Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Weekly Review July 8th to July 15th

A variety of theory developments were made this week, from examining fanfiction to a further attempts to extract the uniqueness of RPGs.

Perceiving Story

Guy Shalev discusses the relationship between stories and games. He argues that stories are after-the-fact perceptions of the events and fictions of play. He describes play as a scaffolding which can be perceived as a story in different ways.

Extracting from the Boundary

Fang Langford returns to his earlier exploration of the periphery of RPGs. Listing out the many games and activities he and others put together he suggests some regularities: "live (even asynchronous) participation of more than one individual", "at least some fictional content that can be affected", and "explicit or implicit rituals that guide or limit". Expanding from these he proposes some ways of looking at the necessary dynamics of the broad class of things in and about RPGs.


Ashi discusses fanfiction, specifically interactive fan roleplaying using internet lists and blogging software. She describes how the software structure provides elements of system which in face-to-face play requires conscious management. Beyond this, she describes how the rules of the fiction (related to writing exercises and the like) as well as the importance of keeping to canon influence the authority of the contributors as they play.

Character, Control and Change

Rich Warren discusses how traditional games treat the control and influencing of characters. He describes the balance between affecting a character by threats and opportunities, and wholesale control such as fictional mind-control. He examines these from two directions, the immediate control of the character, and the longer term changes in the character.

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