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Author Topic: friendlier G/N/S definitions  (Read 24327 times)
joshua neff
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2001, 12:38:00 PM »

* The model explicitly states that narrativists are telling stories, and no-one else is. *

well, actually, narrativism is about "creating stories"--actively, rather than "letting stories happen"...

so, yes, all (or most) gamers would say they tell stories, but narrativism means you are actively trying to create a good story, which is a different thing althogether (check out a different thread in this same forum regarding that difference--"story thoughts" is the name of the thread)...

now, i won't deny that there are those gamers who do cop a "better gamer than thou" attitude, & will boldly claim "ROLEplaying is superior to ROLLplaying" or some other such crap...i just don't think it happens here...


[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-05-12 16:39 ]
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"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
joshua neff
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2001, 01:13:00 PM »

james--

a further thought:

to say "narrativists aim towards creating good stories, gamists & simulationists don't" isn't anything like saying "sorry to call you an idiot"--it's simply saying that different people have different goals...as someone who's pretty damn narrativist, i'm not offended if you say "gamists are interested in overcoming challenges & narrativists aren't"...of course i like to overcome challenges, but not in the way gamists do--i want my character to overcome dramatic challenges (usually--sometimes it's fun to have a character fail) but i don't care whether or not i, as a player, overcome any challenges...

i think one of the reasons narrativism hasn't been as widespread in rpgs as gamism & simulationism is because "story creation" hasn't actually been seen as a primary goal in rpgs all along--in the early days, there was rarely a mention of story creation, good or bad, active or passive, in rpg rulebooks--the focus was on accuracy & verisimilitude of the gameworld, balance of characters & challenges...all good gamist & simulationist stuff...the "rpgs as story" movement is a fairly recent one (which isn't to say story was never ever a concern--just not in the rpg rulebooks) w/ games like "ars magica" & "vampire"...

now, i was always concerned w/ story, which is why i didn't run a lot of stuff & when i did, i wasn't the best gm...there simply wasn't anything to support narrativism in the rpgs i read (1st ed "ad&d" & "basic d&d", "boot hill", "top secret", "gamma world", "traveller", etc) & not having much of a head for mechanics, i never even thought you could have story-facilitating systems in rpgs...so i just ran stuff as is & railroaded my players into the story i wanted to create...

now, of course, all rpgs have "story" stuff in them...most rpgs still don't reflect story-creation in the mechanics, but they all pay lip service to "how important story is"...

to be honest, i don't think it is--i mean, it is to me, but it isn't to everyone, certainly not to the point of having story-facilitating mechanics...not only do i think that's okay, i think it should be celebrated...are you interested in challenge more than story? great! cool! do you think story is just the end effect of exploring characters & setting? brilliant! the forthcoming "rune" seems to be an unabashedly gamist game, full of competition & winners & losers, & it looks like it could be a lot of fun...

so, i think if there's an "offense" taken, it's not because of the "snootiness" of narrativists (or theorists) but because people have been stressing all 3 goals at once, as equally important...they are equally valid, but i don't think they're equally important to all people all of the time...

does that make any sense?

[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-05-12 17:13 ]

[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-05-12 17:15 ]
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greyorm
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2001, 02:43:00 PM »

Quote

"People who don't understand the system are stupid and obnoxious anyway, and thus we don't care whether they understand it or not."

(Three different posts above largely condense to this.)


This is a major strawman...no one has said "anyone who doesn't understand the system is stupid and obnoxious and their points aren't worth listening to."

In fact, being one of the posters you are referring to, why would I say that?  I'm only beginning to really understand the model now.  Am I thus calling myself an idiot?
Apparently, according to you.

But no, you'll note that everyone has been talking about the "people you can explain the model too, even the ones that don't get it" and "people you can't explain the model to, and refuse to abandon misperceptions."

That's quite a stretch from your claim of what is being said by anyone on this forum, and none of the three posts condense to the statement you've made in any way.

Face it, there are reasonable people and pig-headed people.

