The Etymology of the Term "Story Games"

edited October 2012 in Story Games
Not the website, but referring to a subset of roleplaying games as "story games".

I don't remember where I got this, but as best I know, Clinton R. Nixon used (came up with?) the term as an umbrella term to describe all of roleplaying, and then later on it began to be used by some (notably, in the Pacific NW, I think) as a term to describe a specific, nebulous subset of roleplaying.

Any more insight from folks who were hangin' around the block before I was here (that would be pre-2009)? Where did it come from, how did it get to where it is today? What role did this website's name have in it?

I'm curious especially to hear from people like: Andy, Clinton, Jason M, Vincent, Clyde Rhoer, and anyone else who feels they were there to see the evolution of the term.

Thanks, friends!
«1

Comments

  • I think there's a thread or two around here, but the simple story is this:

    On RPGNet, some douchebags were arguing that My Life With Master (in particular, but others as well) was *not* a role-playing game (even though it was a game where you Play Roles) because it included:
    * An Endgame Mechanic
    * Strong Scene Framing
    * Scene-style Resolution
    * Character Freedom
    and so on.
    A few folks took the above four main elements of why it was not an RPG. "I don't know what it is, but it's certainly not a role-playing game".

    On a gaming blog Clinton was posting to at the time, he basically rolled his eyes with his whole body, and said "Okay, whatever. They're "Story Games", I guess."

    It wasn't really a rallying cry or anything, it was a "toss this bone to shut up these bozos" thing, but the term stuck.

    I then thought the term was cool, and registered the domain name about a day later*.

    The next 6+ years of mess have built off of that. But that's the real, original, true story.

    There's kind of a happy epilogue, though: Some of the folks on RPGNet that were arguing that My Life With Master and other games with Endgame mechanics were not role-playing games, later realized that they were role-playing games after all, just not ones that they are interested in playing. Which was the obvious truth of the matter all along.

    -Andy
  • Thanks, Andy! So this was somewhere around 2006?
  • Yeah, IIRC it was the fall before S-G opened, so maybe a few months before 2006 (late 2005)?
  • So true. The people who argued that My Life with Master is not a role-playing game have much juicier targets now!

    Of course they've let it go, not too surprising.
  • Of course they've let it go, not too surprising.
    There should be a word to describe the happiness you feel when other people stop caring about something you always thought was a dumb thing to care about.

    ...actually, there probably IS a word for that in German, now that I think about it. Anyone know what it is? I've been feeling it so much lately that it'd be nice to put a name to it. ;)
  • If you always thought it was a dumb thing to care about, why should you give a fuck whether some random other people care about it or not? Unless by "stupid" you meant people actually cause real harm just by caring about it.
  • Caring about it alone, you're probably right Rafu.

    In the context of those old RPGnet fights, part of the intent wasn't just to say "this isn't really an RPG" or that "this type of RPG doesn't do what I like the way I like, so it sux and you suck too for liking it".

    The intent was more like "This isn't an RPG, therefore, we should ban talking about it, as this is RPGnet".
  • ...actually, there probably IS a word for that in German, now that I think about it.
    Ahhh, German. Unrelated, yet related:

  • edited October 2012
    If you always thought it was a dumb thing to care about, why should you give a fuck whether some random other people care about it or not? Unless by "stupid" you meant people actually cause real harm just by caring about it.
    You don't take notice when people get REALLY ANGRY about something that seems fairly inconsequential to you? If so, I deeply respect your enlightened perspective; me, I rubberneck like a family passing a highway accident any time a totally crazy flamewar breaks out over something I couldn't imagine anyone getting furious about, and laugh and roll my eyes at 'em more or less constantly.

    Maybe I'm just really mean-spirited?

  • I think what bugs me is that I was specifically looking for a style of play when I sniffed out "Story Game," specifically something in Emily Care Boss' "new paradigm" or something like the games I'd started to have fun with that were clearly different than the games I'd been hacking away at for 20 years.

    Imagine my shock and disgust, then, when those same games I was trying to move away from, or find an alternate to, start trying to co-opt the name. "Story games" is already way too close to Storyteller system for my taste. And no one uses GMless correctly (besides, GMless isn't always what I'm looking for at a given moment.)

