This article in the New Scientist RSS feed caught my eye. It's only a brief summary of a longer article in the magazine, but the basic premise held forth by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger of the National University of Singapore:
"The over-abundance of connections reduces diversity and keeps radical ideas from taking hold."
My first thought when I read this was "That's the gaming world!"
Three thoughts followed:
- Consider if you will the vast amount of energy expended in the blog-sphere defending various styles of RPG play. In the end has it added anything to our hobby? Many of the proponents of various play styles can't even agree on a definition of what they're arguing about. Other than generating an endless stream of blog and forum posts, has the debate added to the industry?
- Speaking of forums, are these gathering places providing value to our hobby or are they creating armed camps of monolithic thought? I don't frequent many forums these days, so I'm not up on what sites are defending which flavor of the month, but the fundamental question "Is the debate adding to or detracting from our hobby?" is worth asking ourselves.
- Lastly: old-school vs. new-school, not as a style, but a mindset. While there are certainly differences in play-style between the two groups, I think there is also a fundamental mindset difference. In the early days of our hobby, most players, GMs and developers worked in vastly greater isolation than today's always on, Internet-connected society. My own roots are in the pre-Internet era. When I started playing our "game store" was a KB Toys, and our gaming group was three people who all lived in a small rural town in Maryland. Is it any wonder that our play developed a unique character and that we, the players, gained a strong sense of personal ownership in that play style? Does today's new-school player have the same personal investment in their gaming style, or has the proliferation of connections homogenized the gaming world?
“Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved in the broth”