Quote

"There are three types of gamers: there are gamists, there are simulationists, and then there are thoughtful people who tell richly themed stories with well-developed characters and meaningful player contributions."


If you see that initially, I can see it.  If you examine the model and still see that, you're WANTING to see it.

Quote

To use the last poster's analogy: if a majority of physicists can't make a theory work, the theory is substantially modified or abandoned (note cold fusion.) We're not talking about laymen here; we're talking about other gamers.


I think I see exactly what the problem is here: you haven't figured out what the model is saying.  The model says nothing about who is telling stories...the model clearly and implicity states *goals* of gaming, or rather "what makes me satisfied in a game."

As well, the model works, provably so, so it isn't a theory like "cold fusion," which plain doesn't work and thus must be rebuilt or abandoned.  People here understand it and work it every day.  So this isn't a case of "a majority of physicists can't make it work", it is like any complex theory: not understandable at a cursory glance, even to a "professional."

And what makes you think that being a gamer should automatically give one the ability to understand the "theory of gaming"?  That's like saying anyone that can hit a baseball should be able to understand physics, or every accountant should understand the bernoulli number sequence (ok, I don't actually know what that is, but hopefully you see the point).

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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2001, 08:09:00 PM »

I think James is onto something when he says "The model explicitly states that narrativists are telling stories, and no-one else is" is what somehow offends.

Joshua rebuts/clarifies what the model says with:

>well, actually, narrativism is about "creating
>stories"--actively, rather than "letting stories
>happen"

But (and this is obviously only one man's opinion here), how is "letting a story happen" indirectly via, say, Simulationist rules any less "active" in "creating" a story?    I could see someone (at the moment, not me, but . . . ) strongly argue that they LIKE such stories more, that they are BETTER created in this way, because the direct attention of a conventional Narrativist approach feels too artifical and contrived.  I think the distinguishing characteristic here is not on the fact of story creation, or the active/passive nature of it.

Assuming (outside of G/N/S) you're interested in story, the question becomes, in what WAY are you interested in creating that story.  I'm making this up on the fly here (and after I said in another thread I was going to think a good bit before posting - appologies if this is useless and sloppy, and I retain the right to retract it all later), but maybe Narrative-focus simply means you like the players (and GM?) to think directly in terms of "story" issues as they create the story (and, ideally, have game mechanic tools that reflect that), Game-focus means you like the players (and GM?) to think in terms of "competitive" issues as they create the story (and, ideally, have game mechanic tools that reflect that), and Simulation-focus means you like the players (and GM?) to think in terms of "verisimilitude" issues as they create the story (and, ideally, have game mechanic tools that reflect that).

The E-thing is "verisimilitude" of character.

I have to think about this, but I'm liking having G/N/S focus on "how" rather than "what".  Of course, I'm not currently including those who do NOT pick story as their "what" . . .

Sigh - I'm probably complicating things where I shouldn't.  Hope someone finds this at least amusing, if not helpful.

Gordon C. Landis
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2001, 09:05:00 PM »

Hey Gordon,

how is "letting a story happen" indirectly via, say, Simulationist rules any less "active" in "creating" a story?

It's less active from the player standpoint in that the player never uses Authorial (or Directorial) stance. Here's a slightly edited paste of something I wrote to a pro-railroading thread on G.O.:

Think about the power an author has when he's writing a book. He can introduce objects. He can introduce new characters at dramatic moments. And then think about the power a player has during a typical Simulationist game. Generally he's proscribed from operating with knowledge other than what his character has managed to glean from in-game events. No author of fiction operates this way. And no gamemaster operates this way. The reason railroading creates a more coherent and pleasing narrative outcome to a scenario in the typical Simulationist game is because only the gamemaster has the power to do a large subset of the things that make stories good, like invent characters, describe the outcomes of actions, invent backstory on the fly, orchestrate dramatic coincidences, etc. Those are key powers that no author of fiction could function effectively without.

I could see someone...strongly argue that they LIKE such stories more, that they are BETTER created in this way, because the direct attention of a conventional Narrativist approach feels too artifical and contrived.