    To make matters worse, many members of this community are part of the movement in RPGs that I am interested in... but I have to wade through D&D shills, references to new games which have pretty much the same rules philosophy I saw in Marvel Superheroes First Edition and apologists for Old School gaming and that makes me a little bitter about the term "Story Games." Not bitter at the people who coined it, but at the guys who try to cloud the issue or claim that their stuff doesn't need to change (if they want to apply the term.)
  • edited October 2012
    Note also that when I create, say, a Google Alert for the term "Story Game"/"Story Games", more often than not it's a person somewhere with a post like this:

    "I really love story games like A and B. Does anyone know where I can get similar story games from?"

    ...A and B are in this case iPad free-to-play RPGs that siphon money from you when you want to do anything of consequence.

    I piece of me winces inside. Fortunately or unfortunately, no one Owns the term Story Game. Next thing you know, a colorful maze on the back of a label on a dented can of Beef-a-Roni will be called "a story game".
  • Next thing you know, a colorful maze on the back of a label on a dented can of Beef-a-Roni will be called "a story game".

    Pretty sure that's Sorenson's next big project, right?

    Beef-a-Roni, now with... Parsley!
  • Seriously, the soup-can RPG is the next big thing. Cover art and pitch on label, chapbook rules, cloth map, and dice when you open it. Buy one to open and play and another as a collector's item.
  • I think what bugs me is that I was specifically looking for a style of play when I sniffed out "Story Game," specifically something in Emily Care Boss' "new paradigm" or something like the games I'd started to have fun with that were clearly different than the games I'd been hacking away at for 20 years.

    Imagine my shock and disgust, then, when those same games I was trying to move away from, or find an alternate to, start trying to co-opt the name. "Story games" is already way too close to Storyteller system for my taste. And no one uses GMless correctly (besides, GMless isn't always what I'm looking for at a given moment.)

    To make matters worse, many members of this community are part of the movement in RPGs that I am interested in... but I have to wade through D&D shills, references to new games which have pretty much the same rules philosophy I saw in Marvel Superheroes First Edition and apologists for Old School gaming and that makes me a little bitter about the term "Story Games." Not bitter at the people who coined it, but at the guys who try to cloud the issue or claim that their stuff doesn't need to change (if they want to apply the term.)
    That's too bad that this community isn't exactly what you were looking for, Arpie, but yeah, what Andy said: "No one owns the term Story Game."

    People use it in all kinds of ways, some that really piss me off until I step back and remember that it doesn't matter in the slightest. In any case, I'm just very interested in where this particular term came from and where it is going.
  • Mease: I want to subscribe to your product-design newsletter. Games that you unwrap with a can opener! Yes!

    Hans: I think it only matter when people use made-up jargon to exclude people or games for bullshit reasons. That still tends to suck, though what's a "good" reason and what's a "bullshit" reason is often subjective.
  • edited October 2012
    You don't take notice when people get REALLY ANGRY about something that seems fairly inconsequential to you?
    Truth is, most of the time when that happens I totally saw it coming beforehand and I just pretend to not have seen it coming. I like it when people think I'm enlightened, but that's usually just not true.
  • There should be a word to describe the happiness you feel when other people stop caring about something you always thought was a dumb thing to care about.

    ...actually, there probably IS a word for that in German, now that I think about it. Anyone know what it is? I've been feeling it so much lately that it'd be nice to put a name to it. ;)
    Not quite, but close. :)
  • Not quite, but close. :)
    Oh no! Now I've been sucked into a QI youtube marathon! AGAIN!

    I hope you feel good about that, you inhuman monster. (NSFW for language)

  • Oh no! Now I've been sucked into a QI youtube marathon! AGAIN!
    Welcome to the club, and I who just finished a Community marathon. ^^
  • edited October 2012


    Hans: I think it only matter when people use made-up jargon to exclude people or games for bullshit reasons. That still tends to suck, though what's a "good" reason and what's a "bullshit" reason is often subjective.
    Oh, yes, for sure: as an excluding term it's balls. I've never actually seen that used among human beings in real life, though, across many different contexts of play (friends, cons, gaming at stores, etc). I only see that on the internet.

    Folks across the PNW (including myself) who use it as a pitch term use it pretty much exclusively as a marketing term that might be better for explaining what we do to non-self-identified gamers.

    This is beyond the scope of this thread, but someday I'll have to ask John Harper about his feelings about the term used in that way. Stray comments of his (in my weak remembrance) paint a picture of dislike for that, and as John's a smart guy and active in the PNW community I'm sure he has good insights.
  • I hate this: "It's a game where, you know, like, the story is more important than any given character. Where we all work together to make a good story."

