Listen up, gamer geeks...

Monday, June 27, 2005

... I'm done with you. I no longer care about your little corner of the world. I don't make games for you anymore. From now on, I make games for, you know, people.

I'm not going to waste space in my game text telling the geeks how and why this game doesn't have a GM. Or what a GM is, for that matter. Monopoly and Scattergories don't have a GM and they don't say one word about it. They're just, you know, games. They just tell you how to play.

I'm not going to tell the geeks how different and special my game is. Risk doesn't fill page after page with comparisons to Axis & Allies. It's a game. It just tells you how to play.

I'm not going to classify my games to the geeks' satisfaction. Charades is a "social interactive party game with competition and collaborative elements" but, man... if anyone said that to you you'd kick them in the shins. It's a game. You play it to have fun while you try to win. Like Poker and Pictionary and Hide-And-Seek and every other blessed one ever invented. Classification is for biologists and RPGnet flame wars. No one in the real world gives a damn.

The rules for a game tell you how to play. Period. Everything else is gamer geek wankery and I'm over it.

Now, someone is going to think this means that I'm done with the RPG theory stuff. But that's not true at all. Why? I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. But if you have looked at any of those links over to the right there, you already know the answer.

6 Comments:

Anonymous JasonL says:  

John:

Do you leave room for text that talks about the point of play in terms that us gamer geeks might recognize?

Things like "In this game, you'll take on the roles of stalwart adventurers standing firm against the tides of villany throughout the world!" (but, you know, not as lame or poorly written)?

Not in geek-speak, but stuff that, when translated to geek speak (like "Oh, this is a Narrativist Game with strong Positioning mechanics that will allow me to meaningfully address the following Premise(s)"), makes sense and maybe points to a coherent design?

Just curious. I agree that the rules should tell us how to play, and leave all the stuff about why you're game is the next generation in RPG innovation behind, along with excuses as to why it's not more like d20 (or DitV, for that matter).

Cheers,


Jason
"Oh, it's you...
deadpanbob"



Blogger John Harper says:  

Oh absolutely. I think your example text is spot on.

I ceratinly don't want to make games that are extra hard for gamers to understand. I just want to make games for people (any and all people) and stop worrying about our particular niche and its idiosyncrasies.



Blogger John Kim says:  

Good for you!

It is an often vaunted goal for indie games to sell to new audiences, but they rarely live up to that in practice. Games like Fudge, My Life With Master, and Dogs in the Vineyard are written to experienced roleplayers who have been turned off to D&D. For example, they blithely use terms like "GM" and "NPC" without defining them.



Blogger Joshua BishopRoby says:  

Hear hear! If nothing else, it's not nice to make people pay for the pages that contain your diatribe about how you're different from Game X. In the end, it's not useful information for anyone other than yourself.



Blogger Matt Wilson says:  

Except that every game should devote at least 500 words comparing itself to Multiverser.



Blogger Ben says:  

Damnit, Matt, I'm gonna take that as a challenge.



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