Tired and Cranky: Jervis Deserves Better

I’ve been meaning for a while now to write a little post sticking up for Jervis Johnson.  I am a big fan of generally treating other people with respect (something that more often than not finds me at odds with internet culture), and I’m pretty much totally disgusted with the online vitriol that is directed towards games designers, in particular Jervis and some of the other GW people.

In my opinion the sorts of things people say about him are not the sorts of things any decent person should say about another human being.  And that’s the problem – the internet can make certain people (by which I mean idiots) forget that game designers are people: actual human beings like you and me with feelings and families, who do what they do for reasons that they probably sincerely think are good ones.  No-one should have to suffer death-threats, curses and spite from cretinous moral infants because they tried to make a game for people to share and enjoy.

Well, Lexington over at GAME OVER has written a post sticking up for the Dark Angels codex, and more particularly has said some nice stuff about Jervis.  I’d just like to draw everyone’s attention to it if you haven’t seen it already.  The only thing I’d like to add is that Jervis is clearly not a brainless chimp throwing rules at the wall like so much monkey shit.  Read his Standard Bearer articles and you’ll see he has a clear vision honed over three decades of game design.  If you can’t see that, or you don’t like his vision, then don’t play his games.  He’s not a bad designer, he’s a good designer designing games that you don’t happen to like.  Have some fucking human empathy.

Anyone who’s been in an industry as volatile as game design for as long as he has deserves respect.  No matter what you think about his games, thinking about games is his job.  If it’s not yours (and for most of us it isn’t) then shut the fuck up.  Talk about him with respect if you’re going to talk about him at all.

10 responses to “Tired and Cranky: Jervis Deserves Better

  • corbeau77

    Spot on! ‘Nuff said. Met Jervis a few times over the decades! Lovely bloke, and has been designing games longer than many of those griping about him have actually been alive….

  • Lexington

    Hey, thanks, James! Really pleased at the positive response that post’s gotten – I honestly expected I’d mostly be written off as another pie-in-the-sky “casual” gamer or some other nonsense. Nice to be wrong sometimes. 🙂

  • Frontline Gamer

    I wrote a Sunday Sermon called ‘whose game is it anyway’ where I stuck up a bit for Jervis and co. I still maintain when you see things like storm of magic that quite frankly GW have given up completely on the Tournament scene. I don’t think that’s a good or bad thing. It’s just a thing. I think either you like what they’re doing in which case great. Or you don’t and you need to find something else.

    As to Jarvis in particular, well he was the man mainly responsible for the greatest single Warhammer document ever in my opinion, Ravening Hordes. That proves he was able to help balance games, plus I always found him an incredibly nice chap to talk to and not at all arrogant… which I’m afraid can’t always be said about certain GW staffers.

    Jervis’ current stance on things don’t necessarily match with mine. I think there is an element of cop out going on with GW’s current direction. But he’s working for a limited company and it’s his job to sell stuff according to their business plan, and I respect the fact the bloke can articulate many valid reasons for doing things the way they are. He does not deserve the abuse he gets…

    Neither does Matt Ward… even though at time’s he has come across a little bit arrogant when I’ve met him. Truth is none of us really know these people, and while I feel comfortable bashing any product they produce that I think is poor, that doesn’t give me the right to go around abusing them!!!

    @Lexington, I read your article and I honestly thought it was an interesting read. I’d have posted something there but I don’t think there was much I could have added if I’m honest with you. Keep it up mate I’m enjoying your articles at Game Over,

  • Thor

    Hell hath no fury like a nerd scorned.

  • James S

    @Frontline Gamer, I must have missed that post of yours, I just don’t get to keep up with my favourite blogs as much as I used to 😦

    I agree with you, I think people should put up or shut up with GW. If you don’t like their approach or game it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s shit. It means it’s not for you, and you can either keep whingeing or you can man up and play something you do like.

    The argument that “oh, people only play GW, I have no choice” is wearing thin. Even here in parochial Australia people are branching out into other games and building player bases. But perhaps this is a rant for another day…

  • Dorrie Bly

    Anyone who would even think of saying an unkind word about Jervis Johnson is someone who is not a very pleasant kind of person at all.

  • David Stillberg

    Jervis Johnson is a man with a vision, you’ll have to grant him that. IMNSHO it’s a great vision, so I had to rant a bit. Since Tumblr doesn’t support pingbacks, here’s a link!


    • James S

      Nice post David, I like what you said about opulence for it’s own sake, and the propensity for every new unit to break at least one rule.

      Now I don’t know if I should reply here or there, but it looks like you have a good discussion going without me sticking my oar in and repeating myself!

  • David Stillberg

    The beauty of the Internet – you can discuss anything anywhere 🙂

    It’s been cooking inside me for a few months, this boredom with the game as a game, and your post gave me a perfect framing device. Like Lexington, I thought that the DA codex marked a great turning point. The game as a whole would have been better (for me) if GW had followed through on that vision.

    That said, I played a game yesterday, and had great fun. So, yeah, whatever 🙂

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