    I heard something like that as a pitch for "story games" at an event (which was actually the "indie games" element of the event) and, as Andy put it above, I rolled my eyes with my whole body. I mean, sure, if that's what you want, go right ahead. But I don't want any part of it, so if that's the brand for "story games" (in the PNW, anyway), I'll steer clear.

    Personally, I'm fine with "roleplaying games", and don't need to make fine categorical distinctions, so I can just say that and stay out of it, mostly.
  • no such thing as a "story game" as differentiated from a roleplaying game.
  • edited October 2012
    John, I'm curious, what's your beef there?

    I've often found that emphasizing "work together to make a good story" in the pitch can be helpful for getting habitually tactical players to either shift gears or opt out.
  • edited October 2012
    I hate this: "It's a game where, you know, like, the story is more important than any given character. Where we all work together to make a good story."
    I also totally hate this. For me the jury's out on whether Story Games is a good marketing term or not, but it's kind of what people are using these days. When someone stops in the middle of play and says, "I'm deciding what would be best for the story," I start seizing & foaming.

    Thanks for chiming in, John.
  • Yeah, David, that's fine. But when that method is presented as "what we're all going to do now at this event" then I get annoyed. Because I'm about to run Apocalypse World and we're not gonna be doing that.
  • edited October 2012
    Ah, gotcha. I wouldn't pitch AW that way either, or want others pitching it that way on my behalf. (To be honest, I have no idea how I'd pitch it.)
  • edited October 2012
    John, you're absolutely right, "what's best for the story" is a poisonous statement. It implies that some ideas might have more weight because they are inherently "better", leading to vetoing or reducing other people's input. It's a censorship cudgel or a cop-out.

    I'd phrase it instead as "making the story you want". And we all might want different stories, which is awesome and why we have all sorts of mechanics to resolve conflicts and decide who has authority over what. And don't get me wrong: I think my ideas are the most awesome all the time! Of course. And other people love their ideas too.

    But I absolutely think we need categorical distinctions when different games are built for entirely different styles of play. People have to know what they're getting into and what they're expected to do. I think that's something the whole gaming society/technology/industry is really behind on: clearly communicating what a person is going to be asked to do in a game, sans marketing glitter.

    When I pitch story games to folks every week, I emphasize that if they've only played games like D&D (and most new folks have) where they just control their character, these games are going to be different. In these games their contribution is greater than their character. Much greater. And we need everyone to contribute for the game to work. Because without that heads up people who've only played D&D can have a terrible time playing something like Polaris or Shock. Really, it can be a massacre.

    That's kind of my whole thing: clear descriptions so no one is surprised what they are getting into, so they have fun.
  • Oh right, yeah. I should mention:

    ars ludi » Defining Story Games

    Started writing it a year ago (November actually) but kept putting it on the backburner because I fear debates on the internet.

  • But I absolutely think we need categorical distinctions when different games are built for entirely different styles of play. People have to know what they're getting into and what they're expected to do. I think that's something the whole gaming society/technology/industry is really behind on: clearly communicating what a person is going to be asked to do in a game, sans marketing glitter.
    Yeah, I feel this. I also feel a little unsure about "categorical distinctions", but then I didn't grow up in roleplaying games; I only started slangin' dice (etc.) five years ago, so for me it all tends to feel like the same thing, generally, even though different games may provide very different experiences (like Apples to Apples vs. Magic: The Gathering). Perhaps folks who've played D&D for 20 years need more of a categorical distinction? Perhaps I am way off base in that remark?

    What do you think, John?

    (clapping my hands over here that we are having this discussion, esp. w/ Ben & John in on it. Thanks everyone).
  • Can we just use, like, real words to describe what a game is like? I feel like categories are always going to do a disservice by lumping things together that may or may not be that similar.

    The way I would pitch AW is different than how I'd pitch a GM-less AW hack, which is different than how I'd pitch Silver & White. Relying on the people organizing games to be concise and helpfully descriptive of what their game is can be problematic. Not everybody is good at describing the type of game they're pitching! But I think individual responsibility is something we shoudl promote, because otherwise we have to come to some kind of consensus about the least common denomanator between these games, and that seems pretty tough and unfun.
  • The thing is that a lot of people frequently treat the group games that come from the tradition of the Forge and Story Games as a category different from the earlier tradition of role-playing games. As such, it's useful to have a group label.

