*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 02, 2014, 02:32:48 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 57 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Virtuality and Ouija Boards  (Read 9698 times)
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« on: June 18, 2004, 01:49:31 PM »

OK, so Ben suggested the term "Virtuality" as a synonym for RGFA Simulationism in his http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=11317">Subtyping Sim thread -- which seems to me like a fair moniker.  I'd like to talk about Virtuality and its relation to story a bit.  I'd refer to my http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/theory/threefold/simulationism.html">Threefold Simulationism Explained essay as a primer.  

So in his Narrativist essay, Ron talks about Ouija Board play.  From his description, this appears to be an offshoot of RGFA Simulationism, and is unrelated to the more common Illusionist/Participationist play.  As he puts it,
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Taking this idea to role-playing, the deluded notion is that Simulationist play will yield Story Now play without any specific attention on anyone's part to do so. The primary issue is to maintain the facade that "No one guides the planchette!" The participants must be devoted to the notion that stories don't need authors; they emerge from some ineffable confluence of Exploration per se. It's kind of a weird Illusionism perpetrated on one another, with everyone putting enormous value on maintaining the Black Curtain between them and everyone else. Typically, groups who play this way have been together for a very long time.

My call is, you get what you play for. Can you address Premise this way? Sure, on the monkeys-might-fly-out-my-butt principle. But the key to un-premeditated artistry of this sort (cutup fiction, splatter painting, cinema verite) is to know what to throw out, and role-playing does not include that option, at least not very easily. Participants in Ouija-board play do so through selective remembering. I have observed many such role-players to refer to hours of unequivocally bored and contentious play as "awesome!" given a week or two for mental editing.

Now, the methodology of Ouija board play seems to be identical to Virtuality.  The difference is that Ouija board players are defined as looking for "Story Now" as their goal, while RGFA Simulationists are not.  As a specific example, I'd suggest my Water-Uphill-World campaign, which I discussed last year in the thread http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=5113">Confused over Simulationism + example campaign.  

Now, here's the key: what is "Story Now"?  If we define story as only fictional events having moral issues which the players care about, then Water-Uphill-World was most certainly Story Now.  But there are many common properties of stories which Water-Uphill-World lacked:
    [*] Conflicts did not neatly resolve themselves into conclusions.  For example, the PCs left the palace to go to the Bogart King's court, and many of the interactions they had back at the palace were dropped without reaching dramatic resolution.  [*] It had no dramatic pacing, so exciting bits could suddenly arise without warning, and then end also suddenly. [*] There was no unified moral message or theme, but rather just a bunch of individual issues.  For example, in retrospect, Noriko was struggling with responsibility and growing up which came to a head in her taking the rod of power. [/list:u]  Now, to be clear, I knew all of these as limitations going into the game.  However, it also had the strength of its openness.  

    Now, pacing and structure isn't part of the Narrativist definition per se -- except insofar as it is implied by the term "Story Now".  But should it be?  Virtuality-heavy games will lack dramatic structure, but they can be rife with moral issues and the players may be totally jazzed by those unstructured moral issues.  If we say such games are Narrativist, then I think that Ron's conclusion about Ouija board games is wrong.  If they are not Narrativist, then I think we need a to include structure in the definition of Narrativism.  [/list]
    Logged

    - John
    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #1 on: June 18, 2004, 02:20:19 PM »

    Picking up from http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=124205">Narrativism: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury...

    Quote from: C. Edwards
    Quote from: John Kim
    But there's no obvious logical link between these two. i.e. I can be juiced by moral issues and still stick to in-character play.

    Certainly, but if a situation presents itself to where sticking to in-character play doesn't address the moral issue to the player's satisfaction then a decision must be made. The player will lean one way or the other showing, in that instance at least, what the player is prioritizing.

    There's lots of gray area there, I think. What are you prioritizing if you alter your character's action to better address the moral issue at hand but still feel that you've remained true to the concept of your character? Personally I think such instances are probably non-decision points as far as GNS is concerned.

    I would note that you talk about the moral issue "at hand".  Now, I would certainly agree that sticking to in-character play is opposed to addressing a pre-defined moral issue.  But that doesn't mean that other moral issues aren't addressed.  i.e. In-character play will inherently touch on a bunch of moral issues.  But it will not focus on a single issue in a structured manner.  

