Back in the day, I was a huge GURPS fan. I loved the hell out of their source books. Treasure troves of information for my games. I’d get the occasional HERO supplement for the same reason. And they were as much for the “exploring ideas about our world” part as they were for gaming.
I haven’t bought one of those books in years, unless it was purely for the gaming material or I wanted that specific author’s take on things (like with Kenneth Hite‘s GURPS Horror 4/e, even though I don’t play GURPS anymore). Why? Because of Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is a thousand gaming resources in one. Want to know more about Enochian? Planes that paratroopers used in WWII? Aztec swords? The Bering Strait? Poet Laureates? The Holy Roman Empire? The New Model Army? Done, done, done, done, done, done and done!
(I hereby apologize for those I just subjected to the Wikipedia effect.)
Ken Hite has often said, and I totally agree with him, that in creating worlds for games: “Use Earth, it’s playtested.” It’s also well-documented #icmf.
I have gotten so much use out of Wikipedia, as a research tool, as an inspiration tool, and as a boredom relief tool. Lately, I’ve been seeing the appeals by the Wikipedia folks to fund raise, and at this point I’m pretty trained to ignore those top banners. But last night I didn’t. Last night, I clicked on the personal appeal of one of their programmers, and read his story.
Then I thought about the number of source books I haven’t bought in years, because of Wikipedia. And I thought of this season of giving thanks.
How much did I pay back in the day for one of those books? $20? $25? That’s a small price to pay for the thousands of virtual source books that I have access to now.
And it’s a small price to pay to keep that available for other gamers.
(It’s American Thanksgiving weekend, so the blog’ll be dark for the next few days.)