Monday, September 7, 2009

Ron Edwards? Who?

I just read Jim Raggi write this in a response to something Ron apparently got published in the latest issue of Fight On! magazine. What really makes me sigh about this is that so many people, especially over at the post about it on Grognardia, have no idea who Ron is!? Guys, Gary is dead! Things have happened the last thirty years! Ron Edwards has a somewhat abrasive on-line persona, but his is very smart and have thought a lot about gaming. Do yourself a favour and read up on his stuff. You might hate it, but it will expand your views on gaming. Read carefully, please do.


  1. I can't tell if you're kidding. Although it'd be funny either way. :D

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  3. I'm one of those who didn't know who Ron Edwards was. I had no problems with his Fight On! article, though he was so obviously wrong in his choice of examples, as anyone could tell who actually knew anything about either author. But I have to say that I believe it is possible to think too much about gaming, so much so that you miss the actual point of the experience - to simply have fun.

  4. Stuart,

    I myself have no idea if this whole affair is fun or sad...

  5. David,

    I have no beef with any individual cases of not knowing, but more the amount of people. You seem to take it the right way, though. Thanks for your comment! Sometimes fun can be lost. Especially on the net...

    While it sure can be too much sometimes, I do think that knowing some theory can lead to a discussion with more depths. Also, the outright disdain for Ron and an intellectual approach to our hobby is downright scary. Thinking is good for you.

  6. You seem to be implying that ignorance of Ron Edwards is evidence of something wrong with the hobby. What about the possibility that something is sufficiently wrong with Edwards' approach that it will never penetrate the hobby deeply?

  7. Good catch Jeff!

    The reason I am implying and not stating flat out, is that I'm not sure what exactly is wrong where.

    The fact that so many people right now is involved, at some level, of the so called renaissance, ought to mean that people are thinking more about how to play, and styles of play, right?

    The fact that Ron Edwards and his forgites have produced a bunch of games, and that things like IPR probably exists because of that, tells me it's something to take notice of. The fact that he mixes flashes of brilliance with moments of total WTF!? is not in itself an excuse not to, I think.

    Are the OSR not at all about thinking how we play? Is it just what the critics say, "same old" with rose tinted glasses?

    I like to think we are all thinking as much as playing and imagining the crap out of these games. Wouldn't it then make sense to take notice of someone how have done just that?

    Well. Maybe it's just a small part of the on-line gamerdom that have even noticed, and maybe it wasn't all that important anyway...

    But, I have a nagging feeling that's not how it is.

  8. Edwards' game theory only applies to games created with that theory in mind.

    Retroactively applying that theory to earlier games (especially when immensely successful and widely played games are declared "incoherent" according to the theory) is just crap.

    I think starting with GNS or "Big Model" theory as a starting point, or even a conscious reference point, completely poisons any attempt at general RPG theory.

  9. Interesting hypothesis, Jim. Best of all, it should be possible to test it.

    I do think you're right about retroactively cramming stuff into the round squares. I've seen it way to much.

    Your second proposition I don't agree with, though. Having had any kind of extensive contact with the Ron who makes people go ballistic is probably a good way to poison any attempt at general RPG theory, yes.

    Even if the Big Model is crap, it is at least something to start and disprove in your own discourse. I did that myself at university with the theory of history at the department of History.

  10. Imagine a 1st year University course on Art, Design and Sociology being taught by a Zoology instructor teaching his own theories and attended almost exclusively by Mathematics majors.

    Now imagine those Math students roaming the campus and trying to tell anyone studying Art, Design or Sociology how things *really* are. They insist on everyone using the terms their prof uses and won't accept that people fully reject his theories.


  11. Interesting analogy. :)

    I think the biggest problem are those latter guys. Math students always made me snore...


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