    I'm leaning with Mike here that Beeg Horseshoe might better explain this.  In Revised Beeg Horseshoe Theory, as I understand it, this split shows the difference between High-Fidelity Narrativism and Low-Fidelity Narrativism.  Hi-Fi means sticking to the character, but it is still Narrativism.  i.e. The player is still enjoying it for Story Now, and is simply engaging in a trade-off between the believability of the story and the tightness of the theme -- both of which are important story qualities.
    Logged

    - John
    C. Edwards
    Member

    Posts: 558

    savage / sublime


    « Reply #2 on: June 18, 2004, 03:37:07 PM »

    Hey John,

    When I say "at hand" I'm referring to any moral issue in the game to which a decision point has relevance. Pre-defined, spontaneous, big or little, it doesn't matter. The issue of whether the moral issue is pre-defined or generated by playing in-character isn't the focus here I don't think. It's how you react to the moral issue during play that matters.

    A moral issue generated by playing in-character may necessitate fewer decisions of the in-character/Story Now variety when compared to a pre-determined moral issue.  But I think that is probably a non-issue too.

    At some point, a decision point may present itself that requires an obvious sacrifice of either "in-character" or "Story Now". How the player responds will show the player's priority, for that single decision. That's why an observable instance of play should be at least one to several game sessions in length. GNS is concerned mainly with an overall, big picture kind of diagnosis. It's not concerned with the scale of granularity that were discussing here.

    Quote from: John Kim
    I'm leaning with Mike here that Beeg Horseshoe might better explain this. In Revised Beeg Horseshoe Theory, as I understand it, this split shows the difference between High-Fidelity Narrativism and Low-Fidelity Narrativism. Hi-Fi means sticking to the character, but it is still Narrativism. i.e. The player is still enjoying it for Story Now, and is simply engaging in a trade-off between the believability of the story and the tightness of the theme -- both of which are important story qualities.


    I'm with you here. What we're looking at is a spectrum defined by behavior and decisions up and down a scale. But you still can't escape that you may enounter a decision point that requires that you prioritize either fidelity or Story Now. It won't necessarily be a big trade-off, but it will be there.

    I think the main problem is that people insist giving themselves (and are given by others) hard and fast GNS labels. It gives the impression that the aspects of the other CAs are not present to any meaningful degree in their play. Just because a person's Simulationist leanings outweigh their Narrativist leanings doesn't mean that the Sim outweighs the Nar by a large margin.

    It's just a spectrum of granular decisions that can be used to determine broad behaviors. In that sense I suppose you could say GNS is somewhat related to statistics.

    -Chris

    I
    Logged
    Valamir
    Member

    Posts: 5574


    WWW
    « Reply #3 on: June 18, 2004, 07:22:02 PM »

    Quote
    Now, the methodology of Ouija board play seems to be identical to Virtuality. The difference is that Ouija board players are defined as looking for "Story Now" as their goal, while RGFA Simulationists are not. As a specific example, I'd suggest my Water-Uphill-World campaign, which I discussed last year in the thread Confused over Simulationism + example campaign.


    Hey John...

    are you really saying that you wouldn't have minded in the least if the story that resulted from your Water-uphill campaign had sucked?

    If when all was said and done you looked back over the events in play and said "man if this was a movie it would have been more stupid than a double feature of Starship Trooper II and Battlefield Earth" you wouldn't care.  You'd have concluded with "what a great game"?

    I find that very hard to believe...can you convince me other wise?

    Because if you did care that the Water-uphill story was very cool...if you would have said "man that sucked...sorry guys" if it hadn't been then you WERE hoping for "Story Now"...despite your claim to the contrary.

    Wanting a cool story but not using techniques designed to produce a cool story is exactly what Ouja Board roleplaying is.  


    Maybe I'm just projecting my own assumptions here, but I find it hard to believe that you would have been equally satified if the story had turned out to be crap as long as the play was pure "virtuality".

    Further I'd be inclined to suspect that if you have managed to produce consistantly good stories using pure "virtuality" techniques, that you probably aren't really using pure "virtuality" techniques.  That you're using your exceptional skill as a GM to push here and nudge there to help ensure that the story isn't crap...

