Thursday, May 04, 2006

Monthly Review April 2006

One of the themes of RPG theory this month was the discussion of inclusion and exclusion. While much of this evolved from debate about gender which rose to a new pitch last month. The first piece of this was Moyra Turkington discussing her two styles of social influence, push and pull, and how they related to places and behaviors surrounding RPG design and theory. In particular she discusses how many web forum provide an environment centered on push style debate, rather than pull style discussion. In this way, those forums inadvertently exclude people more comfortable with pull than push.

In a related discussion over at Story Games different fictional origins were suggested for RPGs other than the wargame, such as board games or experimental fiction. Of particular note these different origins suggested not only differences in the common types of games, but also the common ways that RPGs are discussed.

Returning to the subject of gender and RPGs, several people began to discuss possible ways to make RPGs and the arena of design and theory more inclusive. John Kim remarks on this as a major goal, but separates it from a feminist approach to RPGs which would involve an attempt at actually changing ways of thinking about gender. At about the same time, Jonathon Walton demonstrated how difficult it is to build an inclusive place of discussion.

In the midst of the subject of inclusion, there was a basic undercurrent reminding that inclusion cannot be so important that it overrides certain necessary types of exclusion. Both Vincent Baker and Chris Chinn bring up concerns of this sort.


Bankuei said...

Hi Mendel,

Can you clarify how my writings on incoherent play links to the idea of inclusive discussions?

I'm totally missing whatever connection you're drawing from that.

Mendel Schmiedekamp said...

Corrected a typo which likely caused some confusion.

Simply put, the theory of incoherence is a criteria for exclusion.