The sky is now purple

The Strongholds & Streaming Kickstarter, which will surely crack a million dollars and more likely wind up passing 2-3 million,[1] has convinced me that I no longer understand the RPG industry, am an old fuddy-duddy, and should immediately walk up the nearest mountain and become a hermit.

For the past decade, my wife has been encouraging me to make Engine Publishing (or some sort of RPG venture) a full-time thing — because gaming brings me joy, and she loves me — and for a decade I’ve been saying that there’s no money in gaming. That the most respected authors and designers had to claw their way through years of low income and financial instability just to get where they are, and it’s even less financially viable for everyone else who makes a go of it.

But along comes a Kickstarter for one book, from a designer who isn’t a major name in the industry, and the book is going to make a million bucks. (I know there are caveats, shipping and streaming and stretch goals and all that; they’re not germane to my point.)

And more power to Matt Colville for it! This is in no way sour grapes on my part: The book sounds cool (I love domain-level stuff in games), and he’s obviously onto something here. I wish him the best, and I hope the project does even better than I think it will.

But streaming, and for the most part YouTube, have just passed me by. I’m constitutionally unsuited to appearing on camera, and I’m terrible at marketing. This is not a world I understand even remotely.

I anchored my understanding of what a career in gaming might be like to a fundamentally flawed view of the world. The sky is now purple, and my hands are waffles. There is a giant gorilla blotting out the sun. He is, for some reason, drinking a lobster.

I can’t think of anything in the past decade that has made me feel as old and out of touch as the Strongholds & Streaming Kickstarter.

[1] Final tally: $2.1 million.

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