigm is involved.


Well, if I wanted to mis-represent your position as thoroughly as you've misrepresented others, I could argue, "I get irritated by the idea that the only way to enjoy videogames is to drool 'hurr look at de pretty colors derp'". But it is, you know, possible to think about these things a little, even if you personally choose not to; a choice which I think most people are A-OK with.
   70. dave h Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4160011)
Ray in #67, you'd like a Wii then (and perhaps a Kinect though I haven't tried it). Their games are generally pretty intuitive, since the natural motions are (somewhat) mimicked by moving the controller. The best game for you, unless you'd only like sports, is Super Mario Bros Wii, which is a side-scroller like you want, and has about as simple commands as the original. None of the games I play involve any sort of combos, really.
   71. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4160013)
How are video games more relevant to understanding or being literate in culture than board games -- Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, etc. -- were in the heyday of Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers? They're just a pastime or, at most, a hobby.
   72. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4160020)
How are video games more relevant to understanding or being literate in culture than board games -- Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, etc. -- were in the heyday of Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers? They're just a pastime or, at most, a hobby.


Well, that's a pretty high bar to clear, isn't it? Is there anyone who doesn't know what Monopoly or Scrabble is?

But answering your question, video games now (as an entire genre, not specific games) are a much bigger deal, both by money and by how much time people in the culture spend doing and thinking about them. I think you have to at least know something about them, even if you don't play them.

   73. puck Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4160022)
I would be pretty surprised for any new MMO under development to be anything but FTP


Ok, what's this mean, "Free to play" and not \"#### the Police" (I guess either could apply in some cases) or "File transfer protocol"?
   74. Hack Wilson Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4160029)
Growing up we would go to the Museum of Science and Industry and play tic tac toe against a computer which was about as big as a classroom. IT WAS AMAZING!!!
   75. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4160034)
I predict that within 100 years computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings in Europe will own them.
   76. tshipman Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4160035)
Ok, what's this mean, "Free to play" and not \"#### the Police" (I guess either could apply in some cases) or "File transfer protocol"?


Free to play.

How are video games more relevant to understanding or being literate in culture than board games -- Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, etc. -- were in the heyday of Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers? They're just a pastime or, at most, a hobby.


At a certain point in our history, Bridge was necessary to understand a large part of culture. I'm not really certain how wide-spread Monopoly is, but a game franchise like Call of Duty is at least as relevant as knowing who Michael Bay is and what kind of movies he makes.
   77. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4160038)

Well, that's a pretty high bar to clear, isn't it? Is there anyone who doesn't know what Monopoly or Scrabble is?


I'd bet money (not much of it, mind; the pay check that just went in the bank was mostly devoted to the mortgage) I could come up with dozens of kids from the junior high school behind my house who wouldn't know Monopoly from a hole in the ground. Probably about half of them wouldn't get a Scrabble reference, either.
   78. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4160046)
But answering your question, video games now (as an entire genre, not specific games) are a much bigger deal, both by money and by how much time people in the culture spend doing and thinking about them. I think you have to at least know something about them, even if you don't play them.

By 1974, Wikipedia tells us, Monopoly alone had sold 80 million games to a smaller market. I guess it would be tough to measure the time spent "thinking about" Monopoly and other board games, but there were Monopoly championship tournaments played regularly. There wasn't the internet back then to support the relentless navel-gazing that goes on about our pastimes now, but I'm not sure that is the applicable metric.
   79. zenbitz Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4160048)
Schilling formed a deep-rooted interest in the board wargame Advanced Squad Leader.


Arm chair psychology time! So, I think ASL is actually the key to the whole 38 studios debacle.

ASL is a ridiculous game. One of my side hobbies is little hex-and-chit games like this. I play some of the most detailed, complicated, long running, biggest footprint games there are. I have played ASL. It's not my cup of tea. The rule book is roughly 300 pages and is one of the very few that come in a 3-ring binder so you can incorporate changes, updates, errata etc. (I suspect this is a legacy of the game being pre-internet... nowadays these games have so-called "Living Rules" in a PDF file that's updated every so often).

ASL is legendarily complicated. Not that hard to play... but dozens and dozens of special cases for special terrain types, weapons, units, etc. On the plus side you can play a typical scenario in a couple hours, not like the monster strategic or "grand tactical" games that I prefer.

ASL players are a niche within a niche (hex and chit wargamers) within a niche (boardgamers), and many of them do not play "other" wargames at all.

