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The Role We Don't Play

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Diogo Ribeiro, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. Diogo Ribeiro Erudite

    Diogo Ribeiro
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    Role-Player thinks he's the shit, so he offers his perspective on what he thinks may be contributing to the lack of role in contemporary role-playing games, along with some design suggestions to offset the problem on his editorial titled <a href=http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=145>The Role We Don't Play</a>:<blockquote>It’s a harsh reality of the genre that, whether by developer influence or actual player demand, CRPGs have been trying to emulate Hollywood productions in order to present games with an increasing focus on emulating cinematic experiences. However, the result is often amateurish and embarrassing since the transposition from one medium to the other is made while disregarding the formal vocabulary of cinema and its context; something is lost in translation from cinema to videogame, and developers end up trying to implement narrative elements that run contrary to the narrative possibilities of the other medium. They look at movies and try to create videogames that behave – <i>that play</i> – like movies, which generally fails to build upon the strengths of the videogame medium and poorly uses the narrative structures of cinema. Some developers have tried experimenting with other approaches to the problem, trying to create situations where realtime player input is crucial and determines the flow of the story but these sequences often feel like compartmentalized and separated from the rest of the game; more in common with minigames than a situation that feels natural and fluid to the rest of the game and the gamer, if for no other reason than developers often can’t handle the complexities of the videogame medium and only propose simplistic input methods for these situations which in a certain way, present challenges and base interactivity that feel like glorified variations of classics like Space Ace or Dragon’s Lair.</blockquote>You'd think people not caring about his rants would shut the guy up, but he went and done it anyway.
     
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  2. kingcomrade Kingcomrade Edgy

    kingcomrade
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    Did Vault Dweller post this in the wrong account or is Role-Player being postmodern?

    edit- obligatory interesting article comment...I suppose I should read it
     
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  3. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    Role-Player is just an alt of VD.
     
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  4. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Well, I'm sure you understand why I had to use my Role-Player alt after the "indie interview" fiasco.
     
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  5. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    The plans within plans of Codex politics. :lol:
     
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  6. MountainWest Scholar

    MountainWest
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    This may or may not have to do with the article - my limited english and Role-players use of english prevents me from telling for sure - but something that's easy to forget when discussing the narrative in video games is that most developers seem to lack that someone on their team that's genuinely good at telling a story. While a best-selling author is someone that got a knack for telling a story (or anyone with a pen and paper and some spare time on their hand, according To KC - but let's assume he's wrong) and a famous movie script writer is likewise, the storyteller at a developer house seem to be someone that knows a lot of dungeon and dragons.

    What if they just lack the talant of telling a good, original story? That would explain the neverending flood of "Unknown hero with amnesia must save the world from the ultimate evil (TM)". Sure, the developers will say that this is what the players wants to play. But as far as I know, that's just not true. People, at least those among my friends, likes variety.

    Look at the movie industry. Sure, one year super heroes is all the rage, but the next it will be something else. Catastrophes, japanese horror remakes, and so on. People grow tired of getting fed the same shit, and they grow tired quickly.

    You have to be fucking Stephen King to get your publisher to publish two or more books in the same year, and that regardless if your books deals with entirely different subjects or not. Why? Because people will grow tired of you. Imagine what would happen if you also told the same story every fucking time.

    The ultimate world saving hero has been done for over 20 (30?) years in the game industry. And I'm pretty sure people buy it because there's nothing else to buy.

    And that leads me back to what I wanted to say: how can we expect a guy (or a woman) that can't tell ONE original story... how can we expect that guy to come up with several good stories, which is needed to create a good choices and consequences narrative?
     
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  7. Jason chasing a bee

    Jason
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    I don't think it's appropriate that Role-Player referred to himself in the article, possibly confusing reasonable readers. Please put a disclaimer at the beginning or delete the article altogether. Thank you.
     
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  8. Anaglyph Novice

    Anaglyph
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    Well that's true; most game stories are really poorly conceived and the writing is generally dreadful; but Role-Player's point is that trying to force the structure of a traditional narrative into a game is the wrong way of going about it in the first place. Decent writing isn't going to alter the fact that trying to turn a game into a film will result in a reduction of game.
     
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  9. Nedrah Erudite

    Nedrah
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    You know there's only one way to fix this, don't you?

    Go on.

    Do it

    Too bad, was such a nice, lengthy piece, too.
     
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  10. GhanBuriGhan Erudite

    GhanBuriGhan
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    I think this is right on. People tend to look down upon the simulation aspect of RPG's here, but I think it's the only way forward.
     
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  11. Morbus Scholar

    Morbus
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  12. Joe Krow Erudite

    Joe Krow
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    Agreed. Nobody wants to play a flow chart. Long live Ultima.
     
