Monday, February 23, 2015

What We Sell

I had thought to comment on why WOTC’s Organized Play program surpasses, currently, any other company’s OP program or why, for the umpteenth time, an established publisher launched a Kickstarter for their next release. However, those can wait.  

The store stet up at Concave, a relaxacon ( as science fiction convention with little to no programming, designed mainly to allow people in the SF fan community to visit with each other and drink large quantities of alcohol), looking out the window at rain falling on the snow covered Kentucky landscape and musing about what I see as I gaze across the convention space.

People playing games.

People playing Magic, Chaos in the Old World, Cards Against Humanity (multiple groups of this), Wizard, Munchkin, Dungeons and Dragons, Talisman (with most of the expansions, it takes two 6’ tables to set everything up), Netrunner, Pathfinder,  Cthulhu Fluxx, Ogre. There’s a group organizing a Vampire:   The Maquarade LARP (Live Action Role-Playing for those who don’t speak acronym) down the hall for later on tonight.

What I don’t see:  people hunched over, staring at screens, interacting with people through the Interwebs rather than across the table.

What I do see:  people talking with each other, laughing, cursing, waving their arms around as they show the size of the monster they just killed.

What I don’t see:  people sitting around shut out because no-one wants to include them.

What I do see: players inviting others to join them for a game, experienced players offering to teach new players how to play, people enthusiastically pulling the shrink wrap off the copy of Machi Koro they just bought, ready to separate the pieces and dive into the rules.

What I don’t see:  people playing a game because they “have to”.

What I do see:  people of multiple ages, races and sexes, stilling together around a table because they want to.

What I don’t see:  any form of directed or Organized Play taking place, no one recording points or running any tournament software.

What I do see:  People having fun.

That is the wonderful thing about working in the gaming industry. I get to sell things people use to have fun. I get to sell a good time. No one ever plays a game because they “have to”. Playing games is something we do because we “want to”.

People in the game industry, especially the retail end, complain a lot about  out of stocks and industry exclusives and reductions in discount and price increases and out of stocks…wait, I said that one already. We are actually luckier than the manufacturers and distributors because we get to deal with the people who actually buy the games.  Yes, it is a pain in various parts of the anatomy when a customer asks us to pull two-dozen cards out of a binder than changes their mind and only buys 4 of them (and if you do this, know that the person behind the counter is annoyed with you) but we also get to see the kid dig out just enough change for a pack of Pokemon and excitedly open it.

I get to sell fun and, you know, that’s a pretty good job to have.