In one sentence, the hobby has become more broad and more diverse.
Taking a trip back in the way back machine to the early 80s when I first started playing RPGs, Dungeons and Dragons was the touchstone for everyone who played. Pretty much everyone got their start with Dungeons and Dragons. It was our common language.
These days, I am sure there are plenty of folks who play RPGs who have never played Dungeons and Dragons. I bet that the World of Darkness has been plenty of people’s introduction to RPG and I really wonder if Fiasco has been some folk’s first RPG.
I wasn’t at GenCon when Magic the Gathering first came out but I have friends who were. They told me that you just needed to look anyone in the eye and hold up a deck and you had a game going. There is no way any game could have that impact now.
And when I finally got into designer board games/euro games/hobby board games/ whatever you want to call them, everyone knew how to play Catan and Puerto Rico and Carcassonne. I knew people who didn’t have game night, they had Catan Night.
I’ll be honest. I think this is a good change. Everyone having the same general game vocabulary was fun and it did feel like I was part of a special club at times. But the community was a lot smaller, a lot more insular and not nearly as diverse. The larger community with its greater diversity is a much better thing for the world on a whole.
More folks buying games means publishers have an incentive to keep on publishing games. And not only are there more games out there, there’s a much greater variety. Sure, Trout’s Law still come into play but that’s ten percent of a larger number.
Maybe we’re not as homogeneous as we used to be but there’s more of us. There’s more folks to meet and play with. Exclusive isn’t a good thing. A diverse and broad community is a fun and interesting one.
Yeah, it’s fun to get out my walker and tell youngsters that I remember when but I love living in the future.