No Love for the GM
Scott Hardie | November 23, 2001
UPDATE: Kelly and I talked this morning. She still hasn't read this, but I explained it to her. She claims that she was only playing devil's advocate, arguing Erik and Jason's point of view. She disagrees with them. As long as my games don't interfere with important things that I'm supposed to be doing, she's all in favor of me doing them. I believe her, but she's played devil's advocate several times in the past, and I will be waiting to see if she does it again. As for this long entry, it still stands as a response to all of my detractors. Just use "Kelly" as a variable to mean any detractor over time, not Kelly herself.
Matthew Preston | November 23, 2001
Hey guy, calm down. As a wise man Billy Zane once said, fight with love and there is no battle that you cannot win.... or something like that.... I guess my point is that Billy Zane got weird, or was he always that way?
Alright, for real though. I have known you for quite a while, granted not as long as some of your other friends, but I think that I get a say having lived with you several times.
The things you do with your website(s) are amazing. I have said on numerous occasions that I only have respect for your dedication and devotion to your work. I do not think that you deserve anything other than praise. Reading the story of Erik, Jason, and Aaron in WPS3 was kind of a shock... for a second of two. It plays well into your point, but it is something that wouldn't surprise me that Jason and Erik would do. (I don't know Aaron, so I can't say one way or the other). It is also something that sounds like Jason would come up with. You and he, although friends for years, have this total love-hate relationship. Regarless of whether either of you admit it or not, you enjoy fighting... nuff said about that, not my real point here, just an observation.
So, just where is the problem here? Two things, first off is... Most of your friends (and most people for that matter) are spur of the moment happiness types. What I mean is : When people become friends, they usually just go with the flow and let situations occur. There is never a real plan for good times, they just get together when time is available and do whatever.
Although these random encounters do happen with you, a lot of get-togethers are pre-arranged. It can seem from time to time that our happy moments are scripted in advance. I know that that is never the case, it just seems that way. You spend a lot of time planning out happy moments, instead of just letting them happen on their own. This is not neccesarily a bad thing, just different from the way a lot of us think. This can take you back through everything you have done in the past. People may have ridiculed you for setting up clubs for playing video games, etc.. but they way others think is : If we like Nintendo, lets just get together and play Nintendo, we don't need to go into so much detail.
The other prominent factor in it is this: That joining any sort of club that didn't involve sports throughout school was considered a loser activity. Most of us are freaks and geeks, and most of us are not willing to accept it. Everyone wanted to be liked throughout their childhood and the fact of telling others at school that they joined a Nintendo club that a friend made up is not the sort of socially acceptable thing that anyone would want to mention. The same exact thing goes on now. A lot of what you and our friends consider fun activities are viewed as geeky activities. Computers (Internet), Video games, RPG's, collecting toys of video games (cough cough - guilty), not to mention making websites about them, are all considered total loser activities to the masses. Again, we all want to have fun, but we don't want to come across as having TOO much fun and fall into that realm of dork.
I for one am a dork and I will participate in all geek activities as long as there is time to do it. I am a Star Wars and Star Trek fan. I can't go more than a few hours without playing video games, and although this is the hardest one to admit, I watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on a religious basis.
The point is that only a select few of your friends are willing to come to terms with the fact that they enjoy things that are deemed socially destructive. So be it, let them put on a false face and act their way through the rest of their lives. The rest of us can have fun and enjoy what life has to offer.
Scott Hardie | November 24, 2001
Thanks for the long comment, Matt. I've always counted on you to be one of the people in my corner on this matter.
Your second point made things a lot more clear. "We all want to have fun, but we don't want to come across as having TOO much fun and fall into that realm of dork." That seems to me to make a lot of sense. I can't say it's the truth because I can't read minds (I wouldn't have written this frustrated post in the first place if I could), but it does seem to make sense when applied to some of my detractors. I think it's more about feeling like a dork than seeming like a dork, but either way I agree.
For the record, Aaron was just going along with Erik and Jason's plan, since they needed a third player to make it work. I don't think he really wanted to do it.
You've made me feel a lot better. Thanks, old friend. :-)
Anna Gregoline | November 25, 2001
Geez, Scott, I had no idea. Kris and I didn't have the plan "all along" as you speculate about...it only came about when it was clear we wouldn't have the end we were expecting.
