I Do Not Enjoy Opera

My wife likes opera and I have watched several live streams of the Metropolitan Opera with her. The Met has the best musicians, the best singers and the best production crew in the world of opera. My response? Meh.

I appreciate the effort that goes into it and I appreciate the amazing skill that everyone involved in opera has spent a lifetime acquiring. It takes a lot of time to be able to play an instrument or sing at that level.

Here’s one of the most famous arias from Carmen. Beautiful singing that is, for me, soporific.


On the other hand, TOOL is one of my favorite bands. Like all popular culture, they have their detractors but, if you scoff at the skill of Danny Carey, you are an idiot. I have watched this video at least six or seven times.


Here we have two different genres of music , two amazing performers who are at the height of their powers. Their skill is undeniable. One performance is “not for me” the other is “I can’t get enough.”

I think a lot of people have a hard time translating this concept of, “Not for me but I appreciate the skill,” to table top role playing games. RPG’s seem to defy the notion that a good game design can be for a different audience and that’s OK. The current in print game, in the minds of some, are better than past designs. They don’t have any understanding why you would play an older edition of a game or a game that is not the current “state of the art.”

In online discussions I have rarely seen, “This is a great design. I’ll never play it because it would bore the shit out of me but it is an undeniably great design.” It’s almost always a thumbs down or thumbs up. You’ll get some nuance depending on the reviewer but on the whole, we rarely get any sort of respect for the designer’s chops when the reviewer is not interested in the game.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of shit games and shit adventures out there. I’m only pointing out that there are some very good designs which do not resonate with the audience they are not intended for. These otherwise good games get tossed into the bin with the garbage when they deserve more consideration. Just because you don’t like Dungeons and Dragons (or a particular edition) or Apocalypse World or Shadowrun, doesn’t make them bad games or games that have parts that are good. If you completely write off a game because it’s “not for you” you miss opportunities to learn about what is good design.

Incorporating the best of what other designers have come up with, even if we don’t like their game as a whole game, can help us to make better games. I don’t think we get there without respecting those “not for me” games as being good or even great. 

2 thoughts on “I Do Not Enjoy Opera

  1. Pingback: System Matters but People Matter More – Grumpy Wizard

  2. Pingback: What is Enough? – Grumpy Wizard

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