Saturday, September 25, 2004

Game. Narrative. Simulation.

This important and thoughtful consideration of role playing game theory by Ron Edwards was recommended by Paranoia legend Greg Costikyan. It starts at an unusual place:

My straightforward observation of the activity of role-playing is that many participants do not enjoy it very much. Most role-players I encounter are tired, bitter, and frustrated.

A key lesson (and nicely turned phrase) on incoherent game design is a useful caution for interactive drama theory:

... The Great Impossible Thing to Believe Before Breakfast: that the Game Master may be defined as the author of the ongoing story, and, simultaneously, the players may determine the actions of the characters as the story's protagonists.

Costikyan's review of the No Press Anthology is the occasion for a fascinating survey of independent RPG design, which I strongly recommend to everyone interested in interactive narrative.