TSR Whatever Happened To TSR's Michael?


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Faolyn

(she/her)
What's Michael, you say?

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Snarf: Um, created the IP that continues to be successfully mined by Hasbro to this day?

How about I put it this way:

From a creative standpoint, TSR created some amazing art and content that lives strong to this day. From a commercial standpoint, TSR represented terrible business practices and died painfully.

The new TSR has created no new artwork or creative content, yet they are still striving to follow in the old TSR's footsteps.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
How about I put it this way:

From a creative standpoint, TSR created some amazing art and content that lives strong to this day. From a commercial standpoint, TSR represented terrible business practices and died painfully.

You could say that.

Just like I could say that WoTC, and D&D, exemplify the worst of modern corporate practices in that the risk is offloaded to the employees ... sorry, there are almost no employees working for D&D ... "independent contractors" while the parent corporation retains all of the profits in order to distribute those profits to its shareholders. And while they certainly strive to make people feel good (and I genuinely appreciate that they do their best to make the game more inclusive and representative), they are not particularly good corporate citizens in terms of their actions.

Sure. TSR did engage in litigation (who doesn't ... what, HASBRO doesn't sue people?), and TSR had its share of issues, including eventually going out of business, not to mention laying off people. But at least they were employing people to lay them off.

Regardless, any company that employs creatives and allows for that much amazing work deserves to be lauded. Given that the vast majority of Hasbro's D&D output is derivative of TSR's original work, or, at best, derivative of WOTC's M:TG stuff, I'm not sure I would be so quick to discount the original TSR. Especially when one of your points is:

And lets not forget that TSR was the brand associated with D&D during the satanic panic.

TSR standing up to the scolds and fearmongers of the 1980s, given the atmosphere of the time, was a profile in courage. Not something to be sneered at.

Just saying.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
You could say that.

Just like I could say that WoTC, and D&D, exemplify the worst of modern corporate practices in that the risk is offloaded to the employees ... sorry, there are almost no employees working for D&D ... "independent contractors" while the parent corporation retains all of the profits in order to distribute those profits to its shareholders. And while they certainly strive to make people feel good (and I genuinely appreciate that they do their best to make the game more inclusive and representative), they are not particularly good corporate citizens in terms of their actions.

Sure. TSR did engage in litigation (who doesn't ... what, HASBRO doesn't sue people?), and TSR had its share of issues, including eventually going out of business, not to mention laying off people. But at least they were employing people to lay them off.

Regardless, any company that employs creatives and allows for that much amazing work deserves to be lauded. Given that the vast majority of Hasbro's D&D output is derivative of TSR's original work, or, at best, derivative of WOTC's M:TG stuff, I'm not sure I would be so quick to discount the original TSR. Especially when one of your points is:

And lets not forget that TSR was the brand associated with D&D during the satanic panic.

TSR standing up to the scolds and fearmongers of the 1980s, given the atmosphere of the time, was a profile in courage. Not something to be sneered at.

Just saying.
Hasbro is actually a good corporate citizen, they've actually won awards from ethics warchdog groups for responsible behavior. Nothing to do with TSR, kind of besides the point, but it's a thing. The D&D team is also sizeable, now.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Hasbro is actually a good corporate citizen, they've actually won awards from ethics warchdog groups for responsible behavior. Nothing to do with TSR, kind of besides the point, but it's a thing. The D&D team is also sizeable, now.

Really> Great awards, huh?

Let's see,,,,

1. Hasbro makes a lot of toys. A LOT OF TOYS. Where are those toys made? What are the working conditions in those places? Yes, those Are rhetorical questions, and if you don't already know the answer, I wouldn't suggest googling it- it's not great for the "ethical awards." :)

2. Lawsuits? Well, to begin with, there is the pretty well-known issue of Hasbro's executives dumping their stock while not fully divulging the company's financial position. But that's par for the course.* Given the issue at hand (C&D letters) it is hardly surprising that Hasbro is well-known for protecting their IP. And that's before getting to the thorny issue of how Hasbro (like many other companies, such as Marvel/DIsney) has used variations of the work for hire doctrine to ensure that creatives do not receive recompense for their labor.

3. Hasbro is well-known for poor compensation ... assuming you are in a division that bothers hiring its creatives.


Again, I truly appreciate that Hasbro does things - from keeping D&D around, to making games more inclusive, to not gendering the folk in, um, the greater Potato Head Extended Universe (movie soon!). But being a truly good corporate citizen should require more than the bare minimum of making your products inclusive- it should require paying employees good wages, not using sweatshop labor ... you know, stuff like that.

YMMV,


*I mean, what company's executives don't benefit to the detriment of the shareholders? To do otherwise would be ... un-American!
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Really> Great awards, huh?

Let's see,,,,

1. Hasbro makes a lot of toys. A LOT OF TOYS. Where are those toys made? What are the working conditions in those places? Yes, those Are rhetorical questions, and if you don't already know the answer, I wouldn't suggest googling it- it's not great for the "ethical awards." :)

2. Lawsuits? Well, to begin with, there is the pretty well-known issue of Hasbro's executives dumping their stock while not fully divulging the company's financial position. But that's par for the course.* Given the issue at hand (C&D letters) it is hardly surprising that Hasbro is well-known for protecting their IP. And that's before getting to the thorny issue of how Hasbro (like many other companies, such as Marvel/DIsney) has used variations of the work for hire doctrine to ensure that creatives do not receive recompense for their labor.

3. Hasbro is well-known for poor compensation ... assuming you are in a division that bothers hiring its creatives.


Again, I truly appreciate that Hasbro does things - from keeping D&D around, to making games more inclusive, to not gendering the folk in, um, the greater Potato Head Extended Universe (movie soon!). But being a truly good corporate citizen should require more than the bare minimum of making your products inclusive- it should require paying employees good wages, not using sweatshop labor ... you know, stuff like that.

YMMV,


*I mean, what company's executives don't benefit to the detriment of the shareholders? To do otherwise would be ... un-American!
Really neither here nor there, but WotC does print in the U.S, one of the reasons their books cost more than many smaller companies. You can Google Hasbro and ethic watch, and while they are not angels, they do have an earned reputation.

In a vague attempt to keep this on topic, however, OG TSR wasn't about to win any awards for ethical behavior, it was more of a tawdry soap opera. Some good work came out of the train wreck, but it's certainly not a name that screams professionalism or integrity. Probably not a brand name worth attempting to salvage, let alone whatever this display turned out to be.

Edited.to add: sorry @Umbran
 



RFB Dan

Podcast host, 6-edition DM, and guy with a pulse.
I dunno. I heard a "rumor" (totally not something I just made up for humor) that Michael the imaginary PR rep got sacked after he ran off with Grits's "girlfriend" that nobody met because she lives in Niagara Falls. :p #TheLegendaryGirlfriendFromNiagaraFallsJoke
 







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