Anyone who argues that placing characters in an environment and observing them to see what happens creates better stories than traditional authorial methods is an idiot. An ant farm can be fascinating, but it's not a story.

Paul
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joshua neff
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2001, 09:16:00 PM »

* But (and this is obviously only one man's opinion here), how is "letting a story happen" indirectly via, say, Simulationist rules any less "active" in "creating" a story? *

i think you just answered yr own question, gordon--letting something happen is decidedly NOT active--& that's one difference between narrativism & simulationism...i would argue that those people who claim "but i AM a narrativist! i love story--i just want to let it unfold thru play & see what the result is, rather than trying to FORCE it" are, in fact, much more oriented towards simulationism than narrativism...(& i'm not saying narrativism means "forcing" a story any more than i'm saying simulationism is about "forcing" an  environment--but i have heard people make that claim regarding narrativist mechanics)...

* I could see someone (at the moment, not me, but . . . ) strongly argue that they LIKE such stories more, that they are BETTER created in this way, because the direct attention of a conventional Narrativist approach feels too artifical and contrived. I think the distinguishing characteristic here is not on the fact of story creation, or the active/passive nature of it. *

see, i disagree...sure, someone could argue that they like a story better when it's a result of play, not a factor w/in it (in fact, a certain rpgnetter did argue that to me just recently)--again, i would argue that saying you "like story" doesn't make you a narrativist anymore than paying lip service to verisimilitude makes you a simulationist or saying "i like a good challenge" makes you a gamist...
as ron pointed out, if you were to sit down & start writing stream-of-consciousness, you might get a good piece, but you would almost certainly not get a good STORY (& as much as i love the idea of "first thought, best thought", the guy who coined that phrase, allen ginsburg, revised his poems constantly, as did his buddy jack kerouac revise his novels)..."but rpgs aren't novels" someone yells from the back of the auditorium--yr right, they aren't...but as i've said before, sitting around & waiting for a GOOD story (w/ relevant, engrossing premises & themes & drama) to just happen is as likely as a bunch of improv actors standing around on stage waiting for a good play to happen...& to continue w/ the play analogy, i would argue that following a script, even a good script, is simulationist, while improv theatre, even if the resultant story falls flat, is narrativist, as it's not concerned w/ replication but w/ CREATION...

telling a narrativist "those mechanics are unnatural" is about as constructive & meaningful as telling a simulationist "those mechanics yr using are unnatural--who needs verisimilitude?" or telling a gamist "who cares if the game is balanced? just play the damn thing!"...

you know, it just occured to me that it's late & i need sleep, so i may not be making any sense at all...

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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2001, 11:19:00 PM »

Despite my best intentions to let this sit and come back to it later, I checked the board from home, and now I'm gonna go and try and say something intelligent (or at least intelligible) . . .

In response to my:
how is "letting a story happen" indirectly via, say, Simulationist rules any less "active" in "creating" a story?

Paul sez:
It's less active from the player standpoint in that the player never uses Authorial (or Directorial) stance.

2 reactions - 1st, YES, I'm pretty sure I understand what you're saying here, and I agree - I sense a lot of "meat" in realizing that Authorial/Directorial stance aren't really associated with Simulationism.  My 2nd reaction is to question my 1st - is it really not possible to be Authorial in a simulation?  Couldn't there be provision for, say, occasionally the rules of the simulation will break down, and in order to be true to the spirit of the simulation, we allow an Authorial step-in to get things back on track - and only to get things back on track?  While it might be true that "only the gamemaster has the power to do a large subset of the things that make stories good, like invent characters, describe the outcomes of actions, invent backstory on the fly, orchestrate dramatic coincidences, etc. Those are key powers that no author of fiction could function effectively without", what if the players (by convention of the group, though you could formalize it in the rules system) can veto such acts with a "not true to the simulation" vote - or if we allow players to have the Authorial power, subject to the "true to the simulation" rule as well?

