Friday, October 19, 2007

Editorial: A Reflective Revival?

Reflection has often been a technique for psychological and philosophical analysis. It can be used to compare models with ourselves, as a process to explore our own biases, and even as a method of discovery. When merged with a community, reflection as a practice demands a degree of responsibility for all involved. It is a vulnerable process, and one which can be as benefited as injured by the involvement of others.

Much of existing RPG theory has been based on observation, classification, and reflection. However, in the past few years, some events in the broader RPG community have suggested a focus more on observation and classification, and a diminishment of the importance of reflection. The dominance of the Forge theories and the infamous Brain Damage debate are two examples of this general trend.

What makes this intriguing is that more recently there has been a building counter-pressure, you might say a revival of reflection in the exploration and examination of RPGs and their respective theories. Perhaps the most critical turning point has been the construction of I would knife fight a man, by Vincent and Meguey Baker. This forum focuses on self-reflection about many things, including RPG theory. More recently there has been further growth in this area in new RPG theory sites using this reflective approach: Theory Decides and Story 'Prov.

It remains to be seen how this revival will affect the development of RPG theory and RPGs as a whole. In the very least it seems a clear message. Whatever we know about the games we play, there is more to be discovered within ourselves.

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