How to be a good game ambassador

Ah, this little hobby of ours. Add us all together and I daresay you’ll barely fill a handful of football stadiums, yet there’s still room enough for all of us. The young and old, the venerable old school gamers and the new kids keen to break past the limitations of console gaming. There’s room for immersive narritavists, hack’n’slashers, superheroes, wizards, rogues and more. Role-playing is a hobby that can cross differences in age, culture, race, religion and creed. All good hobbies can. They are the pointless things in life that mean so little, and precisely because of that, can mean so much.

What there isn’t room for though is pointless tirades against this, that or the other edition of the game. It’s time they ended, for good, and for the good of the game.

Google makes us all Ambassadors of the Game whether you like it or not. Any google search from a curious potential new gamer (or a lapsed one keen to find new gamer buddies in their area) could well hit your site, and that means that your words carry weight. If those words ain’t positive, or are badmouthing any facet of this industry, you’re putting us all in a bad light – and yourself especially.

If you don’t like something, balance it with something that you do, or don’t talk about it at all. Rants serve no healthy purpose other than to polarize the trolls. And the last thing we need is magnetic trolls. Take it from me. Those buggers are a real pain to separate.

Don’t get me wrong. Positive criticism is a Good Thing, and game designers need to hear it in order to improve their art. It’s necessary to help the hobby evolve, and not that difficult to do – if you truly want the game to evolve, that is. If you don’t, that’s cool too. Boast about what’s great about the game you love!

Negative criticism is a whole different thing though. You’re more likely to get a “screw you” than anything. If you’ve got nothing positive to say, for the sake of the game and your own credibility, don’t say it.

Before you write, think about what you’d like to read if you knew nothing about the game. Would you rather hear about the daring deeds of knights battling orcs in the wilderness, or about why this particular set of rules (which you don’t play anyway!) sucks worse than a barrel of lemons? If you don’t like it, move on. Suck it up. The rules that is, not the lemons.

The point is that this is a terrific, wonderful hobby that encourages team play, imagination, literacy, history, maths and countless life skills that are hard to learn anywhere else. AND you get to kill orcs too. What’s not to love?

So c’mon, people! Big it up!

Be a good game ambassador. For the sake of all of us. Whatever rules we choose to play by.

7 Comments on “How to be a good game ambassador”

  1. It does indeed sadden me to see the “Edition Wars” carry on still. What bugs me is, we are in the best possible situation: Wizards is actively supporting 4 (in some form or another…), and Paizo has made it possible (and apparently, profitable) to continue supporting 3.5e, in the Pathfinder RPG.

    For the first time in my memory, fans haven’t had to choose between an edition that isn’t being supported, and one that is: Now, both are.

    The Edition Wars are over. Everyone won.

    As for me? Well, my blog (which hasn’t been updated in awhile, but eh) is pretty 4e-centered. I love 4e, both as a DM and a player, and while I could play Pathfinder, I don’t really feel a need to. Not to say I love everything about 4e, or about how WotC chooses to support it, but I find a lot of nice things to say regardless.

    I’d like to think I’ve been a good ambassador, but given the content of this post, I’ll endeavor to be a better one.

  2. Well said, sir, although I fear you’re preaching to the choir.

    Sadly there will never be a way to silence/moderate the haters/ranters/flamers/fundamentalists who are unwaveringly convinced that they are right and everyone who disagrees with them is WRONG!

    What we need is more level heads like your good self!

  3. “If you’ve got nothing positive to say, for the sake of the game and your own credibility, don’t say it.”

    Respectfully, I disagree. This smacks of censorship. Whether you like it or not, people have the right to speak their opinions, and you (we?) don’t have the right to tell them they don’t. I would prefer more civil discourse, as I think most of us would, but the instant we start quashing what we think is “negative criticism” we’ve crossed the line.

    1. I don’t think that asking people to put their brain in gear before they speak their mind is censorship. Personally, I think it’s good advice :D

      It’s entirely up to the writer what they post on their own blog, and I’ll happily defend that right with my last breath. But it won’t stop me asking that they consider the consequences of their words too.

      Just my own humble opinion, of course.

  4. Agreed. It’s all about SELF-censorship. Freedom of speech gives us the right to kick over other people’s sandcastles, but not the responsibility.

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