Paul goes on to say:
>Anyone who argues that placing characters in an
>environment and observing them to see what happens
>creates better stories than traditional authorial
>methods is an idiot. An ant farm can be fascinating,
>but it's not a story

Well . . . I can't strongly argue this because part of why I'm in these discussions is I'm often unhappy with the amount/type of story that is generated with what everyone calls Simulationist and Gamist RPGs.  But I'll take a stab
at it . . . running with the above, a Simulationist is not restricted from using Authorial methods, they are just constrained in their use by being true to the simulation.  I'll assert that this is traditionally judged in a kind of group-consensus way, with players who try to get away with "too much" prevented by the GM and/or peer pressure, but in theory it could be managed by the game system.  And if one the prime requirements you have for you're story is that it is true to the simulation . . . you're no idiot, you're just trying to make the story you're most interested in.  Maybe the "hard" science fiction analogy works here - it's IMPORTANT to such folks that the science is REAL in such fiction.  The story is RUINED if it's not - doesn't matter if it's dramatically better for Spaceman Spiff to survive 15 mins in hard vaccum - he can only be allowed a few seconds.  A good author will work to set up dramatic situations that are consistent with the science, but in a showdown between the 2, science wins.

So I'm again left thinking the story vs. not story, creating vs. not creating ain't quite it - something about how you're creating, and what kind of things are important to your story, seem like bigger factors.

Gordon C. Landis
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2001, 11:40:00 PM »

(Now, lets see if I can sensibly respond to a few things joshua said . . .)

"i would argue that those people who claim "but i AM a narrativist! i love story--i just want to let it unfold thru play & see what the result is, rather than trying to FORCE it" are, in fact, much more oriented towards simulationism than narrativism"

It's situations like this that convince me there's something "off" in the G/N/S model, or my understanding of it.  'Cause if enough people are saying they are story-focused, but don't match other aspects of the "narrativist" label, I don't wanna argue with 'em.  I'll accept that they are story-focused, with whatever restrictions they put on it - narrativism must be about more than just story-focus.  I suspect that FOR ME, the "baggage" of simulation/gamist issues get in the way of the stories I WOULD LIKE to be able to create in RPGs - but others might see that baggage as the very thing that makes the story "worth it".

"again, i would argue that saying you "like story" doesn't make you a narrativist anymore than  . . . "

Agreed - not a narrativist.  But still story-focused?  Maybe.

"telling a narrativist "those mechanics are unnatural" is about as constructive & meaningful as telling a simulationist "those mechanics yr using are unnatural--who needs verisimilitude?" or telling a gamist "who cares if the game is balanced? just play the damn thing!""

Again, agreed - but I'm still left thinking this means G/N/S are different in what KIND of story you're telling, and HOW, rather than whether you're creating a story at all.  At least, as a valid type of G and S - I don't mean to say you can't have G's and S's that really aren't about story, merely that you can have some that are.  At least, it's looking that way to me.

Gordon C. Landis
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joshua neff
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2001, 05:52:00 AM »

gordon--

well, let me reiterate:

narrativism isn't about "telling stories"--it's about CREATING stories, & there really is a big difference...paul's point about authorial & directorial stance is a good one--in narrativist games, the gm is not the sole author of the story, the entire group is--& to assume that an author could create a good, compelling story by only writing from what 1 character knows & perceives is pretty silly...

is the g/n/s model "off"? well, sure, as much as any model is off--the map is not the territory...people love to try to discredit the model by saying "well, look at my friend here--he doesn't fit neatly into any category!"...well, of course he doesn't, few humans fit into any category neatly...that doesn't invalidate a model (especially one that's still in development, like g/n/s)...
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Logan
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2001, 06:12:00 AM »

Yes. What Brother Neff said.

And more.

