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Just to Make Certain the Idea Man is Last, posted by Michael Trice

I’m still trying to figure out what our wellspring meant by geekery going mainstream. I know that in the court case that CJ discussed Wizards suggested that 6 million people play D&D. You can either view that as .1% of the global population–or dream of some Chicago-sized Xanadu filled with DMs, GMs, and the sound of rolling dice echoing through the streets like police sirens in New York City. So Sam’s right–there really are a lot of viewpoints to float around here.

Now, I have a confession. I haven’t played a tabletop game in many months. I think I’ve played 4E about four times. Mostly this has nothing to do with the game itself (my mainstream life has been insanely busy), but I have my biases.

Back in 2000, the first column I ever wrote for Dragon became one of the first to be translated into Third Edition. At that time, I likely would have been a slow convert to 3E if not for a circle of early adopter friends and a personal desire to keep getting published. Turns out that while 3E tightened the reins on some of my more ludicrous 2E free-wheeling, it also created a system of content generation that tapped into the very essence of rising Internet fandom. 3E embraced fanfic and spawned some current hotshots in game design because of it (Mearls is the clear example of this). This fan-driven design scheme is an idea that other companies like Bioware (with NWN and Dragon Age) and Maxis (Spore) have embraced. Get your fans excited about the design process and let their creativity drive your product’s shelf-life. 3E was an open API half a decade before Facebook or the iPhone.

The OGL was highly entertaining for me as a player and as a (very sporadic) game writer. I met a ton of fun and talented people due to OGL. Monte Cook via AU/E, Justin Jacobson at Blue Devil Games, Bill Collins from both of the above, Mike McArtor at Paizo, and a host of others that defined the community power of an open system for me. I have to admit that when WotC closed OGL in 4E, my interest moved closer toward those electronic game designers who kept the spirit alive–well, that and other joint writing spaces like wikis, but that’s neither here nor there.

So, yeah, I’m a little prone to discussing the system and culture of gaming. But I’m sure I’ll find plenty of other geekery to go on about. Moreover, I’m also the resident sports geek. I’m awful at paying attention to fantasy leagues, but I’m totally jazzed that the Cavs might tie the ’84-’85 Celtics home wins record for a season. To clear up my biases on the sports front: I grew up in Dallas and I attended the University of Texas. I maintain all expected and implied affiliations from those occurrences without apology. Disclaimer done.

Hope we can keep this entertaining.

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