I know I certainly didn't mean any disrespect. I have always enjoyed your games, and marveled at the amount of work you put into them. I, too, bemoan when people do not participate as much as they should - the first WPS was so much fun, because there was so much going on.
Perhaps you need a break from all this?
I don't know what else to say, except I really didn't think Kris and I did anything wrong, we were just trying to play the game. Maybe I should have been chivlrous and bowed out, or, instead, been cruel and betrayed Kris, but I simply couldn't this time. Didn't feel I could betray him and I certainly couldn't get rid of myself - self-sacrifice is not survival.
I hope you feel better about it all soon.
Brannan Conrad | November 26, 2001
Welp, that certainly brngs things into light, I am a huge dork. I always knew there was a reason I was ridiculed and such, now I know it's because I'm a loser.
Scott Hardie | December 3, 2001
My apologies on taking so long to comment further on this. Partly I've been busy, partly I've been lazy, and partly I just haven't wanted to think about it again.
My anger has passed. I vented most of it in this entry, and the rest in the WPS4 retrospective. There is nothing left except gratitude and appreciation for Anna and Kris for playing well in my game and giving it a good effort.
Anna - By "all along" I just meant that you planned it as it went down that week. I should have used a less vague figure of speech. You have always been one of the heartiest supporters of my games and I'm very grateful for it.
Eddie - I don't know you well enough to adequately judge you as a loser or not, but even if I knew you better, I think I'd be a poor judge of that anyway. Beside that, I'm just happy to have you in my games. :-)
Kris - If you read this, I'm sorry.
Scott Hardie | December 3, 2001
WPS3 retrospective, I meant. Sheesh. Perhaps I do need a break.
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Scott Hardie | November 23, 2001
Kelly and I have had the same argument before. But it still hurts every time. Why do my games on the web earn me derision instead of respect? It's not like she (or my other detractors) have to play in them.
The newest problem is the ending of Web Page Survivor 3, now in progress. The game is supposed to come down to two people in the end, with the previous seven ejectees voting on who should be allowed to win. When an alliance is threatened at this late stage of the game, the generally accepted way to go is to let fate take its course, or let the voters have their whims, whichever way you see it. If an alliance must be broken, then so be it; every alliance should be disbanded when the right time comes.
However, Anna and Kris didn't see it that way. They were a two-way partnership, but the third player, Daniel, got Final Immunity. Instead of letting Daniel settle it like most other players would, then face him in the end (conventional wisdom says either of them would beat Daniel in the end vote for reasons I won't get into here), they decided to beat the rules of the game. They arranged it so that there would be a tie vote: Knowing (though Daniel didn't tell them) that Daniel would vote for Kris, Kris voted for Anna and Anna refused to vote. This forced a tie, and I spent several hours in headache mode with several advice-giving friends to find a solution to the problem. When I announced that the end of the game would feature all three of them as contestants, I soon received an email from Kris, in which he informed me that his plan had worked despite his expectations. It seemed like gloating, but I can't say for sure.
So that's how it works, I guess. You screw over eight people in the course of the game, including a loyal and obediant ally (their former partner Kelly), but that's not enough. If the game works against you, you screw over the game, too. Don't let anything like rules or ethics stand in your way.
I fully admit that part of me is in awe of them. They came up with a plan to beat the system, and it worked. If I represent the rules (I didn't invent them but I do enforce them), then Anna and Kris outsmarted me, and I hereby give them credit for their craftiness in doing so. But the rest of me is steamed. Don't fuck with my games. Daniel and I vented to each other (he seemed to be madder than I was) for hours about how unfair, wrong, and treasonous it was for them to behave that way. I thought that my wonderful discussion with Daniel got it all out of my system. With me, logic wins out in the end: They didn't break any rules, so I don't have any logical reason to be mad at them. I certainly won't punish them.
But I made the mistake of telling Kelly about this tonight as she was lying down to go to sleep and I was lying beside her. In the middle of the mess on Tuesday night, I had mentioned that Anna's non-vote had screwed everything up, and how mad I would be if I found out that Kris and Anna had planned the whole thing. It was a question mark, and unknown. Tonight, I remembered to tell her, as a follow-up to our earlier discussion.
