Presenting role playing games in recorded media - best practice

edited March 2013 in Story Games
From another thread:
I will point something out: Actual Play recordings miss out on a massive amount of the atmosphere. You don't have the visual actions of the players or that personal proximity that they have. So you're probably getting something that's 30%-40% as engaging, at most (no hard numbers, just my guess), as an in-play session.

You have to gear a recording specifically towards being a recording in order to get a lot of mileage out of it, and not just pop a recorder into the middle of a session.
I agree. It's very difficult to convey the role playing experience to outsiders. Do you guys have any examples of Actual Plays or other presentations of RPGs in recorded media which really nailed it? I'm aware of Wil Wheaton's Fiasco playthrough on YouTube. Any other good examples?

Comments

  • AP recordings of Skype games.
  • The other point I made after the fact was to add that equally important is presenting the mechanics of the game in a visual manner, instead of just audibly recapping them. The TableTop replays actually do a good job of this as well. In fact, I still found the Dragon Age playthrough to be really engaging, despite the fact that the game session depicted was not terribly interesting.

    One thing which makes it a lot easier to connect is their technique of cutting away to give subtext from the players afterwards. Like, when they cut back and Wil talks for a bit about his character, his at-that-time reaction to the situation that wasn't stated out loud. I think that a visual medium is the type with the biggest opportunity to convey a fuller experience.

    I haven't watched them yet, but Quinn Murphy put up a bunch of Marvel Heroic AP vids from his Hangout sessions. The cool thing there--they use an app that shows dice pools and Distinctions on the screen, as well as a "lower third" panel with a character's name and avatar.

    That helps a lot.
  • I disagree with the quoted post in the original post. When you have audio only, the people playing a freed up from cues that trigger self consciousness that exist in face to face interactions. You're far more likely to hear examples of fully engaged play when people are not limited by the social pressures of face to face interaction.
  • I disagree with the quoted post in the original post. When you have audio only, the people playing a freed up from cues that trigger self consciousness that exist in face to face interactions. You're far more likely to hear examples of fully engaged play when people are not limited by the social pressures of face to face interaction.
    I think he's talking about recording only the audio of face-to-face games.
  • Yes, and like DanMaruschak, I would recommend doing voice only actual play for anything that is about demonstrating how to play a game. It focuses the attention on the things you actually say during the game and frees people up from being impeded by unintentional social pressure from body language.
  • Yes, and like DanMaruschak, I would recommend doing voice only actual play for anything that is about demonstrating how to play a game. It focuses the attention on the things you actually say during the game and frees people up from being impeded by unintentional social pressure from body language.
    Perhaps, but I find it to be less engaging. It requires a lot more effort on the part of the listener and strikes me as being unnecessarily hard. Then again, I don't personally find there to be much social pressure when playing face-to-face, but I can see how other people would feel it.
  • Slightly off topic, but I'm very interested in doing printed, attractive replays for games, but am not sure how to make it happen (getting people to play a variety of games, recording devices, printers, etc...). In general I'm turned off by a lot of AP because of the format... its hard to just listen to. Reading it, if the presentation is attractive, might add a lot to the experience. Plus, including notes about what's happening (rolling dice, getting snacks, the placement around the table, the back story of the players, etc...) would be nice.
  • Slightly off topic, but I'm very interested in doing printed, attractive replays for games, but am not sure how to make it happen (getting people to play a variety of games, recording devices, printers, etc...). In general I'm turned off by a lot of AP because of the format... its hard to just listen to. Reading it, if the presentation is attractive, might add a lot to the experience. Plus, including notes about what's happening (rolling dice, getting snacks, the placement around the table, the back story of the players, etc...) would be nice.
    This might be where you got the idea from...but this is actually a thing in Japan. I've been wondering, though, how people manage to take such concise notes.
  • The English translation of MAID has some excellent examples of that, in case you haven't read through it. It would be a great example.
  • I've read Maid and been aware of the Japanese thing for awhile. Recently, I've listened to Jason Morningstar, Andy and Ewen talking about them on various podcasts (been playing catch up with RPG podcasts over the last week or so) and it seemed like an interesting artifact to try and create. Transcribed audio recordings + memory might be enough to make effective re-tellings.
  • edited March 2013
    As it happens, (similarly inspired by the Fiasco and GSS replays and by this old thread) I'm currently doing something along these lines. For a small selection of games, I getting a group together, playing the game, recording it, transcribing it, adding commentary as to the thought process behind what players are doing. Then I'll be giving it away as an ebook and pdf.

    Right at the moment, 3 games (of 6) are played, 1 more is scheduled and 2 more I'm trying to schedule. One (Love in the Time of Seið) is fully transcribed with _some_ commentary (though it needs some more). At present it's just held on a wiki so that the players can edit it, but ultimately I will lift it into a book format with proper footnotes (and maybe some images for the pdf as I really liked the look of Ewen's GSS replay).

    Anyway, if you want to see what a fully transcribed game looks like, you can find it here (still in its wiki form):
    http://www.ukroleplayers.com/wiki/Seid_2013_Jan_09

    Have a read and see if you still find the concept interesting. Feel free to feedback regarding the content, the level of commentary (too much/too little), any moments that you'd like commented upon, whether or not reading someone else's game turns your brain to porridge or is really rather interesting etc. etc. Layout and visuals will change so don't worry about that.
  • edited March 2013
    Make it a story about a story, and you have win.
    If it's just people talking all role-play-y, I tune the fuck out.
    Like, if it actually tells you a bit about the people making funny voices, that's way better then people making funny voices.
    People are interesting. Let them be.
  • My dad didn't need to have role-playing explained to him when he and my step-monster played in a "How to Host a Murder" many years ago. He just dressed up and did it.

    Games need explaining, pretending I'm not sure does. Hopefully not much.
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