... now with 35% more arrogance!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Points

I generally don't talk about D&D 4th edition. It's not that I hate it, but that I don't find anything about it I like, so I just don't care about it. Let the people who love it, love it.

But there's something I've noticed in a couple threads about D&D 4e that I think leads to a conclusion generally applicable to much more than just "edition wars". Let's start with an example thread on RPGNet right now asking "haters" to name something they like about 4e. I've seen such threads before, and I've read through the things people found to like about a game they generally don't like -- and none of it sounds good to me. Similarly, in threads by 4e fans "selling" the game to non-fans, the things they list as reasons why 4e is great don't sound very good to me.

Which isn't a comment on any objective value 4e may have. I'm sure there's at least one "LBB hater" who could say the same things after reading posts about the greatness that is 0e. And other editions, other games, and even media that have nothing to do with gaming are going to have similar detractors, people who just aren't pleased with that product, no matter how much other people enjoy it. What drives me nuts, however, is the typical response to a detractor from a hardcore fan: "Yes, but you should play/read/watch this anyways, because you can't decide if you don't like something if you haven't experienced it."

No, sorry, you can. By having someone who has experienced something describe it to you by comparing it to something you have experienced. I know I would not like to be in a car wreck, because I've suffered other much more minor kinds of injury, like a broken shoulder, and I've decided I don't like injury. Plus, I've been in a minor car accident that just jostled me around a bit, and that wasn't fun, either. So I'm not going to believe the car crash fetishists in that Cronenberg movie.

Similarly, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like pheasant or other game birds. How can I be sure? Because I don't like chicken or turkey. Fowl is foul to me. Fans of 4e (or some other game) will occasionally make the comparison to not knowing if you like green beans until you try them, but we are not five-year-olds. You say stuff like that to kids because they're kids and they have to do what their parents say, because the parents are supposed to make responsible decisions for you. Once you're an adult, you don't have to eat anything you don't want to, and you've eaten enough of a variety of foods to make some kind of judgment about unknown foods based on what they are similar to. You might try a new food if you have another reason, like pleasing someone you're dating or married to. But trying a new food just because some random person shamed you into it? That's just ridiculous.

What this all boils down to is this: if someone lists the good points of a game (or other product) and none of those sound all that good to you, especially if you've experienced all those "good points" separately in other games, then there's no reason to try that game. You might go along with it if a good friend wants to play that game, because you have a reason that has nothing to do with the game system. But there's no shame in not playing a game that some stranger wants you to play if that stranger can't make the game sound enjoyable.

That goes for 4e and for 0e as well.

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