Letters to the Editor

Gaming Addictions


In response to “The Lonely Crowd” from The Escapist Forum: I have fond memories of playing various Mario games, and spending a lot of time on them. Super Mario World occupied me for years. I found almost all the secrets by myself. It was great. That’s not going to happen again. I get too frustrated if I get stuck, and will check online pretty quickly if I hit a snag.

This “theorycraft” stuff, I’m going to have to say, this pretty much why I’m a solo gamer. I played WoW for a year, and even got into a guild, but when everyone was too concerned about what armour they had and how it worked with this and that, I left because I don’t care about that kind of thing, and was bringing the team down. I soloed that game for a while, but that wasn’t much fun. I rarely play online anymore. Even an old favourite like TFC is way too serious for me now. I mean, I’m not dissing these guys, but it’s not for me.

The best bet, as far as me as a gamer is something like Half Life 2. The game is an experience. It’s not too difficult, and you don’t need to look up walkthroughs.

Someone once told me that Max Payne had this feature where if you kept dying after loading the same saved game so many times, the AI would get a little easier so you wouldn’t get stuck in a rut. I thought that was a great idea too.

Because no one really likes to look up walkthroughs, but everyone does.


I think you forget how important magazines were back in the day. ZZap!64 was full of walkthroughs, cheats, chats with developers. We used to buy it and share our copies around. Same for a lot of the D&D magazines like White Dwarf.

Man, I used to be a HUGE nerd!

Anyway, I just think the communities were smaller before the web, and the web has allowed greater access to a wider community, not that it’s responsible for this type of thing being available.



In response to “SHAMAN” from The Escapist Forum: Absolutely incredible, I love the idea and admit that I’ve never thought of anything of the sort myself. “What if there was no internet?” I was born in ’90, to me, there’s nothing astounding about the internet or globalization. The world was always small. But to a person who’d never seen such things? Well…your story was dead on, and I look forward to see more thought provoking writing from you.


I’m intrigued by this fascinating idea of a sort of technological stagnation. I wonder if halting the development of the internet would’ve actually caused this. Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s the other way around – that only a world that prefers technological stagnation could halt the development of the internet…

Either way, this was a beautiful character study, and I look forward to many more short stories from Colin.



In response to “Tipocalypse Now” from The Escapist Forum: Oh god! What would we do! The stock market would be inefficient! Banking would take weeks! Nooooo my internet!

The aspect of online society is a particular pointed one as many of the people I speak to regularly wouldn’t even know I existed, or I them, without the internet. It gives us the chance to better pick-and-choose our friends, to find out more about them every day even when two people live a thousand kilometres apart.

Excellent piece. The satire is striking and very well written. What would we do indeed? Another thing to consider is what would happen if the net stopped tomorrow…


The internet would be a better place if there was less competition between everyone. Everyone wants fifteen minutes of glory on the internet but a lot of people dislike the fact that too many attempts are made simultaneously so they resort to insults, threats, intimidation and cyberbullying.

Sure on one part we can understand why so many people finds it frustrating to waste all their time reading/watching pointless content that has low entertaining value but on the other hand it’s really sad to see the most promising technology becoming a weapon that destroy the lives of people who are unfit for the internet.

In a way, they asked for it but on the other hand many are taking it way too seriously.

Most people feel that this is the most disturbing issue about the internet and with good motives. Luckily the world is learning fast and the internet is slowly becoming a better place for everyone.

You just need to learn to love the trolls.




In response to “Internet Killed the Tabletop Star” from The Escapist Forum: Great article, Allen. I am a huge lover of traditional tabletop, and, like you, see a lot of value in using the ‘net to further that tradition. Though Season 1 of GOLD pits tabletop against MMO, I don’t think they are mutually exclusive — a lot of MMO folks also play tabletop (Felicia Day of the Guild is a great example — she plays a weekly D&D game). And whatever you think of 4e (and the opinions are widely varied), I can already see evidence at my local gaming shop that its simplicity, balance and updated tone are bringing in new, young tabletop role players (tho I haven’t yet been converted ;-).

Tabletop has become the smaller cousin to MMO, even though TT came first, and inspired MMO. That’s not gonna change. I just hope, through innovation and clever use of the ‘net, TT will stick around, and in such a way that publishers large and small can continue to make a living producing great content. That’s the thing we don’t talk about as much, but it’s a very real driver of the direction of the market: if small presses and innovators can make a living, TT RPGs will thrive. If you’re constantly losing financially, eventually you will have to close your doors.

Obviously I’m hopeful that won’t happen. And the $50 I spent on RPG stuff this weekend puts my money where my mouth is 😉


I think I see the point of the article (let’s be honest here: it’s mostly to tell RPG players about all these new tools and ideas they’re missing out on), but it seems terribly mis-named. Three quarters are all about the shape of the new, Internet-powered “Tabletop Stars” rather than the way the Internet has killed anything. Sure, sure, Wizards of the Coast killed Dragon and people prefer Amazon to the local gaming store — so what?

Every medium of entertainment is: (1) being killed by the Internet, (2) squeaking by the way it was despite the effects of the Internet, and (3) experiencing a resurgence thanks to the Internet all at the same time. Cheap instantaneous worldwide communication will do that. 🙂

Perhaps large parts of the RPG industry are struggling, but large parts of the RPG industry are really just hobbyists playing at being real businessmen, running horribly inefficient companies that have consistently failed to innovate both product and process — we should expect that kind of a business to struggle.

Are a lot of people playing WoW in place D&D? (Seriously, are they? I’m not sure anyone in the industry has much in the way of data about that.) Good for them, if it’s something they like! Two decades ago, this was an audience that pen-and-paper roleplaying games just got by default. Now they have to work for them. That, too, is how things should be in a healthy market.

Meanwhile, as the articles says, modern indie games are “bringing the fire” — not just to design but to play itself. Even if the whole industry folds and the only books that come out are the result of hobby economics (i.e. keeping your day job), we’ll still have lots of classy, professional, intelligent games.

There’s never been a better time to play pen-and-paper RPGs. I don’t think it much matters how many people are doing it.



In response to “Out of the Internet and Into the Wild” from The Escapist Forum: I find I’m almost happier without the internet, when I go on holiday (in a completely computer-free environment) I just use the time for my other hobbies. If I have no access to the internet at home I will get work done quicker, and then be able to spend the extra time I have either learning things for personal interest, or (again) pursuing my other hobbies, rather than hanging around on forums or compulsively refreshing the page to check for new posts.

Thing is, if the access to the internet is there, I can’t help myself. Recently I’ve cut down on use a lot, asking myself “Are you really doing anything, or are you waiting for something to do? Couldn’t you be doing something else more enjoyable?” – it usually works.


Interesting read. Me and my wife both spend lots of time online – she scouring the internet for information of professional and personal interest, me “tanking” something-or-other on World of Warcraft. We recently took a one-week vacation away from home and placed a little bet to see which of us would last the longest without a computer and the internet. We had access to both if we wanted to, the idea was to see who would show the most self-restraint. Surprisingly, it was my wife who crumbled after just two days – she just had to check her e-mail, which led to her checking her favourite forum, and so on.

I quit WoW because of that vacation. My wife, however, got herself a netbook which she can carry around in her bag to get online whenever she wants to. It’s a funny old world…


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