Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weekly Review Feb. 5th to Feb. 11th

This week in theory has been a slow one, with a dash of controversy towards the end.

Getting Into the Character

Adam Dray presented his theory of immersion. He describes immersion as "a ritual form of gaming that helps players switch to their character's personality and presents no obstacles to staying in that mode." He continues to clarify that this is a true personality change, so much as entering a state where perception and retention of events is subtly different.

Story-Blindness

Ron Edwards has put forward the claim that players of the RPG wave of the 80's and 90's frequently suffer from a pathology which renders them unable to perceive the underlying elements of stories. This pathology is then responsible for a wide array of negative behavior on the part of these groups, from immature social interactions during play to an increasing bitterness disguised as story focus. He claims this derives from the bait-and-switch aspect of many games in that era, causing players to associate story with the actual play of such games.

The community seems divided on this matter. Some, such as Ed Weil, see a significant amount of truth in Edwards' claims. Others, such as Rob Maudib see Edwards as focusing his vitriol at people who simply don't share his play style. While other, such as Michael find his presentation to overshadow is intellectual merit.

1 comment:

Caledonian said...

I think a distinction needs to be made between being unable to perceive the elements of stories, and not thinking that roleplaying sessions need to incorporate elements of stories.

The first case involves a form of mental damage. The second involves a valid (if IMO tedious and uninteresting) style of play preference.

It's not utterly unreasonable to suggest that the most popular RPGs have skewed players' thinking about what a RPG is, but leaping ahead to proclaiming they're brain damaged is... hubristic is the best word I can think of.