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(TFT) Rant: part II

"To make a popular game requires popular culture"
- Milton Bradley, founding principle

I.  Milton Bradley started out very small.

They are property of Hasbro now, but at one point they were a giant. According to the research I did they took scraps from their fabric factory and glued them to pencil boxes. These sold very well. Does anyone remember that children used to go to school with a "pencil box?" They would keep their eraser, glue, and little sharpener in there. Milton Bradley sold a box that was not only covered in pretty fabrics with a nice textured feel, but they included a free toy as well. This was the birth of the Milton Bradley toy company. The fabric cost them nothing as it was actually a waste product of their fabric shops. Kids with the colorful pencil boxes were the envy of other students. The other pencil boxes of the time were lucky to even be color, let alone textured. And it had a toy!

I have no idea, but I suspect at the time the teachers liked the new pencil boxes. The only current equivalent that comes to mind is the Game Boy and Cell phones. But teachers do not like these things at all. It's not so much that the popular culture has changed, which it has, it's that Game Boys, and Cell phones do not make better students. Consider role playing games when they first hit the scene. DM's and players alike found themselves doing more research, interested in learning more, and putting a premium on informed accuracy. Teachers like the "Harry Potter" books, or so I'm told, because it makes students _want_ to read. Some would even hazard to say "_want_ to go to school so they can be with their friends." Just like Harry. Be that as it may, where does that leave us?

Back in the night; having some friends over, sitting around the kitchen table, rolling up characters, and eating munchies was popular culture. Things have changed. Is the kitchen table dead? I don't know. But this I do know...

    What finger do you ring a doorbell with?

If you think of your index finger then you are from my generation. The index finger IS the button pushing finger. But if you thought of the side of the thumb you are from the current generation. This is because kids in class send Instant messages to each other while pretending to look at the teacher. They hold the cell phone below the desk top with one hand, and punch in the Instant Message with the side of their thumb. A by product of this is that kids from this generation will push a door bell with the side of their thumb as well. The thumb _is_ the button pushing finger.

supporting evidence...

Consider Japanese high school students. They get together after school. Maybe at a coffee shop, maybe an arcade. But the point is they do not plan this in advance. As soon as school is out they Instant Message each other, and the meeting place is spontaneous. It has become a social Faux Pas (or False Step) to not have a Cell phone. If you miss the meeting of friends because you don't have a Cell phone, or you don't have batteries, the _bad_ is on your head. You are out of the loop. The circle will close without you. Now if you want to be part of the popular culture of the after high school meetings and social gatherings in Japan you _have_ to have a cell phone. Not "Mommy i _want_ a cell phone". It is "Mommy I _have_ to have a Cell phone" or I will be an outcast and untouchable. The location of the kitchen table matters not at all. Being connected to the network when this days' table is picked does. I conclude section (1) with these words. If you want to role play, get two people together.

David Michael Grouchy II
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