    ...just as the description of Ouja Board roleplaying suggests will happen as people desireing a good story will try to guide the planchet without appearing to guide the planchet.  They may be EXTREMELY good at doing this without any of the other players catching on (just like the best Ouja Board users) but ultimately they are guideing it.  The other players may swear up and down that nothing but pure virtuality techniques were used during the campaign...but that just indicates that the person doing it is an absolutely fabulous Illusionist.  

    In fact, I'd completely disagree that its unrelated to Illusionism.  I'd claim that it is actually the ultimate pinnacle of Illusionist technique.  Unlike basic illusionism that is clumsy enough that players paying attention will eventually catch on, or participationism where they're in on the deal from the get go...Virtuality to me sounds like the holy grail of Illusionism.

    Actually pulling off the Illusion...without anyone even remotely suspecting that it wasn't all real.

    The problem with Ouja Board roleplaying is that very few GMs are actually that good and what they usually get is either players who notice the planchet being moved...or they're so ineffective at moving it they produce a high ratio of crap stories.


    To close I'd add that its entirely possible for players (and not just the GM) to be nudging the planchet without even realizing they're doing it.  The components of what makes for a compelling story are so ingrained that its easy to see how players, thinking they are making purely virtuality based choices, are actually seeking Story Now...unaware that they're even doing it.
    Logged

    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #4 on: June 18, 2004, 10:41:32 PM »

    Quote from: Valamir
      are you really saying that you wouldn't have minded in the least if the story that resulted from your Water-uphill campaign had sucked?

    If when all was said and done you looked back over the events in play and said "man if this was a movie it would have been more stupid than a double feature of Starship Trooper II and Battlefield Earth" you wouldn't care.  You'd have concluded with "what a great game"?  

    I find that very hard to believe...can you convince me other wise?  
    ...
    Maybe I'm just projecting my own assumptions here, but I find it hard to believe that you would have been equally satified if the story had turned out to be crap as long as the play was pure "virtuality".  

    Well, the story did suck in the sense that I described.  It had no dramatic structure, loose conflicts were regularly dropped, and no particular center.  Plus, of course, it ended in the middle.  On the other hand, I think that it was believable, quirky, had intriguing magic and setting, and had plenty of moral issues.  Now, mind you, Liz was at time frustrated by this.  However, I think Josh and Russell were intrigued by it.  

    Moreover, I think your implication is completely off-base.  There is no way that you'll get anything remotely resembling Starship Troopers 2 from following pure Virtuality.  In fact, quite the opposite.  While I haven't seen it, based on the reviews I suspect that Starship Troopers 2 demonstrates precisely the opposite: it is stupid precisely because it ignores logic about characters and setting in order to get the story that it wants to tell.  My approach guarded me 100% effectively against the sort of stupidity that film supposedly displays.  

    In general, my view is pretty simple.  If I want to create a good, well-formed story, then I don't play RPGs!!!  Instead of rolling dice and following rules, I would use actual collaborative writing techniques.  When I choose to play RPGs, I believe I am inherently sacrificing some traditional story qualities in favor of types of interactive experience.  In a high-virtuality game like Water-Uphill-World, I am trying out a different balance of story qualities and interactive experience.  

    Quote from: Valamir
     Further I'd be inclined to suspect that if you have managed to produce consistantly good stories using pure "virtuality" techniques, that you probably aren't really using pure "virtuality" techniques.  That you're using your exceptional skill as a GM to push here and nudge there to help ensure that the story isn't crap...  

    Well, no, I don't get consistently good stories in the sense of static fiction from high-Virtuality roleplaying.  That was my point.  However, the reason why they are bad is not that they lack emotion or moral issues.  Rather, they lack dramatic structure and focus.  Hence my issue.  The definition of good story should include dramatic structure.
    Logged

    - John
    Doctor Xero
    Member

    Posts: 433


    « Reply #5 on: June 21, 2004, 10:54:57 AM »

    Quote from: C. Edwards
    At some point, a decision point may present itself that requires an obvious sacrifice of either "in-character" or "Story Now". How the player responds will show the player's priority, for that single decision.

    Chris, could you go into more detail on this one?  I'm intrigued.