Curt Schilling SAVED ASL. It was owned by Avalon Hill which went under and was bought (well, really just the titles) by Hasbro. Schilling bought the rights to ASL etc. from Hasbro and formed Multi-man publishing. MMP Also makes some of the games *I* like (he bought "The Gamers" and publishes other games I like like "The Devil's Caudron"), and for this reason I will always have a soft spot for Schilling.

So enough background, on the the psychology: Wargamers, and ASL players in particular THINK THEIR GAME IS THE BEST THING EVER and that EVERYONE should play it. This is precisely the wrong attitude to develop a MMO or really any AA+ videogame title (or movie for that matter). You need pablum and you need eyeballs and you need to drop all that fancy nonsense that only your geek friends care about.

To put it in perspective - a niche/niche game like "The Devil's Cauldron" doesn't get created and printed and sold. That type of market collapsed in the 90s. What instead happens is that it gets concieved, developed and play tested... and then PUT UP for pre-order. If MMP (or whomever, there are 3-4 war game companies with a similar model) gets 500 or 750 or 1000 "promises" (typically whatever they determine they need to break even), they print 2-3X that and sell the game. (you don't get charged unless the game goes to the printer).

That is the kind of market that exists for ASL. Something like 1-10% of that for the most detailed, obscure and wonky no-graphics baseball sim.

I think that ASL-blindness contributed to the failure of 38studios.
   80. zenbitz Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4160054)
How are video games more relevant to understanding or being literate in culture than board games -- Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, etc. -- were in the heyday of Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers? They're just a pastime or, at most, a hobby.


It's not in copies sold. It's the number of person hours spend playing them. There are grown men (and women) who play video games 20+ hours/week. No one in the history of anything ever played 20 hours of monopoly/week for a year.

The proper comparison is to TV.
   81. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4160058)
It was owned by Avalon Hill which went under and was bought (well, really just the titles) by Hasbro.


Right now, Avalon Hill is a sub-brand of Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro. Avalon Hill's current existence is a handful of games led by several versions of Axis & Allies. I'm not sure, but I think A&A and Acquire are the only titles that connect current Avalon Hill with the one that existed before Hasbro acquired them.
   82. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4160060)

It's not in copies sold. It's the number of person hours spend playing them. There are grown men (and women) who play video games 20+ hours/week. No one in the history of anything ever played 20 hours of monopoly/week for a year.


Monopoly was the "U.S. parlor craze of 1936," according to the February 1, 1937 edition of Time magazine.

The salient cultural fact that you noted is the amount of time adults are playing the game, not the games they're playing. The medium is the message.
   83. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4160064)
There are grown men (and women) who play video games 20+ hours/week. No one with even a pretense of having a life in the history of anything ever played 20 hours of anything/week for a year.


Or so it occurs to me.
   84. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4160068)
By 1974, Wikipedia tells us, Monopoly alone had sold 80 million games to a smaller market.


Yeah, but "Monopoly alone" was the biggest seller. There's going to be a pretty big dropoff after the biggest two or three board games. According to this page, there have been 292 million video games sold so far this year. (That's the software chart on the right side of the page)

(EDIT: Also, I am now burning with the desire to know what the parlor crazes were in other years. When did charades have its biggest year?)
   85. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4160074)
The parlor craze of 1893 was murder. Herman W. Mudgett, represent!

(Probably 1892 as well, depending on how much weight we want to assign Lizzie Borden's pursuits early that August.)
   86. tshipman Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4160081)
There are grown men (and women) who play video games 20+ hours/week. No one with even a pretense of having a life in the history of anything ever played 20 hours of anything/week for a year.


Or so it occurs to me.


This is really stupid. There are all kind of activities that people spend more than 20 hours a week at. And again, the guy who is obsessively knowledgeable about comic books is criticizing other people for not having a life. There are very few people in the US who don't spend 20 hours a week on some kind of hobby (as long as you describe parenting as a hobby).
   87. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4160082)
I think one of the Borden murders was in an actual parlor! And I refuse to look it up to see if I'm right.
   88. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4160089)
This is really stupid. There are all kind of activities that people spend more than 20 hours a week at.


Completely agreed. I'm pretty sure we're talking about gaming, though, as opposed to a hobby per se. (If one considers reading a hobby, I almost certainly average more than 20 hours a week, & I'm probably in the 2-hour-a-week ballpark when it comes to watching DVDs, too, except on those *knock wood* infrequent occasions when I'm really ill or horribly depressed. I'm sure plenty of people average that watching TV programming, too.)

