Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roleplaying and tv shows, films and other media

Last Thursday I got back with one of my former gaming groups. The game master is a world builder and a tinkerer, so his games always have a very personal touch. He had been taken by the format of the Buffy and Angel games, and the idea of the game as a tv show, which is something I've thought a bit about.

I played a short season of Primetime Adventures earlier this year. That game is designed to give the feel of a tv show. You have a "screentime" stat for each episode, and you have game mechanics to enforce a kind of game that give that feel. I didn't like it. It felt very much like a tv show, but I realized that all those personal interaction my friends talk about when their favourite show is the topic of the day, that is not my thing. The soap opera element, if you can call it that, is not very enjoyable to me. Sure, interacting with NPCs is fun, especially if you don't only do if to gain a favour or service of some kind. But, to have the game focus on my inner struggles and my relations to my friends doesn't sound like the kind of "adventure" and thrill I seek at the table.

Now, is our game it wasn't too bad, since my friends have already set a lot of wheels in motion and I got to enjoy that by watch and participate in weird things happening. There's also a lot of exploration of the unknown in the setting, so I think I'll enjoy it. I was thinking, in light of the railroading discussion, that if you have a tv show style of game, then the game master probably have a season script and a plan for what will happen. It will be interesting to see if I will perceive that, and be annoyed by it. If it will be rails, and I'm supposed to be doing "exploring my relations" game, then I'll tire quickly. I wonder if I've ever thought so much about a campaign before as a player?

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