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Lovecraftian-Themed Gaming: Poser Fad or Clever Fun?

I was browsing board games on Amazon.com the other day and I saw this:


Gloom, if you haven't played it, is a card game where you play as one of several Burtonesque families and you compete with 1-3 other players to come up with the worst possible story for your characters.  To do this, you draw and play various misfortune cards, such as "Terrible Disease" or "Malnutrition" or whatever.  The idea is to mix story-telling with competitive gaming in order to produce a sick, dark comedy.  It was featured on Tabletop at one point, so naturally it's been selling like gangbusters.

The Cthulhu expansion basically just adds a Lovecraftian flavor to the game so that I guess your family can be devoured by Yog-Sothoth instead of dying from a broken heart.  Given that I'm a fan of both Gloom and Lovecraft, you would think I should be interested in giving this a try, but I feel conflicted. The market has been flooded with products inspired by the Lovecraft mythos - and Cthulhu in particular - well past the Poser / True Fan tipping point.

I'm sure there's got to be a quick term for this somewhere.  You know that moment where something that was at one point relatively obscure or cult-like has become so popularized that people with only a passing interest can dip their toes into it, and then the people who were into it for years beforehand start getting angry and defensive that their pet subculture has been co-opted and they start grumbling about it?  "Over saturation" doesn't quite get it across.  Something like "anticounterculture," but shorter.  Let me just take a few letters out of there.

Attention Internet!  I have invented a new word.  Use it well.

anncoulter: (v) to force rejection of an idea by its progenitors by co-opting it with superficiality and baseless enthusiasm.  Synonym: To make shitty.

Anyway.  The Internet may have anncoultered Lovecraft.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm a fan of Lovecraft-themed games.  Elder Sign is amazing and I just recently got a copy of Mansions of Madness that I quite enjoy despite the 1-2 hours you need to earmark for setting up the game board.  But I can't shake this feeling that the obsession with Cthulhu is missing the point.  Especially since, for the last several years, we've had the option of buying not just one, but at least three different adorable stuffed animals:


A concept that was at one point a grim and terrifying cosmic horror is nothing more than a memetic punchline.  Cthulhu is supposed to embody a realization that is more chilling and heart-stopping than anything you could have ever perceived in your life.  It was a type of terror that went many steps and magnitudes beyond existential panic.  That horror is now an outdated Internet joke - the equivalent of your dad doing the Harlem Shake.

And yet, as much as I know I should be disgusted by the anncoultering of Lovecraft, I am confronted by two unavoidable facts:

1) I have had so much fun playing Lovecraft-themed games, and
2) I wouldn't mind getting a plush Cthulhu for my baby.

Maybe anncoultering isn't really the problem.  It could just be that we each catch up to themes, genres, and ideas at different speeds, and the Internet has made it easier for some of us to catch up than others, leaving us impatient and frustrated with the rest of the world.  Maybe the desire for a particular culture to remain perpetually insular is simply selfish and naive, as all ideas and fictions are waiting for the world to embrace them.  Maybe a disarming and ironic joke isn't really meant to make you laugh so much as it is meant to give an audience a stepping stone to delve into a new experience.

Maybe I'm no longer disgusted by the posers!!! anymore because I'm simply growing up.  God, that would be terrifying.