The Gatekeepers Are Dead
Now that it's morning, and I've somewhat
recovered from the massive amounts of adrenaline that rushed through me five times last night, I can give you guys some non-grainy pictures.
I want to underscore how important this win is to the DIY community. +Zak Smith
's book only has 3,000 copies... and, yet, it still beat out Wizards of the Coast and other titans
of this industry soundly
... and you know what?
Zak and +James Raggi
don't have a marketing department. They don't have people paid to go out and promote their material. They don't have offices and assistants and huge budgets to spend. All they have is a driving passion to make amazing, high-quality products because they love this hobby so much.
One of my biggest pet passions is to make game design accessible to anyone. It isn't something that takes a particular skillset or a huge amount of experience. Every designer who came before learned how to make games by making and playing games... and anyone
can do that.
In the few years I've really been active in the RPG community, I've seen a ton of people in my circles and all around me go from being people who thought they could only consume
products to people who regularly create
products. It's been a pleasure to watch that revolution happen, and to get swept up in the excitement.
I moderated a panel a couple days ago called 'How I Designed It'. We talked to three designers and asked them questions about their creative process - why they do what they do, how they go about doing it, and what's important to them. On my part, this was an effort to show the creative process has many shapes and forms - and each of the women on the panel had a different experience to share to show that was true.
One of the best questions came from a woman in the audience who attended every one of our events. She talked about how writers tend to put something of themselves into their work, then asked the designers how that worked for them in game design. The answers were nothing short of moving, and surprising in some aspects, too, but they were all perfect. Perfect for that designer in a way it wouldn't be perfect for anyone else.
When I look at DIY products of all shapes and sizes, in all genres and all types, I see
the people who created them. when I read A Red & Pleasant Land, I can see
not only Zak, but Mandy, and Connie, and everyone else in their lives. I can see
into his imagination, and it's a wonderfully crazy place.
When I hear all of you talk about your products, I see and hear you
in them. These aren't faceless products created by a dozen or more people to satisfy some marketing focus groups. These are raw, beautiful, amazing, wonderful, ecstatic peeks into the imaginations of the people who made them... and if you don't think that's an awesome thing, I'm going to have to take your pulse to make sure you're still alive.
If you don't like who won... and I'm sure no matter who you are, Zak would agree with me on this, then make something better
. More than ever before, you
have the power to change, guide, and become a deep part of our hobby. You can choose to work with designers and artists and writers who live all over the world. You can write one book or a dozen. You can get them funded for printing, or just publish them electronically with a link to getting it printed on Lulu. Anyone can make a game.
Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Congrats +Zak Smith
, +James Raggi
, and +Jez Gordon
for these fantastic awards... for beating the odds... for taking the bad and turning it into the good... for being resolute cheerleaders of the entire community
, and most importantly - for doing
more than talking
Congrats to the entire small press and DIY community, as well. It's a big
day when a little book beats out of the titans
of gaming in a contest purely about popularity.
deserve this moment to bask in the glory of success... and then, make more awesome stuff!! :)
This has been an amazingly wonderful ride, and I feel honored, humbled, and privileged to get to be a part of it.
The gatekeepers are dead! Go... make something awesome. Fuck something up. Keep being amazing.
Now, I'm gonna stop before I start crying and go find something to spend money at on my last day of Gen Con. :)
Long live DIY!