Monday, September 07, 2009

an anecdote

So I visited my friendly local game store over the weekend. At one of the gaming tables there was a group of six or seven playing a raucous game of Call of Cthulhu. What I found interesting was that no one in the group look as old as my CoC boxed set. I haven't seen the inside of the latest edition of CoC, but I feel reasonably confident that no designer has jazzed it up a bunch to match their idea of what the kids these days want. It looked just a like a regular game of Investigate the Weirdness Until Things Go Horribly Awry like I used to play with my high school crew back in the eighties.


  1. Its a beautiful thing.

    I find it interesting (and sad I suppose)when companies 'jazz up' or dramatically change a property to appeal to 'today's youth'. Then they update it again a few months or years later. Meanwhile, the original stood as in or with only minor adjustments for 20-30 years or so. Never makes sense.

    Comic books are perhaps the biggest culprit of this but games do it all too often.

    If you haven't already, check out my blog for a bit of high school nostalgia as well.

  2. That game was a RIOT! They were there from noon-ish to midnight, Investigating Creepy Weird Things and Losing Their Minds (and Lives!).

  3. Can you give an example of a recent roleplaying game that was 'jazzed up' to appeal to 'the kids today'? Other than AD&D 2e, I mean.

  4. My son is just starting to get interested in role-playing games. My son loves Harry Potter and thinks MMOs with their flashy graphics are very exciting. When I sat down and made him a character (he wanted to play a wizard) for Basic D&D, he was very disappointed by the one spell he'd get at first level.

    That was nonsensical to him. All of the fantasy he has been exposed to clearly shows novices (Harry Potter or starting characters in an MMO) being able to do more at low levels.

    One spell per day just seemed silly to him. Therefore, I think he'd be more suited to a game like D&D 4e, which offers starting characters more options at 1st level.

    I think D&D is an example of a game that has been tailored to suit the needs of a generation that expects more power options for starting characters.

    FWIW, I don't think this is a bad thing. People like what they like.

  5. "FWIW, I don't think this is a bad thing. People like what they like."

    This statement is in complete disagreement with the rest of your post.

    I take your point to be that "People like what they've been exposed to."

  6. The latest edition has been jazzed up, and it looks awful, but the actual content is all the same as it was years ago.

  7. Anonymous2:52 PM

    Didn't seem nonsensical to me.

  8. CoC has actually been jazzed up quite a bit from the Good Old Days. Gone were the days when spells only drove you insane, summoned a creature, dismissed a creature...or drove you insane. Now, entire books full of spells are available for the CoC game, along with lots of new monsters, etc. Also, taking a look at the latest edition, it looks like somewhere along the way you got a lot more points to spend on your abilities/skills. Oh, and there are a lot more professions except for just Private Eye, Doctor, Dillettante (Our go-to favorites back in the day!)

    Sure the basic game is the same, and uses the same rules system, but I'd argue there have been a lot of changes aimed at enticing more players to the certain doom of Lovecraft's creations...

  9. "All of the fantasy he has been exposed to clearly shows novices (Harry Potter or starting characters in an MMO) being able to do more at low levels."

    That's pretty much true in most fantasy lit/movies/etc. I can't think of a single one that emulates the one spell per day that M-Us get a first level.

    Even Jack Vance's magicians had more than one spell, amirite?

  10. I am a huge CoC fan and I will say this: They haven't jazzed up the system recently, and the current edition is several years old. In fact, you can use 4th edition (and possibly earlier) and 6th edition material together, with the only change being: skills you haven't put points into all start at 01% instead of 00%.

    The only thing that changes is what is included in the main rulebook: more or less spells, more or less info on the 20's, more or less equipment etc.

    The crunch is all the same.