D&D General Understanding History: Why Serious Scholarship of D&D Matters

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I tend to agree, and I (as evidenced by my history of posts) clearly fall into the Peterson camp. I would also say that he has truly grown as a writer since Playing at the World, in that he has learned to take his style and turn it into fairly compelling reading.

But yeah, while I appreciate what Riggs has done (especially w/r/t excavating data from the 80s and 90s), I do not like the "gloss" he uses in his writing. What he thinks makes it more readable, simply makes it more unreliable to me.

I read "Slaying the Dragon" first and, while I liked it, I was frustrated by the same thing.

Just finishing Game Wizards, which has also put me right into the Peterson camp.
 

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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I read "Slaying the Dragon" first and, while I liked it, I was frustrated by the same thing.

Just finishing Game Wizards, which has also put me right into the Peterson camp.
Although to clarify, it's not as if there's a real rivalry or anything. The two are on good terms and coordinated / consulted on research with one another on those two books to try to make sure their facts lined up for the period of overlap.

I, too, prefer Peterson's style, but he's also been doing it longer and has polished his a bit. His newer books are less dry than Playing at the World. I still enjoyed Riggs' book and found it informative despite having a couple of complaints about the prose.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Although to clarify, it's not as if there's a real rivalry or anything. The two are on good terms and coordinated / consulted on research with one another on those two books to try to make sure their facts lined up for the period of overlap.

I, too, prefer Peterson's style, but he's also been doing it longer and has polished his a bit. His newer books are less dry than Playing at the World. I still enjoyed Riggs' book and found it informative despite having a couple of complaints about the prose.
Riggs definitely put in the work. And it shows in the book. I'm not at all regretting the purchase, just minor griping - for the most part.
 

bloodtide

Legend
I would call into question the "serious scholarship".

It's already bad enough that such a "scholar" is just a person with a biased agenda that typical does not care about the topic and only cares about the money they will make from it.

And it just gets worse as the only way to become such a "scholar" is by joining the capitalist corporate infrastructure society and being exactly what "they" tell you be and think.

And is more and more worse as the "scholar" is just a human with the typical hundred or so human flaws, ones they don't know or understand they have. And yet this "scholar" will high five themselves and say they are an "perfect expert".

And it's only ten times worse when this type of person is an outsider, but thinks they are a "super hard core insider" as they did play D&D a couple times in collage and once they dropped a d20.
 

Yora

Legend
Is there any historic debates and controversy about games other than D&D? Do fans of other games care about any of that stuff?
 

Voadam

Legend
Is there any historic debates and controversy about games other than D&D? Do fans of other games care about any of that stuff?
The more popular a game is, and the more stuff there is, the more you will get debates and controversies. Plenty of games have had lots of revisions and different ways to approach them.

White Wolf for example has had plenty of debates and controversies. Changes in editions. Sexual exploitation themes in some Exalted material, World of Darkness Gypsies, the collapse of the company once it got taken over by the video game company, New World of Darkness versus Old World of Darkness. Metaplot issues.

As things age over decades they get glosses and memories become less reliable.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Is there any historic debates and controversy about games other than D&D? Do fans of other games care about any of that stuff?
Well, there's ownership questions about a whole bunch of Fantasy Games Unlimited games and plenty of legal wrangling. So, yes, there's some out there, but like the ol' 800 lb gorilla and its marketshare, D&D also dominates the shady-, sleaze-, and gossip-shares.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I would call into question the "serious scholarship".

It's already bad enough that such a "scholar" is just a person with a biased agenda that typical does not care about the topic and only cares about the money they will make from it.
What on Earth are you talking about?

Certainly we need to be wary of people who write poorly- or un-researched books as cheap cash grabs. But those are at best tangential to the topic of this thread.

Whose scholarship are you calling into question? Specifically?

I know there are a couple of older books on D&D which shade more into personal memoir than into historical research, sure. I know Ethan Gilsdorf's Fantasy Freakd and Gaming Geeks has gotten some criticism of that kind.
 


Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I know there are a couple of older books on D&D which shade more into personal memoir than into historical research, sure. I know Ethan Gilsdorf's Fantasy Freakd and Gaming Geeks has gotten some criticism of that kind.
There are several books about the hobby that are personal takes rather than historical overviews; Gilsdorf's is one, Mark Barrowcliffe's The Elfish Gene is another, and so is Shelly Mazzanoble's Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons (seriously, when the author is writing about a recent meeting of their homeowner's association, a history book it's not).

That doesn't mean they aren't entertaining or informative, of course. But it's certainly nothing to criticize them over, any more than you'd criticize Clash of the Titans for not being historically accurate.
 

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