    Doctor Xero
    Logged

    "The human brain is the most public organ on the face of the earth....virtually all the business is the direct result of thinking that has already occurred in other minds.  We pass thoughts around, from mind to mind..." --Lewis Thomas
    C. Edwards
    Member

    Posts: 558

    savage / sublime


    « Reply #6 on: June 21, 2004, 02:25:51 PM »

    Hey Doc,

    I'm not quite sure what you're asking for, but I'll give it a shot.

    The essays are generally concerned about GNS on the macro scale, whereas I'm basically talking about the micro scale of GNS interactions.

    When we play, we're constantly making decisions as to the "best" course of action (input into the imaginary space). The definition of "best" depends upon your goals (as a player) at that particular moment. Those goals will support and oppose, to varying degrees, one or more of the three recognized Creative Agendas.

    Much of the time, input into the imaginary space will look completely innocuous to an observer (someone who is not the decision maker), even if the decision making process that leads to that input poses a quandary for the decision maker in terms of which CA to promote (note that it is in no way necessary for this to be a process full of GNS terminology). That is why the essays promote an "instance of play" as having a practical length of at least several sessions of play. It may take a good deal of play time to gather the observable data necessary to make any kind of determination regarding overall GNS preference.

    Since I've spent a good deal of time examining my own behavior during play, I tend to come at GNS from the perspective of critical self-analysis. By observation of others we can only hope to deduce an overall, broad picture of GNS proclivities that gives us no insight into the detailed internal dialogue that takes place during the act of play. This tends to give the impression that the model deals only in large, absolute demarcations.

    People often don't seem to realize that The Big Model, being top-down, isn't going to present them with a personal prescription, diagnosis, or examination of their own very individual style of play. There are far too many variables involved for that to happen. You have to meet the model half way.

    I'm interested in a more granular exploration of player goals and decision making that I feel is best served by examining our own internal states during play. Many of the variables that add together to determine our overall GNS preferences can only be fully examined by looking inwards and putting ourselves under the microscope during play.

    The critical decision points that we like to point out in theory as representative of generating observable GNS preferences are only a fraction of the number of decision points that, while relevant to the decision maker's internal GNS dialogue, give away nothing of our GNS preferences to an observer. We're dealing not only with the quantity and weight (degree of contrast to another CA) of decision points but also with their placement in a context in the imaginary space that will illuminate their relevance to an observer.

    Basically, I'm just saying that The Big Model is possessed of myriad and hidden currents that you may not be aware of unless you dive deep. The gray areas that people like to point to as a failure of the model are there for a reason. They represent areas of complicated interactions between a mulititude of shifting variables.

    Well, I think I've pontificated enough for now. Is any of that what you wanted to know? I'm certainly willing to continue discussing this if you have any questions, observations, or input.

    -Chris
    Logged
    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #7 on: June 21, 2004, 05:17:23 PM »

    Quote from: C. Edwards
      At some point, a decision point may present itself that requires an obvious sacrifice of either "in-character" or "Story Now". How the player responds will show the player's priority, for that single decision. That's why an observable instance of play should be at least one to several game sessions in length. GNS is concerned mainly with an overall, big picture kind of diagnosis. It's not concerned with the scale of granularity that were discussing here.  

    I think the question was about how character is opposed to story in a larger sense.  To me, that is exactly the opposite of how I generally conceive of story outside of role-playing.  As I see it is books and movies, story flows from character, and indeed the moral conflict is primarily a tool for exploration of character.  While it is possible to use it the other way (i.e. character is just a shell for preaching some moral point), I usually find such stories less interesting.  The story can (and probably should) always go to where the character is, not vice-versa.  

    Quote from: C. Edwards
     
    Quote from: John Kim
    I'm leaning with Mike here that Beeg Horseshoe might better explain this. In Revised Beeg Horseshoe Theory, as I understand it, this split shows the difference between High-Fidelity Narrativism and Low-Fidelity Narrativism. Hi-Fi means sticking to the character, but it is still Narrativism. i.e. The player is still enjoying it for Story Now, and is simply engaging in a trade-off between the believability of the story and the tightness of the theme -- both of which are important story qualities.

