A finishing school for geeks.
For those of you who did not grow up reading victorian literature for fun, finishing schools (which still exist, I found out) are schools that teach young ladies the finer points of etiquette and proper behavior.
Yeah, I’d probably flunk out, if they didn’t run screaming from my tattooed freak ass the minute I turned up.
But what I’m talking about is just educating some of my less socialized geeky brethren and sistren (believe me, male geeks do not have the market cornered on poor socialization) on the ways we interact with society and each other. And to an extent I have done this for years. The Geek Husband What Rules and I have a tendency to adopt the poorly socialized, and teach them how to behave in order to get along in the wide world. Also, I’ve run several panels on “Getting Laid at Cons” over the years that wind up being seminars on being the Anti-Pick Up Artist. Tips like, “Girls have eyes as well as boobs, you should probably look into hers,” and “I know your mom always said that your special girl/boy would love you just the way you are, but you should observe daily hygiene rituals.”
Honestly, it’s a very small segment of the geek population that actually NEEDS this advice, but they do tend to be what normal people think of when the word Geek comes up.
The other thing that I think a lot of geeks need to come to grips with is the fact that, not everything is for them.
Today, as I gave my GM a ride to a better bus stop after our Dark Sun game, he was talking about all the whining going on the D&D Boards he frequents about the D&D board games WotC’s putting out. He said a lot of the whining focused on, “Well, what do I need these for? What’s this going to do for me?” and “Does WotC really think the D&D brand is strong enough to sell outside of their usual audience?”
The second question is kind of legitimate, if demonstrating a basic lack of awareness at common knowledge concerning gaming. I mean, I rarely play D&D but when I’m telling a non-gamer about my hobbies, I default to, “Yeah, I play RPGs. You know, like D&D?” And invariably even the most sheltered, Friends– and Seinfeld-watching normal will nod and say, “Yeah. I know what that is.” Also, I already know several non-gamers who have played, and immediately bought the Ravenloft game. I haven’t played it, but the Geek Husband What Rules says it’s a lot of fun, and he’s looking forward to picking it up.
As to the first question, you don’t need those. They aren’t being created for you. The specific context my friend referenced was a guy posting the question, “How are these going to help me find people for my regular D&D games?” My first response was, “Are you for real? I imagine the board games will inspire quite a few folks to check out regular D&D.” My second response was, “And Jesus, not everything’s about you!”
This happens in the Indie game community, too. A couple years ago some guy found the Story Games forum, and posted “Jason Morningstar, why don’t you make a game I want to play?”
Really? I mean, who the hell feels entitled enough to demand that of someone. “You don’t make games I like. Make one I like!”
Yeah. Particularly in the Indie game community, no one has a responsibility to make the game you want for you. Jason makes incredible games, with very specific settings, and if they aren’t for you? Then write a game your own damn self that is for you. Odds are good that it’ll be for other folks, too. Jason’s game do well, because there are a lot of us out there who really enjoy them. He writes games he wants to play, and if the rest of us want to come along for the ride, great.
Now there is a fundamental difference between WotC and the Indie games community. Largely that WotC’s a corporation trying to maximize profits and increase their market share. And the Indie games community has a lot of folks who do it for love, and if money comes along, awesome. If not, well, most of us have day jobs. The thing is, if WotC only markets to the fans it has, it isn’t going to expand it’s market share much, is it? And to expand that share, they have to appeal to more people than just the dedicated grognard. Hence things like D&D board games. And if it offends you so very deeply that “your” company is trying to market to other people? Get the hell over it. If WotC’s going to survive to provide you with the things you want, they have to diversify. It isn’t the end of the world.
Just a reminder, that the Geek Girls Rule! Geekiest Tattoo Contest is still open and looking for entrants! The Deadline is March 15th!