Monday, 16 May 2016

Where I explain why I'm such a Hipster

A friend asked me a question the other day: 
"Why are you so against playing Pathfinder?" 
He asked assuming that I'm a hipster who avoids popular media (Kind of true). My answer was thus:

"I'm not against Pathfinder (or D&D etc etc) if there's a game running and I can make it I'm in. The thing is, is that I Know that Pathfinder is good. I want to experience other systems and find out if they are as good, or if I'm being hopeful, better."

This is true for most of the media preferences I consume (As in RPGs, Anime, Fantasy novels and some games, depending on price naturally), I will find myself walking into a shop and literally judging a book by it's cover. 

...and by that I mean reading over the synopsis.

As shallow as it is (and it is) if you want to get me to buy your product you need to hit 3 criteria:
1./ A reasonable price
2./ Some well-done artwork
3./ An excellently worded synopsis without going all 'buy this buzz-words'

Some of my favorite books and anime I've found by this process, where they hit those 3 points and I've picked them up. If I had looked up reviews of "Speed Grapher" or Scott Lynch's "The Lies of Locke Lamora" beforehand, I might have not gave them a second glance. This is because I enjoy the risk of trying something out without the hands of preview chapters, PDFs or Netflix tainting my view of it. If I've put down £20-£30 on something, I'm at the very least going to complete the experience rather than the Netflix problem of having no reason to continue if the first 10 minutes didn't capture me. 

For example: Paranoia Agent, an anime I had no knowledge of before buying has THE SLOWEST START to an anime I've ever witnessed, the opening is weird and if not for putting down £30-ish quid I would have left it early on.  I continued to watch though, through the box set and suddenly the anime opened up and the preceding story made a lot more sense and foreshadowed following events and I was struck with the euphoric moment of "I'm so glad I kept watching!". 
Had I stuck to watching the well-known and popular titles, I would watch them saying that yeah, they're okay; I wouldn't have that fist bump moment because the hype surrounding it has peaked to the point of hating it or loving it because of it's over-exposure before even viewing it.

Undertale I've never played nor wish to at this point. I KNOW it's an amazing game and the internet has done a fine job of making sure everybody knows about the last boss or the opening scene or the scenes in-between ("Don't you dare kill Goat Mum"). With so much attention, it's now impossible to go into Undertale blind unless you simply do not have internet access.

This of course extends to tabletop miniatures as well, with the caveat that people in my area need to be playing the game for me to invest a lot of time into into it. With 40k I could have gone Space Marines and won more games but again, I knew they were good, I wanted to see if the other factions were any good as well. Try being a modern 40k player without consulting MEQ stats (Marine equivalent) for every single model choice you make and understand that I didn't foresee it being fun to play the faction that everyone assumes the opposing player is playing. In my whole time playing 40k I only faced Eldar and Orcs once, every other time it was Marines, it's boring. 

With Malifaux it's less apparent now because unless one is strictly keeping to one faction, players are likely to gather any crew they enjoy the mechanics of so a power fence isn't brought up to face that one faction that everybody plays. Luckily Malifaux doesn't have 'The one Awesome faction'; one could argue Guild, but then someone will pipe up and say Neverborn then behind that person, another player will say Outcast, then in the back an old veteran tells everyone in the room the tales of that time he faced Gremlins etc etc
But I still went in relatively blind and chose the Ice Mage because I have a fondness for Ice Magics.

D&D, Pathfinder and the RPGs everybody "knows" is at a point where anybody interested in playing a tabletop RPG knows it's good and likely wants to play it first because "I don't want to waste my time on something bad" but here's the thing: With the right GM who

knows the rules and manages them seamlessly into a story, it doesn't matter if you're throwing D6s, D20s, D100s or playing Jenga. What it well and truly boils down to with many RPGs is what you character creation options are and the mood of game you're playing. For me, I'm looking for a good time, not to narrow my options down to the global opinion that X, Y & Z RPGs are the only ones worth playing.

To go back to my friend's original question, I don't shy away from the cool kid's games and media because I hate them or have a disliking towards them necessarily. I have a un-healthy amount of love for Bleach, Fight Club is my most favorite and most watched film of all time and I really enjoy the current Marvel Cinematic universe. My point was to my friend was that I don't want to simply find the mass majority thing that the world has agreed on is the best ever awesomesauce and add to the pile, I want to find the stuff that people haven't necessarily found or maybe have skimmed over due to the other brands hype. Hell, I'm not even doing that really, what I like doing is taking a risk on the unknown and finding out for myself if it's worth my time and something I enjoy. Again, some of my favorite books and anime were found by me skimming a synopsis and dropping some pocket money on them, I wouldn't be playing AMP right now if not for randomly picking it up next to Feng Shui 2. It's the simple joy of Discovery.

Make sure life is exciting and have fun out there.

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