One of my employees excitedly shared with me that she had tried roleplaying for the first time.
They all know I'm into D&D and blog, though I don't think any of them really know what D&D is except something you laugh at on an episode of Community.
She went on to say they played Fiasco.
I thought, hmm, interesting that these indie games are getting some mainstream reach. I wonder if part of it is that they avoid any stigma attached to D&D and its "basement" players.
Then she said they all watched some of Wil Wheaton's YouTube video to learn how to create characters. Then, after creating characters, watched more of the video to see what to do next . . .
And my heart sank. I've got nothing against Fiasco and if you play it and love it, that's cool. But if I care about anything I care about making D&D accessible to folks who would otherwise never try it. And the thought that the stigma and hermetic nature of old school rpgs is so strong that a fresh-face-of-a-game can be more attractive to new players, even though you need to watch a video to understand how to play it, is just depressing to me.
Can you imagine any other game in this context? "We're playing bridge tonight so let's all watch this video on how to play."
Of course, I'm assuming stigma is at play here. One other thing she mentioned is that the DM for the night was big into D&D back in the day. So I wonder if another thing going on with indie games is "games for experienced gamers." You've played rpgs for more than 20 years and you want to stretch your wings a bit, try something more daring with more improv required, or maybe something more focused on one aspect of what can be fun about rpgs in general-- you play an indie game. And then you invite your non-gamer friends to play too. And maybe they'll have fun. But it seems to me like taking a friend who has never seen a movie before to see a Bergman film or Fellini or something.