Reaching the masses - is that the aim Vincent?

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Reaching the masses - is that the aim Vincent?
« on: March 02, 2011, 05:50:17 PM »
Hi, I was just cruising rpg.net and I was thinking about different types of gamers and my own gaming history.  So Im 42 and I started gaming in 1986.

Lets call this stage 1.
Back then, it was totally the setting and the situations it implied that I got excited about,  WOW, broos and stormbulls fighting it out - cyberpunk, etc...  The mechanics didnt really make any kind of difference to me, it was just something to pick up, and there was only one way of roleplaying - the way my friends taught me, so that didnt factor in either.

stage 2
After some years, I became bored with this.  The settings and implied situations were still cool, but we had tapped them in every way we knew how.  Which is not a limitation on the settings/sitches themselves, but on our ability to tap them.   It was just the same old, same old, and maybe it was the mechanics that was to blame?  There was only one way to play, so the mechanics were the only variable we could see.   So lets look at games with different mechanics and see if that fixes the 'sameol' factor.  The endgame for stage 2 (for me) is designing your own heartbreaker which doesnt help either.

stage 3
Maybe we're doing it wrong?   Apparently there is something called 'indie games' that have all these impenetrable theories about different ways to roleplay?  Lets check those out and try a few.  Hmmm, theoretically it sounds good, but in practice its hard to learn different ways to play from a rulebook, and we are older now with much less time and brainspace to spend on our hobbies, and isolated from other gamers who might be able to teach us by example.

stage 4
OK, we get it now.  By a combination of fumbling experimentation, forum tips, narrative heartbreakers, fizzled sessions etc...  we get that there are other styles of play to appreciate and that roleplaying can be offer us new ways to tap the setting/situations that we still love.

Phew, Ok.  So this is obviously autobiographical, but I am assuming it is representative of a significant number of gamers, and that large numbers of gamers 'drop out' at each stage, judging by the hordes that post to RPG.net and the few that post to indie game sites.  Like a reverse exponential curve.

And the point is that I am looking at AW, having not played it yet, but its on the agenda, and Im thinking - everything about it is intrinsicly appealing to the stage 1 player in us all (well in me anyway) - the setting and implied situations, the character archetypes, the big fucking guns, the hitpoints, armor and equipment, the 'lets throw some magic/psi shit in here because we can'

However, what AW doesnt have is the 'there is only one way to roleplay -- you know, the way you already play with your friends' assumption.  It this has a very specific, explicit, no nonsense approach to 'This is how you play this game' - down to the rigid types of 'moves' and the way the moves lead you by the nose into certain types of conflict with open-ended resolutions.

For a start, if you design games for a living, you want to reach the stage 1s because there are so many of them and they spend money, and if youre lucky, you could go viral.  But there is also this explicitness and nose-leading mechanics - designed to help people go from stage 1/2 to stage 3/4 without it taking  5 years and without a huge dropout rate? 

Is that the aim vincent?

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lumpley

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Re: Reaching the masses - is that the aim Vincent?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2011, 03:54:38 PM »
Kind of. Not really.

My aim is to put forward the cool color, the guns and badass characters and psi stuff and so on, promise action, danger, and more of the same but now you're the one making it, and then deliver on that promise and to spare.

I don't think of games in progressive stages. I'm not trying to help anybody graduate from one kind of game to another, better kind, or anything like that.