    I'm with you here. What we're looking at is a spectrum defined by behavior and decisions up and down a scale. But you still can't escape that you may enounter a decision point that requires that you prioritize either fidelity or Story Now. It won't necessarily be a big trade-off, but it will be there.  

    Well, that's one theory but I lean towards a different one.  In revised Beeg Horseshoe, there is a trade-off between Hi-Fi Story Now (i.e. obsessively-detail stories like Patrick O'Brien or J.R.R. Tolkien) and Lo-Fi Story Now (like myth and fable).  But going Hi-Fi doesn't mean a trade-off with Story Now.  (cf Mike Holmes http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=69255&highlight=#69255">explanation from last May).  And yes, this does contradict GNS (or as he puts it, this is "bigtime GNS heresy").
    Logged

    - John
    C. Edwards
    Member

    Posts: 558

    savage / sublime


    « Reply #8 on: June 22, 2004, 10:27:50 AM »

    Hey John,

    Quote from: John Kim
    I think the question was about how character is opposed to story in a larger sense. To me, that is exactly the opposite of how I generally conceive of story outside of role-playing. As I see it is books and movies, story flows from character, and indeed the moral conflict is primarily a tool for exploration of character.


    Well, character isn't necessarily opposed to story in a larger sense. You're not privy to the decision making process the author went through when reading books or watching a movie. You see only the end product. So, naturally, the story seems to flow from character.

    During play I may (and have) need to decide if my desire as a player to address a moral issue in a particular way falls within the bounds of how I view my character. I often make the choice to go with my desires as a player and address the moral issue in the way I see fit. Those decisions often appear to the other players to be revealing aspects of the character. If my decisions up to that point have reinforced a different view of the character, going with my preferences as a player may appear to show the character going through internal changes.

    Sometimes the way in which I want to address a moral issue falls outside the bounds of the character to a degree that I feel would be disruptive to the fidelity of the imaginary space. So, I compromise. I reign in my decision in a way that it will fall comfortably close to my view of the character.

    My point here is that story is not just flowing from my view of the character I'm playing. Story is being fueled by my desires as a player. Desires that may clash with the fidelity of the imaginary space unless I use craft and judgement to fit them into that space in an acceptable manner. The story is fueled by myself and the other participants and given form by the elements of the imaginary space (including the characters).

    That's how I see the interactions of predominantly Narrativist play. Simulationist play might be the reverse. Story fueled by the elements in the imaginary space and given form by the participants.

    Quote from: John Kim
    But going Hi-Fi doesn't mean a trade-off with Story Now.


    No, not necessarily. But during play there can be times when the two are at odds. Despite the nice clean theories, in practice we all have our own unique limits as to how much (and what kind of) fidelity we need to keep our sense of verisimilitude afloat. When we throw the goals of the three CA's into the mix, and the various combinations of those CA's that each of us exhibits when we play, there are going to be clashes. Internally among each individual participant and among the participants themselves.

    -Chris
    Logged
    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #9 on: June 22, 2004, 10:04:31 PM »

    Quote from: C. Edwards
    Quote from: John Kim
    I think the question was about how character is opposed to story in a larger sense. To me, that is exactly the opposite of how I generally conceive of story outside of role-playing. As I see it is books and movies, story flows from character, and indeed the moral conflict is primarily a tool for exploration of character.

    During play I may (and have) need to decide if my desire as a player to address a moral issue in a particular way falls within the bounds of how I view my character. I often make the choice to go with my desires as a player and address the moral issue in the way I see fit. Those decisions often appear to the other players to be revealing aspects of the character.

    Can you give some examples about what you are talking about here?  My impression is that you say that certain moral choices are antithetical to Story Now.  That is, if my PC is faced with a moral issue, if he does one thing it would be Story Now -- while if he does something else it is not.  I don't see that.  To take the example of the Water-Uphill-World campaign, the PCs were inherently faced with dilemmas from being trapped on an alien world.  How can I tell which character choices would be Story Now, and which would not?  

    In previous discussions, some people suggested that PC actions aren't distinguishing features of Creative Agenda.  Rather, the issue is what the player is grooving on -- i.e. a Narrativist player will show more signs of satisfaction in the case of moral dilemma.  Hence to observe CA, you need to focus on how players nod their heads and smile and such -- not on what happens within the Shared Imaginary Space.  

