Mostly, I see a history of loving something that I don't get to do anymore.
Sure, I play a board game now and again and we gather for roleplaying once a week at James' place for Mutant's and Masterminds or whatever the soup du jour is... but I don't see a lot of "projects" on my shelf, like I used to.
I don't see any notes about unifinished game worlds or adventure paths I'd like to run for whatever fantasy RPG people are up for. I no longer collect odds and ends that will never end up in a campaign, but I hope they will. It's been 3 years since I cracked a Central Castings book, or thumbed through a Better Games design document.
Looking backwards, I see a lot of stuff I'll never get to do with gaming, ever again. And it makes me wonder what the future of gaming is for me...
It's tough looking forward at the idea of tabletop gaming and what it means. Everyone is in a holding pattern, waiting for the next big thing, but I think the industry is OUT of next big things. CCGs, pogs, clicky-bases, 3.0s... I think we're out of new ideas. Every time a new one comes along, people clamor around it, like vultures, trying to make a few pennies on their new idea... eventually killing interest in it prematurely.
WoWs dominance of everyone's attention has certainly curbed any chance of people gathering around a game table anytime soon and the writer's strike is sure to kill any chance of people gathering in front of a TV, either. There are no more gathering places. No more hangouts and clubs for people to enjoy their hobby. Even the internet sites are a hap-hazard array of angry kids, stoic idealists, and confused consumers all biting to be part of a community... any community... eager to taste that fruit they once bit into as adolescents.
But that's the past.
2008 is the future. A milestone in this, and every industry, as America and the West tries to make sense of variable-rate mortgages, globalization, outsourcing, recession, election fraud, global warming, entertainment, Gen-Y buying habits, and whatever new problems arise in the next 12 months.
How are people going to spend their free time? Their entertainment dollars? Their energies? What are we going to devote ourselves to?
Bigger $100 board games ala Fantasy Flight Games?
Small $10 card games ala Fluxx?
Virtual reality pets?
Live Action Experiences of the dependable kind (Universal Studios)?
What is left?
And where are we going?
ASIDE: Holy crud. The WLD thread on ENWorld.org is now over 100,000 views.