Her response was that I was wrong to get mad about it. The point of the game is surviving, and they did what they had to do to survive. End of story. She was already mad at Kris and Anna for betraying her weeks earlier, but she took their side in this situation. Fine, I can certainly see the logic in that, and I acknowledged then and now the cleverness of their plan. But I am the administrator of the game, and it is my responsibility to run a fair, clean game. Do I not have the right to be mad if somebody fucks with my fair, clean game? Especially if my own ethics prevent me from doing anything about it? All I was saying was that I was upset that someone played the game improperly and unfairly, but no, *I* was the one who was wrong, just for being upset.
I brought up what could have happened in WPS2 this past spring. Erik Nelson and Jason Fedorow were allies for a while (they made it about halfway before being toasted by other players), but Jason told me weeks later that he and Erik and a third ally Aaron Fischer were planning to fuck with me. They were going to get all the way to the Final Three, and then, no matter which one of them got Final Immunity, they were all going to stop playing. No votes, no participation of any kind. And their sole purpose in doing this was to play a prank on me. Why? What did I do to deserve that? Plan the best game that I could for their amusement? Ungrateful shits.
When I mentioned this to Kelly, she said that I deserved it. I take my games too seriously, and they were right to try to take me down a peg.
This is the real seed of my discontent, the real cause of my anger at the moment. I'm still feeling a little residual anger over the Anna-Kris strategy, but I'm mostly past it. But I'm really mad at Kelly's insistence that I take my games too seriously and that people should fuck with me for it. She's definitely not the only person to say or imply so, but she said it tonight, and I'm writing about it tonight, so she's the person on my mind.
If anybody is reading this, please tell me why in the fucking world I deserve this kind of disrespect. I plan my games for other people. My hobby, since I was a boy, has always been planning entertainment for other people. I used to organize little clubs for my friends, be they about Nintendo or G.I.Joe or cute little animals, depending how far back you go. And back then, my friends teased me for it and harassed me for it. In my teen years, I ran RPGs, I wrote comics and stories, I organized big multiplayer games for birthday parties, all for my friends. In college, I ran a gargantuan RPG on the web for five years, along with at least a dozen other minor games in one form or another. I hosted and even wrote my own murder mystery parties. I took money out of my own pocket for prizes. I spent hours, almost every day, planning events and activities for the enjoyment of other people. It's what has made my life worth living.
And every step of the way, for every person who was grateful for all of my efforts, there was always somebody ready to pick on me for it. Why do I give so much energy to these things? Shouldn't I be doing better things with my time? I'm so stupid for wasting my time on other people.
Fuck you if you think that. Nobody's putting a gun to your head and forcing you to play. If you don't like my games or the way that I run them, don't fucking play. Guess what - I don't want you.
The other thing that bothers me about what Kelly said is the taking the games too seriously part. How else should I take them? I do not sit here at my computer working on the games all day long, contrary to popular perception. Actual time spent on all of my games, total, is about an hour a day, sometimes as high as three hours a day during busy periods. Is that too much time to devote to a hobby? I have let some games go downhill. I have stopped paying attention to them, and they wilted and perished like dry plants. So some attention is necessary, and that's what I think I give them. If I were truly serious about all of my games, the Sims Interactive wouldn't have failed three lousy weeks ahead of schedule, and the world game, far and away the best game I've ever run, wouldn't have met such an unglorious, unattended end. For the past few months, I've been updating the goo game and the Survivor game (my current regulars) in the evenings of their update days. That's eighteen hours behind schedule. If I was serious about them, I'd stay up an extra hour for each one the night before to get them done on time. But I'm lazy, and I get to them when I get to them. As long as they do get done near the deadline, I'm not particular. Does that sound serious to you?
I've had it. Kelly doesn't like the way I run my games, I'm going to ask her to stop playing in them. And the same goes for anybody else out there. If you think that Scott Hardie is a big fool for spending so much time on these games and projects for other people, and that he deserves disrespect instead of gratitude for what he does, then bend over and suck his fucking dick, because that's all you're getting out of him any more.