Gordon,

It seems to me that you're pretty clear on the G/N/S relationships. I also think they're pretty much on the mark. It's just I suspect that we have more work to do explaining the nuances. Most games will have some sort of plot or story to draw the players in and to give the characters something to do, regardless of G/N/S bias. That's what pre-packaged adventures are all about. The real difference is in the GM's means of presentation and the players' attitudes toward them. As is often pointed out, the goal in Narrativism is to get the entire group to participate in creating the story. Most Narrativist systems have mechanics which promote that activity. Sim systems usually don't. There, the player goal is to have an unusual experience, and part of that experience is seeing how the story will unfold. It's a rather passive view, but valid all the same. Sim systems are usually built to support that viewpoint. What's interesting is that Gamist systems sometimes do have tools which could be used to create story, but the players don't usually use them to do that. Gamist players usually use them to take advantage of a situation and to help their characters win the scenario.

Directly addressing your assertion about hard vacuum in an SF campaign, you're right. It should be fatal after a several seconds' exposure.  This would be true in a Narrativist game as much as it would be in a Simulationist game. The difference is in how the players deal with it. In a Simulationist game, the character gets shoved out an airlock without protective equipment or means of rescue and he dies. He dies because he got pushed out and death is consistent with the conditions in the simulation. It's that simple. In a Narrativist game, maybe he dies or maybe the player changes the conditions in the story so that the character lives, but only if that makes the story stronger. Motive matters as much as the action itself.

In a Narrativist game, the player may have a lot of recourse. If the death serves no good purpose, the player could trigger a flashback which shows the character finding a locker stuffed with an emergency spacesuit. The character puts it on and is now wearing it. As the hatch opens, he's just putting the helmet in place. Now he has air and probably some survival equipment. Or maybe the player wants a different story. Then, the character does get flushed out the lock without a suit. And he's still alive. Hmmm... It seems that the character isn't human. He thought he was human, but evidently he's not. He's a robot? He's what? There's an unexpected wrinkle. Either way, the character grabs a piece of external equipment and begins the long climb back inside.

Of course, we're assuming the character wants to live, and that dying is bad for the story. If the character were infected with some sort of hideous disease or an alien parasite, maybe he hit the airlock on purpose and sacrificed himself to the void in order to protect his comrades. Then, the player might use Narrativist means just to make sure the character is dead. These are only a few of many possibilities.

Finally, this is not to say that even a primarily simulation-oriented game couldn't give the player some story-making tools. It's just that Sim games usually don't do that.

Best,

Logan

[ This Message was edited by: Logan on 2001-05-15 10:16 ]
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2001, 11:01:00 AM »

Thank you all, for taking the time to respond.  I suspect that I'm harping on minor/semantic differences here, but those kind of things can be important to people, so I'm going to dive in one more time . . .

Joshua says:
"narrativism isn't about "telling stories"--it's about CREATING stories"

Can I rephrase this to "creating stories in a particular way?" (that could be said better - "Narrativism is about making the conventional tools of storytelling more directly available to the RPG participants"? erg . . .)  Then we can add things like involving the entire group, taking an Authorial/Directorial stance, and etc. as "signs" of Narrativism.  I'm just not seeing how G and/or S can't also be about creating stories (and that is how the model comes across, even if it's not what it really means to say).  I'm also trying to hew to the Ron Edwards "one and only one" line - I know many are much more accepting of "blending" than Ron is, but at the moment, taking that more extreme approach seems valuable for the insights it might reveal.

Joshua also stated:
"people love to try to discredit the model by saying "well, look at my friend here--he doesn't fit neatly into any category!"

Yeah, and I hope I don't come across that way - I'm more interested in understanding/improving than discrediting.  But if you've got enough data points that don't fit your model (lots of G and S-focused players saying "I am too about story!  Creating story.  All about that.  I just also  . . ."), that's usually a sign the model might need a tweak or three.

Logan said:
"Most games will have some sort of plot or story to draw the players in and to give the characters something to do, regardless of G/N/S bias. That's what pre-packaged adventures are all about. The real difference is in the GM's means of presentation and the players' attitudes toward them."

I see this as saying "story isn't the differentiator".  Sounds like most people agree there - but some people say "Narrativists CREATE, others don't - they tell, or watch, or participate, or [add your variation here]."  On that point, I am not yet convinced.

