There’s a really wonderful discussion taking place on the RPG PUB forum about my earlier post. Lots of great input, with people sharing memories of gaming in Britain (and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere) back in the day.
There was some gentle pushback against the term “B-OSR”. It was never really intended seriously, so I’m not overly attached to it. I chose it, with tongue in cheek, because it implies Britain is in some sense in second place (the “B-OSR” to America’s “A-OSR”) and, despite the current trend towards jingoistic boosterism, people in the UK have a long tradition of thinking their country is a bit shit. Still, if you prefer, “British old-school” works just as well (and it can be considered a vibe or aesthetic rather than a revival).
A couple of extra ingredients have been added to the British old-school mix:
– British prog rock (e.g. King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Hawkwind, etc.)
– British children’s TV shows (e.g Knightmare, Children of the Stones, etc.)
– Alan Garner (e.g. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Owl Service, etc.)
– British computer games (particularly ZX Spectrum games like The Lords of Midnight and Chaos)
Also, some really interesting discussion was had on the reaction to the so-called “Satanic Panic” in the UK compared to the US. This, for example, from Warthur:
“Actually, you can point here to another distinction between the US scene and the British scene in the 1980s. TSR reacted to the Satanic Panic by toning shit down, going easier on the devils and demons and Dragonlancing things up a bit. Games Workshop threw up the heavy metal horns and kept on doing what they did, and at points deliberately steered into gruesome areas, as did Fighting Fantasy. (Note how as the Fighting Fantasy line progressed you got more and more horror-tinged books coming out – because the scary shit sold!)”
On the other hand, Voros pointed out that we weren’t entirely immune from moral panic on this side of the pond:
“The UK had its own irrational panic in the form of the Video Nasties scare. And unlike rpgs it actually led to some people going to jail just for distributing horror films, most of which are far tamer than the average episode of TWD [The Walking Dead – Ed.].”