Those Orcs Had It Coming to Them
Don't mess with the Game People.
Here's a question: There's a Slate article—Erik Sofge's "Orc Holocaust"—on a very well-known game, and many many readers respond to the article. Is it better if those posts are read by someone who is an expert in the field, or someone who knows nothing whatsoever about the popular culture under discussion? It seems obvious that a little expertise wouldn't come amiss, but we have decided to go with the naive user, whose only qualification is that once, years ago, she did Fray Notes about arcade games, and it is her favorite of all the ones she ever did, ever: ("the stony Fray heart, totally immune as it is to computer games of all kinds, was melted by the many posters who said they loved the article just because it reminded them of their young days in the arcades." Please go and read the whole thing here). Oh, what's that you say? Arcade games are not at all the same as Dungeons & Dragons? Oh. Oh well.
While we're revisiting the past, it may be time to revive the Fray Multiple Post summarizer. There were more than 200 posts, and a lot of them can be filed in the following categories:
1) "As an avid gamer for almost two decades, I disagree with Erik Sofge"—that's the polite version.
2) "Your dungeon master sucked," i.e., bad formative experience explains perceived bad attitude.
3) "whiny neckbearded contrarian trollery," from our favorite Frayname, omphaloskepsis.
4) "I can't think of anyone who belittles Henry Ford because his automobiles have been transformed into something far superior. Or, for that matter, the first person to come up with the household mop." NiceGuyMike lives up to his name—many people were much ruder.
5) "give me a break, those orcs had it coming to them…the only enemy worth killing are other players….[we played] a raunchy adults-only version, titled Dungeons and Drag Queens"—an amalgam of lines that at least were comprehensible to an outsider.
6) "Wasn't it 'half-elves' that were the hybrid mage/warrior?"—totally incomprehensible to outsiders.
Writer Erik Sofge bravely came into the Fray himself, and he had a couple of defenders, but they are thin on the ground.
So we'll end with Nacoran (who endearingly says, "I know I'm a geek") and a mysterious account of what really goes on:
Moira Redmond, a former "Fray" editor at Slate, is a freelance writer living in England. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.