And by "you guys" I'm referring to my fellow old school bloggers, who apparently chose the Memorial Day weekend to have a big discussion/argument about the definition of the term "old school". I guess I can excuse any non-American from wasting the weekend in that fashion. Ex-pats like Raggi get a pass as well I suppose.
Even so, I'm pretty sure I win the weekend. While you all were squandering your free time on the internets I was hanging out with my buddy Pat, enjoying mind-enriching/numbing TV and eating too much food. We saw the Doctor Who serial "The Mind Robber" (The Karkus rules, by the way), a couple episodes of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, and a metric crapload of Planet of the Apes and Star Trek cartoons.
Anybody reading the ol' Gameblog ever participate in the chess variants hobby? I haven't been active in several years, but in the past that scene spent a fair amount of time trying to define the term "chess" and also inventing new variants that intentionally push the limits of the various proposed definitions. For the most part, I don't give a crap about finding a final, definitive bright line that can be drawn such that everyone can agree games in group A "are" chess and games in group B aren't. Personally I just like puttering around with chess variants and don't need the certainty of an exacting definition to do that.
I pretty much feel the same way about old school gaming. Even if we all agreed to a definition, some edge case would come along and set off a new round of discussion. That being said, the discussion itself and the process of inquiry could still be useful. The destination might be lame but that doesn't have to color the entire voyage. For example, without this weekend's brouhaha we might never have gotten this extremely useful post from Alex Schroeder or this delight from Amityville Mike.
Besides, I've already given the hobby an exhaustive theoretical framework to use. Why everyone in the old school movement doesn't just adopt my threefold model as the gospel truth remains one of life's little mysteries.
Random referendum result
40 minutes ago