Logan goes on to use my hard SF vacuum example to BRILLIANTLY point out Narrativist options.  I may have picked a bad analogy for my point, but since it led to this - I ain't complaining.  But let me cherry-pick a couple quotes:

"In a Narrativist game, maybe he dies or maybe the player changes the conditions in the story so that the character lives, but only if that makes the story stronger.  Motive matters as much as the action itself."

And if you believe "staying true to the sim makes the story 'better'", is your motive not story focused?  A weird fer'instance just occurred to me, that brings in elements of gamism as well - let's suppose the ship travels by some sort of field-generating drive that creates a "bubble" around the ship (a "hard" SF sim better have a real good support for this).  As a result, the first 3-20 inches outside the ship are breathable.  In a gamist approach, maybe the first thing that's needed is the PLAYER needs to realize this, and try to grab onto something (strength roll) to keep within the safety zone.  In a more simulationist approach, maybe the there's an intelligence/memory roll to see if the CHARACTER remembers/figures it out.  In both cases, the group involved sees themselves as serving the creation of a story - the desperate grabbing for a handhold, ANY handhold, as the player makes a strength roll, or the nagging memory trying to surface at the back of the brain - will he remember in time?

Now, I'm interested if people claim that those can be less-than-ideal ways to create a story - if this was the heir to the empire, for example, and the "story" everyone wanted to tell was the political intrigue of his assuming the throne, it'd be silly to kill him off in this way.  While the grabbing/remembering stuff are great story ELEMENTS, they might get in the way of the "bigger" story.  I can accept that - it's happened enough in my personal RP history, and is a big part of why I read and occasionally join in these discussions.  But maybe there are people out there for whom the bigger story is ruined unless these little elements remain true to S or G concerns.

"Finally, this is not to say that even a primarily simulation-oriented game couldn't give the player some story-making tools. It's just that Sim games usually don't do that."

But isn't that MY point? :smile:  If a Sim game (or group convention when playing that game) gives the players some story making tools, and they use 'em - they're creating a story.  So if Narrativism is distinct from that, it must be distinct on some other basis than simply story creation.  This is especially true if you're using the Ron Edwards "one and really only one" of G, N & S, where we can't say that Sim w/story tools is just a Sim/Narrative mix.

Wow, longer than I thought.  Thanks again,

Gordon C. Landis
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2001, 11:52:00 AM »

Re: Simulationist games as "story-telling" games...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the stories in these games told after the game is over?  Like, you play and play and play and when the game is over, you can relate the events as a story -- but the events are not a "story" as it happens.

It's like real life.  My day-to-day life is not a story -- but the events that occur in my life can be written or related in some way as a story.  

In a Narrativist game, you're not living the story...you really are telling a story, albeit as it happens -- dramatic literary/cinematic techniques may be employed and there is a conscious knowledge and effort re: the story as it is happening.
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2001, 01:04:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-05-15 15:52, Jared A. Sorensen wrote:

It's like real life.  My day-to-day life is not a story -- but the events that occur in my life can be written or related in some way as a story.  

In a Narrativist game, you're not living the story...you really are telling a story, albeit as it happens -- dramatic literary/cinematic techniques may be employed and there is a conscious knowledge and effort re: the story as it is happening.



Now that is a useful distinction.  I do think, though, that it behooves us to remember that there are those who prefer to live the story, rather than tell the story.  (I actually enjoy both.)  Living the story (more than anything else) is at the heart of Simulationism/Explorationism.

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Seth Ben-Ezra
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2001, 02:39:00 PM »

Hey everyone,

I think Jared just hit the nail right on the head. Though if I hadn't been so busy today, I would written a post that hit it before him. (No, I'm not competitive, why do you ask?) Maybe I'll just play "pick up the pieces":

Living the story (more than anything else) is at the heart of Simulationism/Explorationism.

I'm not sure Jared's post can be used to support this point. Let me go back to something from Gordon's post and by way of it, explain what I mean:

Joshua says:
"narrativism isn't about "telling stories"--it's about CREATING stories"

Can I rephrase this to "creating stories in a particular way?"