    The closest to a good term to distinguish them is "story games". Previously, we had used "indie role-playing games" - but that was coincidental, since from the beginning it was accepted that otherwise-traditional RPGs were also indie if they were creator-owned. (For example, Ron Edwards described the "fantasy heartbreaker" games as being indie RPGs.)
    Oh right, yeah. I should mention:

    ars ludi » Defining Story Games

    Started writing it a year ago (November actually) but kept putting it on the backburner because I fear debates on the internet.
    (Ben distinguishes story games from adventure games by a major quality "In a story game, a player’s ability to affect what happens in the game is not dependent on their character’s fictional ability to do those things.")

    Ben - I think that pretty well captures the main distinction that people go on. I don't like "adventure game" as a generalization for non-story-games, because there can be purely in-character games that don't feature the players trying to beat the adventure that the GM provides. This is true of many Nordic larps, as well as non-larps that work along similar lines. If I'm playing out how my character deals with the grief of losing a loved one through various scenes, I'm dependent on my character's fictional ability to do things - but I don't think the activity is properly described as an adventure game.
  • I think it's a hopeless exercise to attempt to make 'story games' mean something more narrow than 'roleplaying games'. My Life with Master is the iconic 'story game', and yet the players affect what happens only through their characters. Same goes for Dogs, Sorcerer, Contenders, Dust Devils, In a Wicked Age, etc. etc.

    Not to mention this forum, the most visible user of the story games monicker, doesn't adhere to such a narrow term.

    I guess a hyper-niche category label helps you out on Thursday nights, Ben, but I don't plan to adopt your definition, myself. In my experience, it's fruitful to talk concretely about the specific game, right here and now, and how it works, rather than comparing/contrasting and categorizing. Obviously, your mileage varies.
  • edited November 2012
    The funny and contradictory thing is, as much as I see it as a good marketing term, I don't use it as that in person.

    The other day a coworker and I were having a discussion about last Friday night, and when she asked me what I did, I said I got together with some friends and played roleplaying games. She asked, "like D&D?" I said, "sort of, but sci-fi." (we were playing 3:16). She asked if we talked in accents, I said "sometimes" she asked if we wore funny hats, I said, "no". It was a good exchange, and in retrospect the term "story game" would have been hella confusing (not to mention that under Ben's definition 3:16 isn't a "story game"--it's just that my tack in the past has been to use "story game" for everything, and when talking about it with another coworker and using that term, it was confusing).

    However, I'm one of the folks who have formed a gaming community in Portland, and one of the terms we use on Facebook for what we do is "story games". I think in the gaming community using this different, nebulous terminology can be helpful if you are doing something different than playing the latest version of D&D or Shadowrun at your meetups (we specifically don't offer those games, as there are already places to scratch your itch for that in Portland). We don't really know what we mean by "story games", but we do know (and those checking us out know) that it's different from what they're used to, or can be. Perhaps it's only a good marketing term to long-time gamers who have not branched out from their "preferred system", as it tells them we're doing something different. I dunno, though. I feel like the jury's still out.

    Part of me thinks it's the kind of term that's good when you don't squint too hard at it. It's a colloquialism.
  • edited November 2012
    Hey Ben, your definition is okay, but I have a question: is Monsterhearts a story game according to your criteria? It says it is, but you still play "your guy" if you're a player, right?
  • My Life with Master is the iconic 'story game', and yet the players affect what happens only through their characters. Same goes for Dogs, Sorcerer, Contenders, Dust Devils, In a Wicked Age, etc. etc.
    In My Life With Master the players all create the Master together before making characters and there are points when players narrate third-party scenes that have nothing to do with their characters (The Horror Revealed). In Sorcerer players create their own Kickers and starting demon. Contenders players frame their own scenes.

    The first two might not seem like much but those are huge leaps from just showing up and playing an adventure you have no input into. And after all those are early games experimenting in new territory.
    Hey Ben, your definition is okay, but I have a question: is Monsterhearts a story game according to your criteria? It says it is, but you still play "your guy" if you're a player, right?
    Should be easy enough to test. In Apocalypse World systems, when you roll and get a "choose 2" or something like that, is that the character deciding what to do or is the player controlling reality? I'm guessing a lot of the time it's the player deciding what happens to the character. But I think there's a lot of adventure game blood in AW too.
  • I think jhkim is right, in that we need some way to talk about our games, as a whole, in a way that distinguishes them from other games.

    What that means depends entirely on context, of course- if you're at Gen Con, you're contrasting against D&D-style games, Magic, and the general tradition of tabletop games (card-, board-, war-, role-playing, and so on). That can mean a lot of explaining to overcome standard assumptions for those players ("no, there's no GM" or "it' uses Roshambo instead of dice!") which is why short-hand labels are helpful.