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  13. suibhne Erudite

    suibhne
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    I've neck-deep in a bunch of videogame theory and criticism right now, and I find myself increasingly skeptical of "narrative" in games - i.e., "narrative" in a classical sense, not the emergent "narrative" a player could relate about his experiences in a true sandbox game. There's a signifcant group of theorists in videogame criticism who see "simulation" (rather than "narrative") as videogames' primary attribute, and I'm pretty much sold on expanding that area rather than focusing so much design on narrative narrative narrative...particularly because "simulation" doesn't preclude - and could even emphasize - the kinds of "narratives" we construct about our real-life experiences, which is to say, our daily experience of narrative rather than the traditional, narrower definition inherited by non-interactive arts like cinema and literature.
     
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  14. DarkUnderlord Bringing that old Raptor magic. Dumbfuck

    DarkUnderlord
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    Look into the Codex and the Codex looks into you
    It's a bug in the content approval system.

    Quiet you. You've caused enough trouble for one week.

    I surmise the synergistic principles between an interactive, computer-assisted narrative versus a comparable experience in another medium are allowed only by an increased initiative in mindshare. It's common to incentivize participants into an experience, wholly unfounded in any modern principle of assertive force, only when characterised by a reduction in the strategic momentum such a force provides within that scenario.

    By the time you've figured out what I was saying, chances are you've stopped caring too.

    [​IMG] VS [​IMG]
     
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  15. The editor is in need of an editor. I couldn't get past the first paragraph, the English was so poor.

    No offense.
     
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  16. Dopey Novice

    Dopey
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    None taken, is that You mrs. Lieutenant ?
     
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  17. elander_ Arbiter

    elander_
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  18. One Wolf Scholar

    One Wolf
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    hey man, what the fuck is wrong with you anyway?
     
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  19. Claw Erudite Patron

    Claw
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    My words. Well, more like my thoughts put in much nicer words.

    Of course MountainWest is also right, which only helps to highlight the problem. First the gameplay suffers as to not interfere with the story, and then the players suffer the story.
     
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  20. Atrokkus Erudite

    Atrokkus
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    You are a moron for saying that. Sure, the article is a bit clunky, and some sentences are overburdened with complex structures, but it's still clear enough for getting the point across. Unless your attention span is that of a cockroach, of course.

    EDIT
    Word of advice for RP (though I am not a native speaker myself): do try not to use overly cumbersome constructions, and break down the big sentences instead.
     
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  21. Nicolai DUMBFUCK

    Nicolai
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    Gosh, I'm surrounded by butter knives. :aiee:
     
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  22. psorcerer Novice

    psorcerer
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    "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done everyday, but they are unable to do it themselves

    - Brendan Behan"

    That's what I think of while reading this article.
    Gameworld without story is not possible.
    Game without story is called "a toy", you can play with the toy if you want, I don't.
    And you already have almost perfect RPG toy: NWN, play with it, do narrative yourself, make quests yourself, invent events yourself. What else do you want?
    Perfect for toy lovers.
     
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  23. elander_ Arbiter

    elander_
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    Every game is supposed to be played fool. When you buy a game you should get something solid and not a 2-in-1 like a shampoo, that is less at both.

    Normal noobes see it right away. Sad and patetic noobes who are obcessed in pruuuuty stories can't overcome their patetic fears. They don't understand that at 2-in-1 means two separate things (story and gameplay) of lower quality while in a real game the story and gameplay support each other and the two components are exalted. If this doesn't happen then the game isn't well designed.

    Oh and some critics already "made it" but they can also point out what has been done before and worked much better. Something that lazy noobe developers have a tendency to forget because they spend too much time admiring their own asses in the mirror instead of trying to learn something. This is the bases for criticism. You could as well put Mr Moronic Ass's name at the bottom of that quote it would be the same thing.

    What many old school game designers didn't realize or were blind at is usability is important. But neither new school game designers as they keep talking about it and do it all wrong like obcessed fools who ran away from school to do games and have an hard time reading or instructing themselves on the subject.

    It's like the retarded Olympics. When selling figures go down and someone sees that noobes aren't playing their games everyone starts running like crazy to make games as retarded as possible. Then when someone cries that games are too retarded and nobody is playing them, except perhaps people like you, they all start running to the other side to make games as complex and unplayable as possible.
     
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  24. Claw Erudite Patron

    Claw
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    Not a lot of thought, I can't fail to notice. Someone else's thought to boot. I've got a new quote for you: "People who can't think for themselves, quote."
     
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  25. Diogo Ribeiro Erudite

    Diogo Ribeiro
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    Thanks for sharing. Me, I think of preteen schoolgirls when I see lollipops.

    You're quite the scholar.

    I guess Pacman, Asteroids, Missile Command and Arkanoid are toys, then.

    I don't care about what you want, but I am intrigued about the constant references about a "game without a story". Care to share why you're constantly bringing this up in a reply to an article that doesn't ask for story to be removed?

    That people like you somehow manage to grasp other people's statements.
     
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