    Quote from: C. Edwards
     
    Quote from: John Kim
    But going Hi-Fi doesn't mean a trade-off with Story Now.

    No, not necessarily. But during play there can be times when the two are at odds. Despite the nice clean theories, in practice we all have our own unique limits as to how much (and what kind of) fidelity we need to keep our sense of verisimilitude afloat. When we throw the goals of the three CA's into the mix, and the various combinations of those CA's that each of us exhibits when we play, there are going to be clashes. Internally among each individual participant and among the participants themselves.  

    You're speaking as if GNS is news to me somehow.  I am aware of the standard GNS claim and understand it as well as anyone.  However, I don't agree with it.  At this point, I find revised Beeg Horseshoe (RBH) to be more compelling, and it contradicts GNS on this point.  Rephrased, it suggests that there are two creative agendas (Gamism and Narrativism) and a spectrum of styles (from Hi-Fi to Lo-Fi).  You can have clashes over creative agenda.  You can also have clashes over Fidelity.  But they are independent axes.  

    The good point about this model (RBH) is that it at least acknowledges that fidelity is not opposed to story.  While moral theme is a quality of story, it is not the only one.  Engaging character and rich setting are also qualities of story.  The GNS line is that if I trade-off coherently-structured theme for depth and consistency of character, then I am abandoning "Story Now" for some non-story quality.  I don't feel this is true.  Deep, believable character is a positive quality of story, and just as central to story as moral theme is.
    Logged

    - John
    Valamir
    Member

    Posts: 5574


    WWW
    « Reply #10 on: June 23, 2004, 03:32:02 AM »

    Quote
    The good point about this model (RBH) is that it at least acknowledges that fidelity is not opposed to story. While moral theme is a quality of story, it is not the only one. Engaging character and rich setting are also qualities of story. The GNS line is that if I trade-off coherently-structured theme for depth and consistency of character, then I am abandoning "Story Now" for some non-story quality. I don't feel this is true. Deep, believable character is a positive quality of story, and just as central to story as moral theme is.


    Huh?

    Depth and Consistency of character is an Exploration level concern...

    Exploration is fundamental to all three Creative Agendas.  Meaning depth of character can be every bit as important for Nar as it is for Sim under the model.

    Where is this trade off of which you speak?

    And what the heck is "coherently structured theme?


    GNS isn't news to me either, but I have no idea where any of your statements about GNS are derived from.  They don't sound like any GNS theory I've ever read.

    I'm not opposed to the Big Horseshoe.  In fact, some where there is a link to a very early sim post by me that put Hi Fi and Low fi sim on a seperate axis from Gam and Nar  LONG LONG before Jared slapped the Big Horseshoe label on it.  But statements like the above just really get under my skin.
    Logged

    Ron Edwards
    Global Moderator
    Member
    *
    Posts: 16490


    WWW
    « Reply #11 on: June 23, 2004, 07:19:36 AM »

    Hiya,

    And let's not forget that Mike and I are agreed that his version of the Beeg Horseshoe contains no contradictions to the Big Model, but is arguably a better way of stating it from my attempts.

    Best,
    Ron
    Logged
    Ben Lehman
    Member

    Posts: 2094

    Blissed


    WWW
    « Reply #12 on: June 23, 2004, 07:38:00 AM »

    I'd just like to pop in a second and make a statement since, hey, it's my terminology:

    I'm getting a wierd vibe from this thread.

    I feel like John is saying "I took a walk, and saw some birds."

    and Ralph is saying: "Well, if you went to the birdhouse straightaway, you would see more and different birds."

    And John is saying: "Yeah, well, I like taking a walk, too..."

    So I guess it seems like everyone is talking past each other. (In case the metaphor makes no sense, replace "take a walk" with "virtuality gaming" and "see birds" with "produce story.")

    Uhm... I realized that this is my second post like this (everyone get along!) recently.  I'm not sure if this is totally kosher so, mods, please contact me if it isn't.

    yrs--
    --Ben
    Logged

    John Kim
    Member

    Posts: 1805


    WWW
    « Reply #13 on: June 23, 2004, 12:41:16 PM »

    Quote from: Ben Lehman
    I feel like John is saying "I took a walk, and saw some birds."

    and Ralph is saying: "Well, if you went to the birdhouse straightaway, you would see more and different birds."

