[MUD-Dev] MMORPGs & MUDs

Koster Koster
Sat Dec 22 15:24:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Tresca

> Who's going to start the thread where we talk about the impact of
> fantasy on the upswing due to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter
> and its effect on the game market?

I think that actually we're seeing its peak. The trend started
around 1994 or 1995. It was a slower-to-burnout trend than the
milleniarist conspiracy theory and tech trend which peaked with The
Matrix and X-Files (and for the artsy among you, with Pi) and which
Majestic missed the boat on.

The current "looking backwards" trend has manifested itself with 1/2
the Oscar nominees of the last five years being historical epics;
with something like 75% of all short-length science fiction
published in the last year being alternate history or set in the
past (there's a bit of a flap going on over this in SF circles,
especially with the fact that Harry Potter won the Hugo for best
novel); with a massive resurgence in both medieval fantasy RPGs
(kicked off by Diablo in 1996) and history-based games; vast
quantities of angels, vampires, and witches on TV--and of course,
with increased conservatism on numerous political and social fronts.

My rule of thumb is that by the time something makes it to be a
major feature film and a hit TV show, it's probably passe. :) But I
could be wrong. It was pointed out to me a very long time ago that
one of the best predictors of trends in popular music is to listen
for the background music in commercials, since ad agencies generally
have to have their ears to the ground for future trends rather than
current ones.

There's a mini-boomlet right now in spy stuff; three TV shows, two
movies, and one hit game. Soldiers seem to be good guys again,
instead of bad guys as they were for most of the last decade.

Ecology's trendiness seems to have peaked too early, unfortunately
for the world. But we may well get some rude awakenings on that
front. I'd enjoy doing a game where the subtext was ecological.

Various sorts of spirituality seem to be in the air, though angels
are out.  We're getting mystics back. I think irony is out and
earnestness in. The EFF will have a hard sell, chat will thrive, and
I suspect fantasy will burble back down the bestseller charts in all
media over the course of the next few eyars, to a degree. Fantasy
does tend to thrive in conservative time periods, but in some ways I
think we're heading into a utopian time period, when we're going to
want to daydream about better worlds. Not just retreat into shelter,
but also I think, some degree of daydreaming about globalism, of
world peace, of niftier machinery and so on.

But I could be completely wrong. :)

-Raph
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