“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Whilst I was typing up my previous post on my visit to Salute this year, a number of things crossed my mind, as I remembered specific conversations and overheard snatches of speech from last Saturday. These thoughts clustered in my mind, and were added to as I perused the various post-Salute posts made on a number of other blogs and noted a trend. This finally crystallised into an idea for a post as I read some of the incisive comments made on the most recent post on the wonderful blog, The Game Cupboard, which you can find here.
So, it is time to talk of many things…
Firstly, I’ve noted a bit of a trend when it comes to post-Salute reports. I have no problem in reading about your day or looking at the pictures of those demos or gaming boards that caught your eye, because that’s a very personal record of your day. However, do I really need to see a picture of everything you’ve bought? It’s not even as though it’s in context, as in the reason you bought those specific items. It’s just a heap of stuff. What am I supposed to do, congratulate you on your ability to buy things?
My second point relates to the above – the majority of vendors at gaming conventions, no matter what you may think, are NOT your friends. They are there for one reason and one reason only and that’s to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash, the more the better. When you rush up to their booths, with your enthusiasm for their product evident on your face, all they see is an opportunity to get their knife into the slot in the top of the piggy-bank and extract every last possible penny out of it.
Think back to what you bought at Salute – how much of what you bought had you intended to buy? Where you persuaded that if you just bought one more thing from a particular vendor, then it would be an even better deal and then found that you’d spent far more money than you’d anticipated? I heard one particular vendor trying to encourage a potential customer to buy their newest boxed game that he clearly wasn’t that interested in by offering to throw in something he did want as a sweetener.
Unfortunately, a lot of gamers have what I like to call the ‘Magpie Mentality’, i.e. they cannot resist shiny things. A whiff of a special offer and suddenly all restraint is gone and they’ve bought a new game that they probably had NO intention of buying and will probably be played once, then stacked on a shelf to gather dust. How many times have you bought something with the words “I don’t know what I’ll use it for, but I just had to buy it”? Did you really have to buy it? Or were you overcome by your inner magpie?
The same thing applies to pledging on Kickstarter. Some people seem to have developed ‘Kickstarter fever’ and just cannot seem to resist pledging for the next ‘big thing’. Which, by the time it finally arrives, is now been replaced by the next…and the next…and the next, ad infinitum. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to do this because you’re stinking rich, don’t then boast about how you’ve got so many Kickstarter games that you haven’t even bothered to take them out of their plastic yet, because that just means that not only are you NOT a gamer, but also that you give no consideration to those less fortunate than yourself.
I suppose from a certain perspective this might be considered a bit of a rant, but all I’m trying to do is make people think a bit more. Next time you find yourself in the position where you’ve already started to reach for your wallet or purse…STOP, and ask yourself these questions; Do I really need it? Can I buy it cheaper elsewhere? Is the ‘special offer/deal’ I’m being offered really that good? The majority of the time, by the time you’ve asked and answered these questions, your inner magpie will have subsided somewhat, allowing you to apply rational thought to your potential purchases. You may end up buying it anyway, but do it on YOUR terms, not the vendor’s.
Listen to the crow – not the magpie.