Saturday, 7 January 2017

With an Onion +2 on my belt... was the style at the time....

I was idly leafing through one of my old AD&D 2e Players' Handbooks and feeling that its layout, it's look-and-feel, were really boring and old fashioned.

It's true that the layout is staid, to say the least, but it was more than that. Then I put my finger on it: the blue bold serif headings and the blocks of conservative Times-Roman-like text make it look like a web page from 1995.

All that's missing is <blink> and <marquee>.

On the cover, there's a TSR logo with the tagline "Products of your imagination". This sort of layout does not reflect much in the way of imagination at all. It might as well be an engineering reference manual. It does have the occasional illustration, but they're mostly pretty crap.

An argument might be made that keeping everything as neutral as possible is a good thing, as it would be less likely to unduly influence the imaginations of the users in any particular direction. This layout fails at that as well, because of the general focus and tenor of the aforesaid lame illustrations. They influence the imagination without particularly inspiring it.

I felt, at the time that it was released, that there was quite a lot about 2e, mechanically, that I liked as compared with 1e. But I thought at the time, and still do, that it lost a lot of the heart and soul that 1e had had in spite of its frequent clunkiness.