Issue #9: Selling Out
I need to have words on this phrase and I need to do it now. Since the game Munchkin found it’s way into my hands some months ago I’ve been an avid fan. I frequent the forums, offer help when I can and a misguided opinion more often than most. Anyway, there was a not-so-recent announcement and more recent upcoming release of Munchkin’s second ever licensed product. Munchkin Axe Cop. If you know nothing about Axe Cop all you need to know is that it’s a web comic done in a page by page style created by a 7 year old and illustrated and brought to the masses by his 31-year old brother. The comic has a massive following and has recently seen success in print. Thus breaking it from the doom of being a web comic forever. Well, attention begets attention and it caught the eye of Steve Jackson and I guess he had a great time making it because now the next licensed products from SJ Games are on their way out. And the boards are A FLAME with people screaming “Sell Out!”
Now, this is nothing new to me. I went through high school slightly ahead of the pack as far as discovering music goes. I’d hear something, 3 months later everyone I knew would be jumping on board with it, and 3 more months later you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing them. And, of course, wherever I looked I heard the ever vigilant call of “SELL OUT!!!” It’s a term disgustingly mishandled by the youth. Recording contracts don’t make bands sell outs. Turning their backs on their fans doesn’t even make someone a sell out.
A sell out is, in MY personal edition of the dictionary where words and phrases mean what I say they mean, someone who’s changed who they are, what they’re about and what they believe in and the way they do something for a paycheck. In the case of bands, a lot of them started playing for the music, no one started playing music for money, because if they started playing for money they wouldn’t have made it very far to begin with. It takes a lot of begging for gigs and getting stiffed on pay days to see a full check come in with your name on it.
The same goes for SJ Games, which is what I’m writing this in regards to. I’m pretty sure Steve Jackson didn’t start up this gaming company because there was going to be money in it. I think they’re still climbing the ladder to commercial success. And licensing a creative property to base a card game on causes fans to scream and rant and rave and burn hotter than the fires of Mordor? That’s kind of ridiculous.
The fact is, we do things because we love doing them. If there’s money to made doing it, great! The first thought is “I never thought I’d be able to make money doing what I love.” So the next time you think about slinging the term “Sell out” in the direction of anyone, consider this;
Would you do something you loved to do if you could make money doing it? OF COURSE YOU WOULD!