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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 47 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: A Question of Premise  (Read 7556 times)

Posts: 1557

« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2003, 10:01:30 PM »


I think you've pretty much covered the basic ground; from here on in it's technical differentiation.  Fortunately, this is the Theory forum.... :)

Honesty of intent is certainly wise.  But can we formalize "Intent" more closely?  Can we state exactly what it is we want to achieve?  I think that, on the assumption that a game's readers will not know the ins-and-outs of GNS theory and related matters (hell, we're all arguing about it, so do we really know it?), we need to state the conclusion we're driving at.

In some ways, I guess this is why I wanted a terminological clarification about logic, which M.J. has neatly capped.  If we're going to be honest about what the game is Intended to do, perhaps the most important part is indeed the Conclusion, the expected outcome.  And if it doesn't work, the players and readers will be able to say, "Okay, it doesn't quite work, but I like that Conclusion, so how do I fix the bits that lead up to it?"

So for me, Intent as currently defined in this thread must at the end-point be coincident with Conclusion; that is, you must be able to say, "This is what I want this game to do, what I want to be the effect of this game."  That way your readers have a way to evaluate its success, and to fix it if it's broken.

To achieve this end, it might be useful to be a bit explicit about your reasoning, about how you got there.  You say where you started (your Intent, what you thought you wanted to be your Conclusion), you say a bit about how you tried to achieve that goal, and you explain why you think your method succeeds.  I don't think this needs to be all formalistic and tedious, nor do I think it needs to be long.  But I think perhaps a bit more is needed than, "I wanted to make a game like X that does Y."  You need also to say, "and I did Z to get there."

Chris Lehrich
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 10459

« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2003, 07:23:39 AM »

I think that a statement of intent may be as much important for what it says the game intends to do as what it does not. Which is interesting. Most games do have some sort of text like this up front, but in the name of marketing the game, it's usually something like:

This is the game for everyone. It's better than all the rest. It'll even make toast for you in the morning.

So the question becomes whether or not the economic angle allows for honesty here.

I think it can. I can see a wave of honest games coming out and saying that they are about xyz, but not about abc. And not in the follwing manner:

If you're into idiotic, hack n' slash, monty haul, dungeon crawl style gaming this game is not for you.

That's just advertising again. After all, how many people would actually admit to all the above.

No, what I think we're looking for is more like what Ralph wrote in the beginnig of Universalis (if I may be so bold). It says that it's a game about telling stories, and not about getting into character. Players looking for that will be dissapointed.

It's an honest assessment of the game, and tells the audience in clear terms what the game will not do. I think that this is of benefit to the game. Other games promise the world and often dissapoint. Once that happens, the game often gets pegged as broken or dysfunctional or somesuch. By telling people up front what a game will not do, you prevent them from being disapointed. Hopefully. And perhaps they will go into playing the game with the correct attitude necessary to enjoy it, thus increasing the usefulness of the system.


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