Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Old Timer's Rose Tinted Glasses?

So I was involved in a discussion on warseer about the behavior of Games Workshop and someone was claiming that much of the newer additions to the fluff in 40K has been pretty poor.  Everyone seemed to agree that the older stuff was better done but I wondered if we might just have skewed perspectives on it.  Many of us veterans were initially brought into the gaming circles when we were young.  A Teen or maybe a preteen if you had older siblings or parents into it.  Now I can see two reasons how this would affect our judgement on these issue.

First, being young we were easy to impress.  We had been exposed to significantly fewer concepts so things that seem new and exciting might have in fact been very derivative and unoriginal.  Take the picture above which I actually just picked out of my archive as one of the oldest 40K related fluff image I had taken (photo of my Space Marine box which is in pretty good shape), but as I was writing I remembered something about that image.  Those marines look pretty series but take a closer look at the bad mother there on the center left.  Does that look sort of familiar.

That is clearly not an accident.  The painter must have consulted this image during the production of that work.  It might not be close enough for GW to get sued but there was that Obama Hope poster where the artist used a photo from the AP to make the drawing then lied about it and settled a suit.  Now I do not think I had seen Scarface when I was like 13 years old back at the end of the eighties since that was before there where 300 cable channels to keep filled with programming, so I am not sure if I would have known the image origin but I definitely thought those marines looked like bad mothers.

Second, first exposure bias.  I think your first exposure to these new worlds and characters is going to be more important than later information that you might encounter especially if it contradicts stuff that you already know.  Now for me I do not have a copy of the Rogue Trader book to compare the truly classic fluff of the 40K universe with modern stuff but I do have my Space Marine rulebook.  Now this is a book that every piece of fluff is about Space Marines and the Horus Heresy time period.  They have schematics of armor and weapons and discuss all sort of things related to primarchs and marines.  You know what I have never been able to find.  Any type of information that suggests that Space Marines have any abnormal height characteristics.  Marines being 7+ ft tall seems like a detail that would be in there but I went looking and could not find it.  Since this was my initial exposure to Space Marines, I know that have a unconscious scoff at any mention of "true scale" space marine stuff.

Now I mentioned these two issues and used the example that given a choice I will almost always choose my second edition lead blood bowl minis over anything else I have. I said that I could not say if that is because they really do look better or that I am just biased to like them since they are what I think that team should look like.  Another reader responded that no miniatures should look like Blood Bowl miniatures.  When I investigated what he meant, he was essentially saying that the Blood Bowl minis he had seen where badly done and did not like them.  Being a collector of Blood Bowl minis I was sort of offended so I followed up to find out what minis specifically he was referring to.  It turns out he was talking about the minis from the beginning of the third edition and later which are also not my favorite so maybe it is not rose colored glasses.  I think probably the 90's was the worst time for GW miniature design.  They took on a very cartoony feel with bright colors and oversized accessories.  Maybe sometimes the older stuff was really better.

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