    If you're at PAX, you're contrasting against video games primarily, with CCGs as a secondary consideration. You have to say "tabletop" in that environment to make it clear what you're talking about, and "RPG" carries a lot of assumptions with that crowd, but otherwise they're pretty open to weird games.

    Ultimately, what we're really talking about is "games from this community", because while our games can be wildly different, we play and talk with each other a lot and our games are often pretty well cross-pollinated. There are also plenty of other games out there with weird mechanics, unusual settings, and from independent/self-published creators that we would all automatically recognize as alien to our tradition.

    One place I see this come up is in organizing Games on Demand. Depending on the convention, the way we need to describe the event and the games we're running shifts with audience preconceptions. How do we determine who the volunteers are and what games they can run at the event, and how do we describe what this set of games is to potential players? I have answers to these questions, but I'm sure they're not the same as yours.

  • I don't understand. Why would anyone would like to take a term that could mean anything - "storygames" or "indie-games" - and use it to define a certain part of something (roleplaying games)? As an example, I think "Story Now" is a good term, because it doesn't mean anything until you read the definition of the term. (OK, to be honest. I didn't understand the term until "Story Before" was explained.)
  • Hey Ben, your definition is okay, but I have a question: is Monsterhearts a story game according to your criteria? It says it is, but you still play "your guy" if you're a player, right?
    Should be easy enough to test. In Apocalypse World systems, when you roll and get a "choose 2" or something like that, is that the character deciding what to do or is the player controlling reality? I'm guessing a lot of the time it's the player deciding what happens to the character. But I think there's a lot of adventure game blood in AW too.
    Okay cool. Some of those choices I think you pretty much have to make a decision as a player (in Mosterhearts). So anyway, it looks to me like your definition basically boils down to story games being all (tabletop) role-playing games that aren't wargames. Which doesn't help explain it to new people, unfortunately, but it IS short!
  • I tend to use the term "story games" predominantly when I'm setting up events, talking to people about my hobby, or labeling my own games. I prefer it to "roleplaying games" because it has fewer incorrect assumption-sets tangled up in it.

    I think definitions are less helpful than descriptions or comparisons, and so when people ask me what story games are, my responses are usually some remix of these elements:

    "They're games you play with a group of friends, often around a table over the course of an evening. So, you sit down, together, and the idea is to create characters and improvise in the voice of those characters, and create a story together. There are rules, like any other game would have."

    "It's similar to Dungeons & Dragons, if you're familiar, and also with improv acting, if you're familiar."

    "You should try it some time! I think you'd be really good at it, because you're naturally [relevant trait], which is a big thing in story games. We play on most Wednesdays, if ever you're free."

    "Well, they're like... okay, so most recently I played this one story game called Monsterhearts. It's a game about teenage monsters, like Buffy or Twilight. And everyone creates a character, and then they speak in the voices of those characters, and also describe their actions. So we tell a story about how my werewolf and your witch are having a torrid love affair, and how Brandon's vampire football player is scheming to steal you away from me. We just narrate all that while sitting around a table, and see where it goes. And there are rules, just like any other game would have."


    I try to avoid being definitive in any descriptions I give, though that's also a personality trait of mine (if I could speak in vague abstractions and specific examples exclusively, leaving every sentence contingent upon the last and the next, I probably would).
  • I like the term "story games" for when the games I want to talk about are games where we make stuff up and play pretend. It's a good contrast to the other kind of tabletop game, where you just manipulate numbers in order to get more numbers. (Which I also greatly enjoy.)
  • Hey Ben, your definition is okay, but I have a question: is Monsterhearts a story game according to your criteria? It says it is, but you still play "your guy" if you're a player, right?
    Should be easy enough to test. In Apocalypse World systems, when you roll and get a "choose 2" or something like that, is that the character deciding what to do or is the player controlling reality? I'm guessing a lot of the time it's the player deciding what happens to the character.
    Wait, wait… This is just like we were back to talking stances. Do I have sudden selective dyslexia, Ben, or you just stated that the "proof" of a story-game vs. adventure-game by your definition boils down to the range of stances used/required/allowed? Because I believe that one of the reasons stances were scribbled out as of little importance sometimes in Forge discussions is that… no matter what some guys on the Internet like to tell you, all stances are in fact used (by a great number of players in all roles, not just DMs) in old-fashioned adventure games like D&D. They are.
  • edited November 2012
    I use Story Games to talk about them when I'm around people who like that term, and Roleplaying games other times. I often jokingly call them 'hippy' or 'hipster' or less jokingly 'indie' Roleplaying games to get across that I'm not talking about D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Vampire, or similar. I like Story Games as a term better for Microscope, but I have to admit I'd call it an RPG when I talked to someone who didn't already know the term story games.

