[Stuff to Watch] February 2010

edited February 2010 in Stuff to Watch
It's February 1st here, so I'll start a new thread.

Harvard Business School roleplays supported by an RolePlanner online service that gives the student handouts and rules for single-session exercise games to play as homework (introductory video).

(edit: not new, but I found this today :)


  • If this sort of self-promotion is a no-no, let me know and I'll delete this post. Someone did post a mention of us a few months ago after Matt Forbeck mentioned what we're doing on his blog, so this is a sort of follow-up.

    The bySwarm setting concept submissions are closing on February 20th. So far, we've had about a dozen concepts submitted, and I know there are a number in the works. If you didn't check us out when Matt mentioned us, then maybe now is the time. ;)
  • As far as I know, shameless self promotion is allowed on this thread. :)

    Speaking of which, Microdungeons.com is now one month old and I'm giving away a peice of original artwork, plus some other art will be for sale through the week.
  • edited February 2010
  • A review of How to Host a Dungeon.
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: Paul B(Video) Gamers don't want stories or consequences.
    [1] It's an odd article. We'll probably talk about this more on Pillofight, Paul, but I think it's rather flawed. There are things like this:

    As gamers, we play to escape. We like being the good guy, and when we aren't, we like being able to go over the top in our badness. Morality is a binary choice in gaming: do we rescue or harvest the Little Sisters? Gaming hasn't had the freedom that books and movies enjoy to create a work that is hard to watch and leaves you feeling unsettled. There will be no gaming version of Precious. The story of Hotel Rwanda will never be experienced as a game. It will be hard to make the gaming equivalent of Requiem for a Dream a hit.

    ...which is possibly true, but who knows when a game will break those assumptions? Fallout 3 was one of the bleakest, most human games I've played for a while, with a superb story. It's probably the gaming equivalent of The Road, and who would have thought that would be a hit?

  • The Yellowstone Supervolcano is about to extinguish all life on Earth.
  • [Yellowstone 1] Boy, I'd sure hate to live on THAT continent--oh shit.
  • edited February 2010
    (Mike, if self-promotion is wrong, I don't wanna be right.)

    On Story by the Throat I'm taking a look at 90s improvisation manifesto Free Play by Stephen Nachmanovitch, one of my favorite books on creativity ever.

  • edited February 2010
    (Video) Gamers don't want stories or consequences. [2]

    I was just talking about Heavy Rain, the game featured in the article, with a friend of mine yesterday. (He's another writer and lover of video games.)

    We both can't wait for it.

    I'm not saying the article is wrong that it might not be a hit. I'm saying, "More stories and consequences for me, please!!!"

    And Graham, what is Pillofight?
  • edited February 2010
    [1 Specifically Heavy Rain, a vidja game with a /story/]
    Posted By: Christopher KubasikWe both can't wait for it.
    While I'm interested, I'm also keeping my skeptical eyebrow stare cranked up to 95%.

    This is the studio that brought us INDIGO PROPHESY. Another game which was all about playing along inside a story, complete with mechanics for depression and anxiety.

    The first 1/5 of the game was some of the most intriguing, interesting gaming I ever did on a PS2.

    The rest was a mishmash of absolute crap. It's like they got Alejandro Jodorowsky at the helm or something.

    "OK, now that we suckered them in with gritty crime conspiracy, let's bring in


    Seriously, it was Stone Soup: The French Video Game. Unintentionally hilarious, and absolutely disappointing.

    Hoping that Heavy Rain doesn't go that route, but again, skeeeeeepticaaaaaaallll.

  • Posted By: Andy[2 SpecificallyHeavy Rain, a vidja game with a /story/]

    Posted By: Christopher KubasikWe both can't wait for it.
    While I'm interested, I'm also keeping my skeptical eyebrow stare cranked up to 95%.

    Well, remember.... I didn't say, "Man, I'm going to like this." I said, "I can't wait." All I mean is, I can't wait for someone to be giving it a shot and for me to see what they did. The proof will be in the experience.
  • Protodimension Magazine issue 3 is now available for free download.

    This issue has an adventure for the GUMSHOE system, some cracking artwork, short fiction and an interview with horror author Chris Wright.

    Have a look and see what you think!
  • [2] Heavy Rain/Indigo Prophecy

    I, too, can't wait. Sure, Indigo Prophecy went gonzo. But it's still incredibly fucking unique in the world of video games (can you name any game that's even remotely like it?). I'm actually replaying it right now.
  • [Yellowstone 3] Snopes looked at the issue back in 2007


  • edited February 2010
    [Videogames/Story/Heavy Rain 4]
    Whoa, let me take this step by step.