No, you can't. I will, however, allow you to rephrase it to "creating stories during play." And this, I think, is the essence of Jared's post.

I used to dread phone calls from my brother. He'd call to tell me what he'd been doing, but he didn't understand how to make it significant to his audience. He'd tell me about a trip he'd taken, and it would be a series of "and then we did this...and then we went here...and then we did this" without any crafting of to make things relevant to the listener, and without any of the important information about his feelings and reactions and levels of excitement or frustration that most people introduce into their conversations to show the personal drama of their experiences. Without that stuff, each and every thing he'd talk about felt tedious, like too much information.

Life is like that. It's a series of things that don't mean much without human feelings and reactions and moral judgements. When a person who knows how to approach his audience tells about his experiences, he organizes what he's saying around a theme. He manipulates his story to create tension. He uses techniques to make the audience interested in the story. Our lives are like a Simulationist game. They only have theme and meaning when we organize the events that way, and when we tell about them.

So, the difference between G/N/S in my mind is that a Narrativist creates a story with the characters as protagonists during play, partly by eliminating all the "too much information" the Simulationist puts up with, but also through use of Authorial/Directorial techniques like introducing characters and orchestrating dramatic coincidences; the Gamist creates a story during and after play with the player as the protagonist; and the Simulationist creates a story after play by selecting and organizing those game events that best tell a story about the character, and de-selecting the irrelevant and the tedious.

Jared isn't saying that Simulationists live the story. There is no story until the game is over. When someone says that a Simulationist doesn't create story, he means the Simulationist doesn't create story during play the way a Narrativist does.

Paul

[ This Message was edited by: Paul Czege on 2001-05-15 18:47 ]
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« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2001, 02:58:00 PM »

Okay, I will yield the point that perhaps Jared's post does not completely support my point, but I still think that my point stands.

Several people here have complained that most gamers only think of new settings when designing games, as opposed to mechanics or premises.  I think that there's a simple explanation for this.

Most gamers are Simulationists, or as I would prefer to say, Exploratives.

And they are saying what they would like to experience.

Why do you think so many gamers like playing mages or superheroes?  Is it because they want to tell gripping stories about mages or superheroes?  Course not!  It's because they want to imagine the thrill of tossing a fireball or flying faster than a speeding bullet or teleporting into the astral plane.  They want to live an experience.

Paul, the analogy with your brother fails to elucidate the point.  Or rather, it paints both Gamism and Simulationism in a bad light.  To a Simulationist, the details are not necessarily boring.  In fact, most Simulationists these days skip over the boring and cut to the interesting, at least in my experience.  That's because they are looking for the rush of being someone else.  Escapism!  That's what Simulationism is all about.

So why bother if there's a well-constructed story at the end.  That's not the goal.  Simulationists want to live someone else's life.

I am a little disturbed that this goal seems to be slighted here at the Forge.  For all the talk of Actor Stance, it seems as though the vocal proponents here don't really understand it at all.  Immersive play is disparaged as a goal, and Simulative play is compared to a dull brother's retelling of a boring day.  Come now, do you think that Simulative play would be so popular if it were that boring?

But instead, come, drift away with me on the mists of dreams, while I show you a world that you have never seen.  For a few hours you can live another life, wield powers beyond mortal ken, even change the world around you for the better.  For a few hours, adventure and excitement will enter your parched world.  The glory and wonder of imagination will dance in your eyes as you dream with me.  Come, glory in the dance, and care not that no other shall understand what you feel right now.  Is the sunset less glorious because it fades?  Or is its beauty in its ephemeral nature?  It is fleeting, but the memory rides strongly in the mind and soul long after the dice are packed away and the game is over.  For a moment, a halting moment, we reached out and touched the stars.

That is Simulative play.

Dull?  Boring?  I think not.

Irrelevant?  I think not.

I ask all of you to consider, do you really understand Simulative play?  Or have you (unintentionally or otherwise) been slandering a glorious style of play?

{Seth turns off his flames, dusts off the soapbox, and steps down.}

Okay, someone else's turn.  :smile:

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
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