Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A short note on the intersection between books and games

I've been busy at both work and home (which includes finally getting the 30 year old sliding doors replaced), so I've not had time to do much online, much less post about it. However, there is one item that stuck with me.

A week or so ago my son (mini-Red #2) asked if he could read my copy of The Silmarillion. He's his own copy of LOTR and The Hobbit, so I grabbed my hardbound version and said "Sure!"

Then as I was removing the dust jacket I discovered that the copy I'd bought brand new back in 1991 was actually a first edition printing* and I told him that I'd get him one from the library instead.

He's been reading The Silmarillion --he's up to the part where Orome discovers the Elves-- and he informed me that while it is really different in tone than what he's used to, he really likes it. But what he really finds enlightening is that he finally now understands a lot of the Kinship names that he sees around LOTRO.

I smiled at that insight, but he couldn't see it since we were driving in the car at night.

But he hit on one of the things that makes LOTRO unique among MMO circles.

While a lot of MMOs do have their share of guilds/players/etc. who pay homage to the source material, no playerbase goes to such levels of faithfulness as the LOTRO crowd does.

Sure, LOTRO has it's share of asshats --all MMOs do-- but LOTRO's playerbase is on the whole more in love with Middle-earth than any other MMO out there. And, given Star Wars and Star Trek fandom, that's saying something.

LOTRO is overdue for an update to some aspects of the game --namely the toon/NPC graphics-- but reverence for the source material is something that Turbine nailed. They'll never be the #1 subscriber based MMO out there, but their fans are very loyal and very fanatical.

*I always thought it odd that I found a new hardcover for $10.99 back then, but I wasn't about to say no to such a cheap price. Looking back on it, however, I think I got the better end of the deal by far.


  1. I remember reading The Lord of the Rings, loving it, reading The Hobbit, enjoying it, buying the Silmarillion... and giving up about one chapter in.

    1. The Silmarillion is DEFINITELY not for everybody. It's got that high, distant voice people commonly associate with The Bible or other religious texts, and it's not an accessible work by any means. Still, I'm impressed that he's reading it without any prompting by me. I think we've the game to thank for that.