    1. First, the article talks about failure in financial terms, which is only sensible. Finances only come in as an argument when you're talking about the big industry. Just like the book industry had a 1000 DaVinci Codes for each The Road, the movie industry has a 1000 Scary Movies for each There Will Be Blood, tv has a 1000 CSIs for each The Wire...likewise the gaming industry has a 1000 Army of Twos for each Heavy Rain, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus or whatever. Yes, deep, multilayered, heavy, slow, complex, whatever narratives never make as much profits as simple action. Nothing sensational there.

    2. The author ignores both many quite "artistic" and mature games in the mainstream as well as many very emotional indie games [stuff like The Graveyard or elle et moi].

    So, in conclusion it's not that (video)games can't do that sort of thing, it's just that it's not profitable and hence rarely attempted, much as in any other medium.

    But yeah, this would probably deserve its own thread.
  • Gregor, for you and any others who may not know:
    Posted By: AndyAgain, our "official" (scarequotes!) rules summary for these threads:

    1. Feel free to respond here in-thread to another link posted.
    a. If you're looking to start a conversation, perhaps take your comment and create a new thread with it in the Stuff to Watch category.
    b. Otherwise, to prevent too many comments in the thread, number your response (first response: [1]; second response [2]; third response [3]). If you see that you're the second person to post, "Wow, that looks cool!" to a post here, then put a "[2]" at the top of your post. Three posts ([3]) is the limit: The fourth person to post should just take their comment and create a new thread, to carry the discussion over there further.

    Because these threads are great: We can link to little things being talked about on the web in general, on blogs, or other forums that might be noteworthy, without having to dedicate a new thread to each and every one (although that, too, is fine if you want to discuss the item further or "open up a discussion").
    Responding to these posts with a comment or two is understandable (other times there might be no comments, just cause the link was self-explanatory: nothing to say, lots of heads nodding in agreement). But we don't want to create a huge discussion in the middle of the thread: Some folks get a lot out of these threads, and don't want to look back to see the "10 latest posts" just to see that it's a heated discussion of something from a previous page. Cool? Cool.
    to summarize: [3] posts per subject, start another thread if you want to keep discussing. Thanks!
  • Lulu.com is offering 15% off until Wednesday, Feb. 3. Groundhog Day sale.

    Coupon code SHADOW at checkout

    (Personally, I'd go for several issues of Fight On! magazine and perhaps a copy of Norwegian Style)
  • This nutcase built himself a town in 1/24 scale.
  • [Miniature Town 1]

    Wow, I can see why it's also a photography project. You can't tell these are models.

    So, when is he creating a dungeon that is worth its name? :D
  • [Miniature Town 2]

    I am in love. Folks, if you are skipping this link because miniatures and dioramas aren't your thing, please reconsider. This is art of the purest form.
  • Forge Booth for GenCon 2010 thread has started. It's a little different this year. Reminds me a lot of the olden days.
  • [Miniature Town 3]

    I'm just waiting for crew of the Spindrift to show up.

  • edited February 2010
    Come September, D&D is back in a red box, covering levels 1 & 2, and there will be a Rules Compendium, 320 page trade paperback, in October.

    Apparently the Dungeon Master's Kit (October) and Monster Vault (November) are boxed products as well.
  • [Miniature Town 3]

    Holy Jesus walking backwards. I can't believe it. I mean I am actually having trouble believing it.
  • edited February 2010
    [DnD Box #1]
    Posted By: DeBracyCome September,D&D is back in a red box, covering levels 1 & 2, and there will be aRules Compendium, 320 page trade paperback, in October.

    Apparently theDungeon Master's Kit(October) andMonster Vault(November) are boxed products as well.
    That's awesome. I really like the price point on the Red Box. I hope this is successful. I had a feeling boxed sets would return for RPGs and I couldn't be happier about it. I hope this draws in all sorts of new players.


  • [D&D Box #2]
    Wait, so... one box fort levels 1 and 2... and 4E goes to level 30?

    I sincerely hope they accelerate that (3-5, 5-10, 11-20, 21-30?).
  • [D&D Box 3#3]
    Posted By: David Artman[D&D Box #2]
    Wait, so... one box fort levels 1 and 2... and 4E goes to level 30?

    I sincerely hope they accelerate that (3-5, 5-10, 11-20, 21-30?).
    There's only the one box, which is a starter kit. Once you get to level three, you're supposed to be buying the various books.
  • Robots are evolving, and within 100 generations of an experiment of "neural evolution", they could navigate a maze without bumping into anything.

