The facts are that the VAST majority of gamers out there play D&D. Some play pretty basic "hack n'Slash" D&D, some play more sophisticated games, but the majority of roleplayers don't play anything else.
I'm not talking here about the majority of roleplayers that go online. Those are just a tiny tiny fraction of the millions of people who play RPGs on a regular basis. Nor the hardcore convention-goers, who are perhaps only a slightly larger percentage. I'm talking about the guys who bought a PHB over the years (be it 1st or 3rd edition), play the game in high school and college, and a few retrogrades who have been playing a weekly game with their pals for the last twenty years.
We know the reality is, de facto, that Forge-type thematic games are not the popular choice. Hell, even story-based white wolf type games are not the popular choice, though the people who play those are a considerably larger demographic than those who play the former.
There's really only two ways to analyze this reality:
The first is the Forge's way. It says that the vast majority of these people are actually unhappy in their gaming, and that the "regular gamer" is lying to himself when he says he enjoys his regular games and needs nothing else. The Regular Gamer just doesn't know that there are other games out there, or has been brainwashed by "corporate" goons into believing that he should only play D20, and would be drawn to more "intellectual" gaming if only there was the right combination of promotion of the games and de-brainwashing of the potential players.
The second is my way. My way says that these gamers are exactly what they appear to be: perfectly happy doing what they're doing right now. What they want is more and better of the same stuff. They do NOT need to be re-educated, they are not lying to themselves or others about their fun.
So that's why I see myself as championing them. You believe they need to be "fixed"; I don't. I think that what needs fixing, if anything, is the pretentious and insipidly incestuous culture of the so-called "gaming elite", be they the story-swine at White Wolf, the Forge-swine, or the would-be cognoscenti that run around pretending to be a part of the "gaming industry" (as if such a thing really existed outside of Wizards).
These are the guys who will fuck up the wild ride, not the average joes that have bought their ticket. These are the guys who say we have to re-mold gaming in their image and that for some reason no one fathoms but them, we should accept one gang of fuckfaces or another as our lords and masters in deciding what is best for us, just because said gang of shitheads claim that they know what gamers really want better than the gamers. I say to them: fuck that!
So to sum up: my position is better for the sake of arguing who stands with the majority by virtue of taking the majority at their word, rather than portraying them as a gang of sheep who need to be led along by the muzzle.
(Originally posted May 8, 2006)