    Or hell, I often don't even say what kind of game it is. I say things like "fiasco is a game where you make up a Coen Brothers style caper movie" or "The Mouseguard is a game where you play Mouse Warriors".
  • I never got the whole "hippy" games thing. It bugs me when people even call them that jokingly. Probably because I've heard people who use that term dismiss any and all independently published games as "Pass The Stick" games, which patently NONE of them are.
  • Or hell, I often don't even say what kind of game it is. I say things like "fiasco is a game where you make up a Coen Brothers style caper movie" or "The Mouseguard is a game where you play Mouse Warriors".
    Yeah, I don't think I've ever tried to pitch a game (or even just explain it) to anyone any other way. I tell them about the premise of the game, and that's it.

    If they want to quiz me about the way the game is actually played and what other systems it's like and so on, that's fine, I'll happily answer them...but pretty much only the hardest of the hardcore RPG nerds ever care about that stuff, I've found. Everyone else just wants to know what the game is about, and maybe how long it takes to play.
  • Like any other game, I pitch an RPG to people based on what they get to do.

    I characterize what they get to do relative to what they've played before. So, to new roleplayers, I'll explain roleplaying a little bit; to D&D players I'll explain extra-character contributions a little bit; etc.

    If there's any binary that seems to pop up a lot, it's "very creative" vs "mostly just play your character". From there it's not hard to specify that "very creative" means both opportunities and responsibilities. Most players don't seem to have much trouble deciding whether that appeals to them or not.
  • edited November 2012
    Wait, wait… This is just like we were back to talking stances. Do I have sudden selective dyslexia, Ben, or you just stated that the "proof" of a story-game vs. adventure-game by your definition boils down to the range of stances used/required/allowed?
    Let's return to the definition and make sure I'm using it correctly. I'm not an Apocalypse World pro so I may be getting AW wrong.
    In a story game, a player’s ability to affect what happens in the game is not dependent on their character’s fictional ability to do those things.
    Meaning it happens because the player wants it to happen, not because the character is fictionally capable of making it happen. To ultra-simplify (and lose a lot of nuance) stance is about different reasons to make choices, but this is about whether the rules give you the ability to make things happen that are not justified by the character's power in the fiction. Do you have to be a good wall-climber to climb the wall or can you succeed because you want it to happen?

    It's possible that because moves always start from a character stat [that directly measures their ability to do that thing], they don't fit the definition. On the other hand it's standard procedure in AW to make the setting with the players which would definitely count.

    Also: I think there's a danger of trying to squeeze games into a definition because one side is "cooler" than the other or some such rot. That's not what I'm shooting for. I like story games. I like adventure games. I'm just trying to identify the difference.
  • To ultra-simplify (and lose a lot of nuance) stance is about different reasons to make choices, but this is about whether the rules give you the ability to make things happen that are not justified by the character's power in the fiction. Do you have to be a good wall-climber to climb the wall or can you succeed because you want it to happen?
    OK, I'm sold on the distinction between stances and this definition.

    What I didn't realize in the first place and now got me by surprise, then, is exactly how narrow a category this definition implies "adventure game" to be.
    What I'm thinking now is that my experience of playing D&D-like games includes a lot of negotiation space(s) through which players try to obtain what they desire from the game, often with a degree of success, regardless of character power… That dependence on the fictional ability of characters to produce the desired outcomes was typically held as a gold standard in that culture of play, and as such it was wielded with great effectiveness during outcome negotiations, but ultimately was not the actual method events were arbitrated through — a social negotiation was, with character ability being an important argument in it.
    In this sense, I feel like you definition of "adventure game" (as implied by exclusion in your definition of "story game") may only strictly apply to quite exceptional cases such as Eero Tuovinen's style of playing [proto-]D&D. Though on the other hand this is probably also a matter of semantics, such as what do we mean by "rules" exactly, and whether we take "game" to mean an idealized/formalized set of rules or an individual instance of play.
  • FWIW, Ben, I like your explanation and that's pretty much my functional reasoning as well.
  • Rafu, I think I know what you're talking about but can you give you an example? I have an answer but first I want to make sure I'm not totally misinterpreting what you're saying.
  • Now thinking of straight-to-the-point example, instead of writing a wall-of-text.
Sign In or Register to comment.