Hobby Gaming And The Way Things Have Always Been Done™

I find it amusing that people who make a living out of creative endeavors can sometimes be so uncreative about their business practices. Some people who make a living in the hobby gaming industry are so entrenched in The Way Things Have Always Been Done™, that when presented with ideas, let alone examples, of how to better use the current resources of the marketplace, or heaven forbid a whole new way of doing things at all, they close up, wall off themselves, and declare that to be the hill on which they die.

I’m being vague on purpose. There’s no need for names or examples because it isn’t a one-off thing. I’ve seen this attitude cropping up more in hobby gaming for a while now. Every so often someone of influence in the industry will wave this flag and rally many around it, providing an obvious example, but it’s in the day-to-day interactions that I see how prevalent the problem is.

And it is a problem. For an industry that sells creativity, there is very little creative thinking when it comes to how that creativity is sold. There are experiments, yes, every so often, but no concerted effort. We are simply told that The Way Things Have Always Been Done™ is the one true way, told that the market bears that proof since experiments have come and gone without significant impact, that the solution is to double down and do more of the same.

It’s no surprise that many customers echo the call, thinking that it really must be done the one way or it’s not a game at all. The industry has conditioned the audience to expect only the one way of doing things, then it cites the market as the reason why it cannot be done any other way. But really, no other option has been presented consistently. One-off experiments are just that, experiments, oddities, monuments to art and beauty, and were never meant to establish new ways of doing things. Don’t expect them to provide you data that they were never designed to provide.

All I’m saying is there are different ways to do things in hobby gaming that are not The Way Things Have Always Been Done™ since the 70s but with cheaper tools. The entire paradigm of creating, publishing, and selling games has changed, and there are people out there taking advantage of it, doing things differently already, with measurable levels of success that prove it can be done on a consistent basis. You have to shut out the loud voices proclaiming The Way Things Have Always Been Done™ to hear these individuals, but it’s worth doing so.

There is nothing wrong with The Way Things Have Always Been Done™ but it certainly is not the only way to go. Dare to do things differently.


  1. I don’t feel like I even work in the same industry as those people. Somehow I think most of them would agree, as I am a poster child for Not Doing It Correctly™.


    • I don’t get the resistance except for sheer obstinacy. What’s worse, they spread that obstinacy, so we create a market that reacts negatively to anything done differently, then quote that market’s data as the reason for the obstinacy. Gah! That’s all the backlash to the BBM’s no art rule was, infected obstinacy. And then I’m not even gonna go into people running their livelihood businesses like I run my vanity hobby press. You keep doing things incorrectly, please.


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