So, today's post is a bit different, let's call it a kind of brain-storming about a thing that always scares me when I think about the future of our hobby: are we (manufacturers and hobbyists) thinking of the children?
Of course, I'm not talking about serious questions that really might influence our (well, yours, I'm not yet in the club) children's future, as the climate change, the middle-class disappearing, the economic downturn and, above all, trap music.
As I did before, concerning girls and women in general, I'm trying to reflect on whether our hobby might involve the youngest generations or not.
Disclaimer: the following lines might be judgmental. Please don't take them as facts, but only as my personal opinions (and always remember that I'm a Ligurian Dwarf inside, so mumbling and grumbling is 80% of my DNA).
We live in a world that runs at the speed of light and we all see how fast things become viral (damn, how I hate that word...) and then just disappear as if they were never born.
It seems that, despite we live in the most connected age of humanity and we have literally the whole human knowledge in our pocket, we are not used anymore to sit and enjoy properly what we are doing. At least, we just document what we are doing, generally for having the chance to share it with unknown people out there on social. Paradoxically, it seems to me that we often do things not for the pure pleasure of doing them, but just for being able to say to others "Look: I did this thing!".
Obviously, this is a generalization and, as every generalization, you should not take it seriously, but lately I discovered that this social behavior makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.
But what this raving of a grumbling Dwarf has got to do with our hobby?
Let me explain.
I dare to say that our hobby is kinda anachronistic, nowadays (and this is a good thing!): in a world where everything has to be produced, consumed and forgotten as fast as possible, especially everything about the entertainment, I can't see another way to define a hobby that requests so much time and dedication to be fully enjoyed, with such high entry barriers (both economically and technically speaking).
For example: if I want to play a videogame, I can go to my living room and play Nintendo Mario Rabbids (it's awesome and made by an Italian studio, give it a chance!) for minutes or hours or days. But if I have in mind a great diorama to explore the smokey roads of Zorn Uzul, I should dedicate months of intense work, before being able to see something (yes, I'm working on that for real)!
Our hobby is slow, is time-consuming, is relaxing but can be also frustrating: Zen in the Art of Painting Puppets.
I love this fact, I grew up playing SuperMarioLand on my Gameboy, probably the most frustrating thing ever designed for a kid, but I can't help but ask myself: are the young generations ready for it?
Please, do not misunderstand me: this is not the classic topic "oh, the young generations are worse than the older ones", I hate those reasonings, they are far from my common way of thinking.
However, I think we can't deny that nowadays, especially young people are used to be entertained in a way that is simply more faster and easier than just 15-20 years ago.
I saw many kids, for example, not enjoy the old animated movies because "nothing happens".
It's normal, it's not their fault or a knowledge gap: they are simply used to watch a different kind of entertainment, they are born inside a different world, with different media.
When I was a child I had to wait 'till 4 pm to watch my favorite series, and at 6 pm there were no other cartoons to watch. If it depended on me, I would have watched Saint Seiya, Power Rangers, Cpt. Tsubasa all day long, of course, but I couldn't and I simply had to deal with it.
Before seeing those damn Dinozords assembling into mighty Megazord, I had to patiently wait the last minute of the episode, enduring (let's be honest) 15-20 minutes of nothing.
We were used to be patient, to wait and endure 'till our reward: this applied almost for everything, from cartoons to videogames or movies and I think that in a certain way, it prepared us for this hobby, that requires A LOT of dedication and patience, before being rewarding.
To my eyes, it was more than acceptable to sit down, take brush and colors and slowly try to make what I had in mind.
New generations, however, live in another reality: they can be entertained whenever they want, wherever they want, no matter if they are at home or at the restaurant, on the road or at grandparents' house (lucky boys!). Moreover, the whole media changed: look at nowadays cartoons and videogames: they have a completely different structure, there is no downtime, they are filled with action, they don't ask the kid to wait for something, it's "BAM! ACTION! BAM! ENJOY!"
This long, wordy, premise, brings me to the point of my reflection: how our hobby can compete in this new, crazy world? How can we engage and entertain more the modern kids?
As I told before, the world has changed a lot, but I think (and I repeat, this is only my opinion) that we may underestimate our future: if we want to have a future, I think that we should think about generational change inside this hobby and that means, in my opinion, to start to improve the way we communicate, the way we create, the way we design our current and future miniatures.
Obviously, this doesn't mean a dramatic, drastic change, but I can't help but think about exploring side-projects more designed for a younger target, for example.
I talked about that with a recent member of my "group of interesting people to talk with" (it's not a real thing, it's just me that annoy other people with my thoughts, but thanks to God they are nice and listen to me the same): in her hobby community, she struggles a lot to involve kids even if she see a genuine interest by them because, for example, often their parents are not so happy to see their children paint a gruesome chaos lord with a fancy showroom of beheaded heads on his shoulder. Moreover, painting is a unique and fascinating activity, but it's hard to learn and requires a lot of practice and dedication: so it's even harder to involve kids, by giving them tiny figures extremely detailed, very difficult to paint just at a tabletop quality!
I thought about that, also, when I edited the first video tutorials. When I looked at them, I couldn't help but ask myself: "is it something that a kid would enjoy to watch? Is it something able to make kids say: "oh, I like this hobby, I want do it too!"?
I don't give you my answer, but I'm sure you've already answered these questions by yourselves.
Again, don't misunderstand me: I don't say that our hobby is boring, or that is not fine as it is now: on the contrary! Even 18 years after I painted my first Dwarf, I'm still passionate as the first day and every time I see how many great artists, passionate collectors, and gamers share this passion with me, my eyes shine!
My fear, however, is that this incredible world that we managed to create during the last 20/30/40 years, is not as welcoming as it might be, for the inhabitants of the world that will be.
It would be a shame and a terrible loss if we fail to make this hobby end with us!
What do you think about it? Am I too catastrophic? Do you have some suggestions to create projects that might intrigue your children?
If so, feel free to write your opinions here, so my competitors can take advantage of our brainstorming and make better products XDXD