So if the person they wouldn't interview decided to write it down, they'll use that? Feels like not taking interviews serious along with written and other interviews to collaborate is a serious shortcoming in historical fact finding in my opinion.Playing at the World is all original and extensive research. Ditto The Elusive Shift, which is an extensive history of early rpg discourse in the APAs.
As T. Foster says he doesn't take verbal recollections as fact, no historian does actually, which considering the rampant rumour-mongering and outright fabrications that have largely composed rpg 'history' up to this point I consider a refreshing tonic.
DeWalt and Laforge have done more conventional interview-based histories with reasonable journalistic rigour if one is interested in that although much of those verbal recollections have been refuted by Peterson's subsequent research.
Gygax had spent so long shaping the history of TSR while he ran it, he hardly was going to stop when he left, or ignore his final chapter. Because Gygax's years at TSR ended in disappointment, the narrative of TSR he now told was a tragedy: his new character was the hero betrayed by perfidious business partners...
...But that bitterness took a toll on the fidelity of his account, in claims about TSR's finances like "I began to see an inkling of trouble in the fall of 1984" which neglects the catastrophic situation TSR found itself in after its overextension by mid-1983, during which Gygax, as president, had no small inkling of trouble when the bank demanded they lay off a third of TSR's workforce...
...Weaponized rhetoric, which was originally forged during the battle for Dungeons & Dragons in the first decade of its existence, lays strewn throughout the historical record like unexploded ordinance...it has led many people--myself included--on wild-goose chases, trying to substantiate later claims that turn out to be will-o'-wisps born of the conflict...
It was the primary aim of this book to show, to the extent possible, the baseline events that all this rhetoric has obscured...A history like this can never resolve all the uncertainties around the story: some are ambiguities built into the history itself...but the nuance of these circumstances does not prevent us from understanding what happened, provided we can accept its unresolvability and the role it played...real people are messier than the characters they adopt for themselves or project on another.
Honestly, I don't think the "vilification" bothers her that much. She probably treated her time at TSR like a business and moved on -- she never really dealt with the TSR audience or public.I can’t imagine Lorraine Williams would want to talk after being vilified for 30+ years.
Yes, I don't think she'd be interested in being interviewed for a book on the gaming scene simply because she never really part of that scene. It was her job. If someone called me up to interview me about the office politics from a job that I had decades ago, I wouldn't be interested.Honestly, I don't think the "vilification" bothers her that much. She probably treated her time at TSR like a business and moved on -- she never really dealt with the TSR audience or public.
So far it looking pretty solid. I am just past the point where Donald Kaye died. Everybody is coming off as a nuanced human being. For example it is obvious Gygax's drive propels everything forward. But there a some stupid and petty things he does make you go "why do that man?"I think the debate on whether Peterson's research is accurate or gives equal time is covered in the epilogue chapter. I think he's trying to analyze things but one thing he's made clear is that the book is meant to be a skeptical look at various claims made over time. I'll add a few excepts to clarify Peterson's position, which I think does the best job explaining his mindset.
I'm roughly at the same point in the book that you are, any my take seems to mirror yours a lot as well. I don't see Jon "taking sides" at all here so far and the motivations for each of the main characters seem solid and reasonable. It's been fun to read so far.If it continues like this I think Jon Peterson is going to piss off all the hardliners both Gygaxian and Arnesonian. To me it echoes what I experienced dealing with clubs and small business over the past decades. I seen year long feuds erupt that started with a problem with a small amount of cash, a slight, or a small difference in opinion. And sometimes I got stuck in the middle
Pretty much. You could see it from earlier books like Hawk and Moor but you had to read some of it from in between the lines. Jon's book so far is painting a more complete picture of the dynamics.So Gary and Dave were human. Is that the gist of it? They get deified by so many that the truth hurts.
Over time, Arneson would increasingly argue the basic idea behind the game mattered more than its codification into a text.
Does he align it with potential things going on in their personal life? IIRC Gary got divorced around then but there seemed to be an implication there was an affair going on before hand for some time...that kind of puts pressure on a person.So far it looking pretty solid. I am just past the point where Donald Kaye died. Everybody is coming off as a nuanced human being. For example it is obvious Gygax's drive propels everything forward. But there a some stupid and petty things he does make you go "why do that man?"
Don Kaye died in 1975; Gary's divorce happened approx. a decade later and may or may not (depending on which rumors you lend credence to) have been a factor in his loss of control of TSR at the end of 1985. His assets being tied up in the divorce proceeding may have been the reason why he didn't have sufficient liquid capital ($300-400K) to be able to buy out the Blumes' ownership share in the summer of '85, which is what drove them to sell to Lorraine Williams instead. No idea if this is something Peterson talks about in the book or not (it wasn't mentioned in the original "Ambush at Sheridan Springs" article which leaves the motivation for Gygax's delay in buying out the Blumes' share after having promised to do so as an open mystery).Does he align it with potential things going on in their personal life? IIRC Gary got divorced around then but there seemed to be an implication there was an affair going on before hand for some time...that kind of puts pressure on a person.
I think Xanther was asking if the book dealt with that stuff "in general", not specifically tied to the year you had read.
The book touches upon divorces and marriages (not just Gary, one of the Blumes was divorcing as well while part of TSR). But it's very matter of fact, not trying to analyze specifics or get into too many sordid details.
This is a great book, and I love to read one chapter each day. Start on October 1, end on Halloween.I may have to set aside the other book I'm currently reading - A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny - because it's so good that I want to be able to continue savoring it and not rush to get through it.
Finished it last night. Such a good book! I can’t believe I went almost 20 years not knowing about it, especially since I was already a Zelazny (or at least Chronicles of Amber) fan at the time it was released.This is a great book, and I love to read one chapter each day. Start on October 1, end on Halloween.
Akkk I'm glad they released that song because it got them on tour again, but just plain awful and not Starship or Airplane to me. Good news on that tour (1981) they played that song, then it was all old stuff.I’m sure Taupin enjoyed the house “We Built This City” paid for.