I don't have a life & don't pretend to have one, but if I spent 20+ hours every single week cataloguing or indexing my comics, I'd be a pretty sad case, it seems to me.
   89. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4160096)
I think one of the Borden murders was in an actual parlor! And I refuse to look it up to see if I'm right.


Because you knew that I would feel compelled to do it for you, you dastardly villain.

Anyway -- yes; Mr. Borden was axed while lying down in the parlor. His wife, Lizzie's stepmother, met her maker in an upstairs bedroom.
   90. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4160099)
Because you knew that I would feel compelled to do it for you, you dastardly villain.

Anyway -- yes; Mr. Borden was axed while lying down in the parlor. His wife, Lizzie's stepmother, met her maker in an upstairs bedroom.


I win!
   91. Biscuit_pants Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4160108)
There are very few people in the US who don't spend 20 hours a week on some kind of hobby (as long as you describe parenting as a hobby).
No one in their right mind would describe parenting as a hobby, it is a responsibility not a hobby. If you neglect your gaming character or forget to pick up the latest comic book for a week you do not spend time in jail.
   92. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4160118)
If you neglect your gaming character or forget to pick up the latest comic book for a week you do not spend time in jail.


No, but you should have your bags & boards taken away.
   93. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4160121)
No one with even a pretense of having a life in the history of anything ever played 20 hours of anything/week for a year.


That this could be posted on an internet baseball fan site is the height of irony.
   94. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4160124)
An internet baseball fan site is a game? I knew the fantasy baseball league I'm in is; I had no idea BTF is, too.

Where are the standings?
   95. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4160126)
Where are the standings?


I direct you to post 90, where I clearly stated that I won. The next game starts in five minutes. Good luck!
   96. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4160127)
I'm pretty sure we're talking about gaming, though, as opposed to a hobby per se.
I don't have a life & don't pretend to have one, but if I spent 20+ hours every single week cataloguing or indexing my comics, I'd be a pretty sad case, it seems to me.

Here's the interesting part that those who deride gaming as some solitary activity; more often than not, it's a social experience.

Massively multiplayer online games often involve large amounts of social interaction (via voice communication).
First person shooters often involve social interaction.
Almost every major game has some sort of multiplayer component, including "co-operative".
Diablo 3 (which sold over 6 million copies in a week) has co-op mode, and it's a blast to share the experience with friends.

Then you throw in these huge conferences where gamers get together (QuakeWorld, BlizzCon, PAX), and it's rare to find a gamer who doesn't have a social experience through gaming.

   97. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4160131)
Then you throw in these huge conferences where gamers get together (QuakeWorld, BlizzCon, PAX), and it's rare to find a gamer who doesn't have a social experience through gaming.


Aha! Light is shed on my earlier post --

And as it happens, the biggest videogaming geek I happen to (vaguely) know is someone whom no one in their right mind in my former newsroom has even the slightest interest in interacting with, so there's that.

Facebook tells me he's at some sort of con in Boston, or was this weekend. I'm sort of scared to see what kind it is, but I can only hope that the hotel involved was burned down with everyone inside, though the lack of headlines about such an occurrence would seem to indicate otherwise.


Of course, gaming might not have been the focus of this activity at all. He's also big into making "fanvids" (sp?). Just an absolutely useless excuse for a human being; the fact that he's produced a child makes me want to kill.
   98. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4160135)
There are all kind of activities that people spend more than 20 hours a week at.

Not that many once marriage, kids and work become prominent parts of your life. Seems like a lot of folks here are into video games, comic books, music and even professional wrestling (It's fixed, you know!). I'm not sure how you do all that and still have enough time for baseball, but to each his own.
   99. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4160137)
No one in their right mind would describe parenting as a hobby, it is a responsibility not a hobby


For the other side of the argument I point you to the Lohans, the Kardashians, and the Spears.

And to whoever is responsible for the kids of Jersey Shore.
   100. Fanshawe Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4160138)
Completely agreed. I'm pretty sure we're talking about gaming, though, as opposed to a hobby per se.


An internet baseball fan site is a game? I knew the fantasy baseball league I'm in is; I had no idea BTF is, too.


How much position stands on the fact that these are called "games"? Because that's not a very strong foundation. Most modern games have narrative and characters and plot. To be sure, they often have bad narrative or bad characters or bad plot, but so do many movies, television shows, and books. Do you really think that all or most video games are like Monopoly, or even like Space Invaders or Pac Man?
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