    And John is saying: "Yeah, well, I like taking a walk, too..."

    So I guess it seems like everyone is talking past each other. (In case the metaphor makes no sense, replace "take a walk" with "virtuality gaming" and "see birds" with "produce story.")

    I think you're misreading.  If you'll re-read the initial post, I have no problem with suggesting that "virtuality gaming" is opposed to "produce well-formed story".  However, "virtuality gaming" is not opposed to "address moral issues".  As I see it, a heavy Virtuality game will have a lot of moral issues addressed, and indeed that may be the focus and interest of the players.  That is certainly what interests me about Virtuality.  On the other hand, such a game will generally lack the structured qualities of story, especially closure and catharsis.
    Logged

    - John
    C. Edwards
    Member

    Posts: 558

    savage / sublime


    « Reply #14 on: June 23, 2004, 01:16:53 PM »

    Hey John,

    Quote
    In previous discussions, some people suggested that PC actions aren't distinguishing features of Creative Agenda. Rather, the issue is what the player is grooving on -- i.e. a Narrativist player will show more signs of satisfaction in the case of moral dilemma. Hence to observe CA, you need to focus on how players nod their heads and smile and such -- not on what happens within the Shared Imaginary Space.


    Right. That's standard GNS "observable behavior".

    Quote
    Can you give some examples about what you are talking about here? My impression is that you say that certain moral choices are antithetical to Story Now. That is, if my PC is faced with a moral issue, if he does one thing it would be Story Now -- while if he does something else it is not. I don't see that. To take the example of the Water-Uphill-World campaign, the PCs were inherently faced with dilemmas from being trapped on an alien world. How can I tell which character choices would be Story Now, and which would not?


    To address this I need you to forget about the rest of the participants for a moment. Consider this just from the perspective of a single player's internal dialogue regarding his or her decisions during play.

    First, it's how you view what you have your PC do when faced with a moral issue that matters when determining if you're prioritizing Story Now or some other aspect.

    In our HeroQuest game last week, my character came into conflict with another member of his tribe. There is some sort of horrible disaster coming and this tribe member was standing in the way of the tribe's safety. He was doing this by speaking against my character's religion (and character in general I think) and using it as an excuse to not heed my suggestion that we lead the tribe to a network of caves where they would be safe (relatively).

    Now, all things considered, I thought that my character was likely to take a particular course of action. But, after some thought, I said "screw that" and had him take the course of action that I thought, as a player, addressed the issue with the most dramatic impact. I also thought that it would provide the meat for addressing more issues down the road.

    I made a compromise that resulted in prioritizing Story Now over the fidelity of my character. Not necessarily in a large way, certainly not in a way that was noticeable to other participants. But I know what my priority was when faced with that moral issue.

    Sometimes what I think my character would do aligns perfectly with the way I as a player want to address an issue. Sometimes it doesn't to one degree or another. Since the other participants only get to see the choice I actually made, that particular view of my character is reinforced in their minds. All the while I know that I hedged on my own internal image of my character.

    So, there's a particular "micro" view of GNS. Hopefully it helps illustrate how your view of your own play and how that play is observed by others can be two different phenomena.

    Yes, we were all grooving on what we were doing. Some of that was the address of moral issues and some of it was just being happy to explore an imaginary world. Some of that grooving was even the result of overcoming obstacles or outdoing our fellow players.

    Were we doing anything that was obviously to the detriment of the fidelity of the imaginary space? No.

    I can't emphasize enough that there are aspects of all three CAs present during play, and that prioritizing one for any particular decision does not necessarily entail some great sacrifice of another.

    Quote
    You're speaking as if GNS is news to me somehow.


    I'm only trying to address the points and questions you're bringing up. Any "simplification" of an explanation is my attempt to promote successful communication in areas where I'm not sensing full understanding on your part. If I say something that you're fully aware of already feel free to just nod and move on.

    As for the rest, I can only reiterate what Ralph and Ron have already said.

    -Chris
    Logged
    Pages: [1]
    Print
    Jump to:  

    Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
    Oxygen design by Bloc
    Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!