    Interesting, they probably will kill much of "game theory", because they don't try to just bump themselves. Or rather, can be told not to.
  • For all y'all who want "distraction-free writing environments" (so you don't futz with layout while trying to author):
  • Independent French RPGs get their own awards: les Ã. It's organized by the French Federation of RPGs and our own Kobayashi (Alexandre Jeannette) is a runner up with Shell Shock. They don't define in details what qualifies as "alternatif".
  • Things are slowly ramping up for this year's Camp Nerdly! Here's the thread.
  • Posted By: Mr. Teapot[D&D Box 3#3]
    Posted By: David Artman[D&D Box #2]
    Wait, so... one box fort levels 1 and 2... and 4E goes to level 30?

    I sincerely hope they accelerate that (3-5, 5-10, 11-20, 21-30?).
    There's only the one box, which is a starter kit. Once you get to level three, you're supposed to be buying the various books.

    Or a subscription to D&D Insider, which gives you the character builder and monster builder. You don't actually need books in order to bridge the gap between 2nd level and 30th level, do you?

    I mean, all the rules are still going to be the same, right?
    Or would the red box cut out information on stuff like flying, etc?
  • Check one of the other threads--someone has linked to more info about the box, part of which talks about tweaks to classes (i.e. might be like Basic v Advanced D&D back in the day).
  • David, remember it's only 3 replies for each topic, please.

  • Shit, I lost track of which thread this was (I open all to which I want to reply at once).

    Besides... it's that damned McDonald that set me up, with his 4-post! *grrrr*
  • I've made the second State of Open Gaming Address, detailing all the new open RPGs added to the Year of Living Free Wiki over the last month.

    There are several open story games in this update: The Logic of Tales and Dreams, the Mustang anda few games by Bully Pulpit Games.

    I also wrote an article on releasing your game under an open licence.
  • RPGNow.com has given $178,900.00 to Doctors Without Borders.
  • edited February 2010
    This makes me wish I could read Finnish: Tähti - Finnish RPG where
    "...you play the member of a Maoist mutant girl band in the Finland of 2017. The action of the game revolves around dating, school, parents, rehearsals, fans, gigs, managers, celebrity and so on.

    The insides look quite a bit like a teen mag. The 90s RPGs that read like phone books are ancient history by now. The only conflict resolution mechanic here is based on interpreting fortune cookies."
    (The Adventures of Lucky Pip and the Incomparable Ithamar Conchie also uses fortune cookies, there's an AP on the Stabbing Contest podcast from Gamestorm 2009.)
  • [Tähti 1]

    There was an article called "The age of indulgence" in one of the Knutepunkt books (full PDF here, page 170 onwards). There's quite a bit about the author's Tähti campaign in the article, including descriptions of the food the players ate & an example of fortune cookie resolution.
  • edited February 2010
    [Tähti 2]

    your description of it makes me think of this gem of a comic: Scott Pilgrim and the soon to be release movie based on it. just replace Finland by Toronto, Canada and you mostly got the same setting.
  • edited February 2010
    [Scott Pilgrim 1] I wrote a short and sweet Scott Pilgrim hack for PTA a while back (3 years ago, man I'm old). One of these days I'll try to license the rights from Mal and do the real thing.
  • edited February 2010
    (that's an 18-inch candle)
  • Since we're on the subject of image macros, this one -- from a real location in Harvard Square -- might be useful on the internet.

  • Voices from the Days of Slavery, a resource for your Steal Away Jordan game.
  • In other news, if anybody's still interested in the Unofficial Story Games Book Club, I'm current reading William H. Sewell Jr.'s 2005 book, Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformations, and it is blowing my mind, which doesn't happen all that often. He basically addresses all of the current debates in the field of social analysis -- structure, culture, practice, language, material conditions, agency, boundaries, contention, construction, meaning, power, causality, etc. -- and does so in a fashion that makes them relatively easy to wrap your head around (since he's a historian by training, not a social scientist or philosopher). If you have any interest in theory, this would be a good place to jump into ongoing discussions. All of it is relevant to roleplaying, since both individual tables/groups and larger communities/fandoms/scenes are subject to these same social forces.
  • [Unofficial Story Games Book Club 1] This looks cool! Butbutbut, I haven't finished "Ritual and its consequences" yet.

    (I wish someone could just sum it all up in a blog post or something. It's so much hassle to actually read books.)
  • [Unofficial Story Games Book Club 2] That looks pretty hot actually. I'm a check it out.
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