Loosely following up: Is SJG Banking on Nostalgia?
Hey, I’m as nostalgic as the next guy. So when Steve Jackson Games decided to remake OGRE/GEV into a game in a box the size of a coffee table back in 2011, I thought it was cool. I wasn’t going to buy it, necessarily, but I thought it looked great. SJG made an important discovery on that release.. people will spend buckets of cash on nostalgia releases. Make no bones about it, I like what SJG does, but nothing they have released recently constitutes a radical departure in game design. One of the reasons we played Car Wars, OGRE/GEV, Illuminati and The Fantasy Trip back in the 80s was that they were new at that time. Nowadays, there are market alternatives to the SJG classics that, in my opinion, blow the earlier games out of the water, which is to be expected. That’s the thing; nostalgia releases succeed for a few reasons: 1) the game is way out of print and people are clamoring for a reprint 2) the game is a “classic” whatever that is, and is so darn great people want it continuously, and lastly 3) it’s something people with money to burn will buy again in a new format because it jogs a memory of a happier time with the buyer. Nostalgia releases usually don’t change the game you remember so fondly on purpose. They’re selling you your 1980s back, you know that, right?
Which brings us to the subject at hand. As I averred to in a previous post, Steve Jackson Games is re-releasing the old pocket box format, this time for a Kickstarter crowd. Note that these games are straight reprints from the originals; they won’t be compiling 40 years’ worth of updates, variants, Space Gamer/Pyramid articles or house rules to make an expanded edition. There is only new element in this release, and it’s this:
I know I have really one item in this list that I’m interested in, and that would be Battlesuit— which wasn’t even considered a big hit back in its day. Why only one copy? Well, it’s overkill for me. I’ve bought many versions of OGRE/GEV, Car Wars and such over the years and I still have them somewhere. I have very little interest in a new version of a game I already know so well and can play exactly the same in my old ziploc version(s), the older pocket box, full sized box, or even (in the case of OGRE) as miniatures and a computer game. The game isn’t going to get any better! As I only have one copy of Battlesuit in an old pocket box, the new box will provide a decent permanent copy to keep. Other than that, ehhhhh, this kind of Kickstarter doesn’t exactly wear down my resistance much.