Friday, May 11, 2007

Monthly Review April 2007

This month has generated quite a bit of interesting developments in theory. Fang Langford constrasted the concepts of Shared Imaginary Space and the Big Model, two of the most popular theory models, and suggests that they are in fact fundamentally incompatible. What does it mean for the larger goal of developing theory if the most widely-utilized models exclude each other?

Elliot Wilen questioned the importance of system to the success of RPGs, a 180-degree reversal from the most common game design perspectives. Generally, we attempt to construct mechanical systems to encourage the types of responses that we think are most important to play, based on whatever design theories we're sympathetic to. But what if we've gotten it wrong? Wilen raises excellent questions for which we really need to generate answers.

Lastly, Joshua BishopRoby explored the intriguing concept of a baseline RPG, asking just what the minimum necessary structure to run a game actually is. What's the fundamental template of game design, upon which we add elaborations? Understanding the most basic elements of roleplaying would seem to be helpful in our attempts to comprehend the topic as a whole.

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