Reinventing the wheel?

edited January 2006 in Stuff to Watch
Levi Kornelson is throwing out a theory framework/terminology on rpgnet. I can't work out whether this thread is great missionary work, or an attempt to claim ground that's already happy where it is.

I mean, I'm no expert, but it seems like "aha" moments over whether x is narr (sorry, theme-focused), or celebrating the character is a noteworthy aspect of sim, seems tired, even to this 6-month Forge baby.

However, if it this is stealth-gametheorizing, then that's no bad thing!


  • I think it's a little of all. Good stuff, too, to be critical and all that. It's a vast step in the right direction (thinking about what's floating around in the epherma, vs striking it down as "dumb" or "Ivory Tower BS", etc).
  • Here's my word on the subject. This is not a criticism of any specific person or group. It's a statement of purpose; my purpose, as I am defining it in this case.

    Choosing to continue use of unclear terminology when you know it's unclear, and refusing to look for ways to change it, is rude and asinine. It means that you want to look down on the other gamers.

    Fuck that.

    These are our people. These are my friends. If I see a tool that can help them, then I will get it for them. Because that is what friends do. Friends do not tell each other that "your fun is not my concern", which is implied by hiding good ideas behind unhelpful terms.

    That's all it is. Get used to it. This won't be the end of it.
  • Really, it's all just a personal attack.
  • Thanks for the link, Matt!
  • I think it's an admirable goal that's likely doomed to failure unless you put a LOT of work into pimping it, Levi. I think the current Forge lexicon (a somewhat random blend of Ron making shit up and phrases coined from bizarre, extended, and somewhat inappropriate metaphors) is pretty much donkey balls, but it's the Status Quo. It's got inertia.

    Good luck to you, sir!
  • edited January 2006
    Rock the On. I'm always up for changing perceptions and making theory applicable to the table (that's like 1/3 of what this site is all about, actually, but on a fun, just slightly constructive way).

    Holy fuck. I just saw Matt's link. Yeah, some people just need a hug, or their nuts crushed. One of the two.

    The worst part is that all the people who are most vocal about hating d20/D&D/Your Game Here are not Forge Twunts, they just happen to be the unsilenced masses here or there that happen to be the most vocal, and for some reason that gets traced back to "Indie/Forge Designers".

    Weird. But fuck 'em, can't appease everyone.

    Keep up the goodness, Levi, looking forward to see how you push forward.

  • You're a better man than I, Levi.

    Word to the wise - the "plain language" contingent have a point, but their point conceals the reefs of synecdoche on which an awful lot of blood was shed at The Forge and elsewhere.
  • Hey, I came up with this clever retort to naysayers on that thread. I'd like to share:

    Levi: "Hey guys, there's this Wheel thing that people are using. I'd like to share it with you guys so that maybe some of you can use it if you're interested."

    Person 1: "Why would we need a wheel, we've got feet?"
    Person 2: "People who use the wheel hate walkers, and are full of themselves for not standardizing One True, Consistent Wheel."
    Person 3: "I don't think you've spent enough time telling us what color the wheel should be."
    Person 4: "I don't have anything I need moving right now. But that wheel sure looks stupid and useless."
    Person 5: "Y'know, those wheel users didn't INVENT the wheel. It was actually some other guys that invented the wheel. These guys just use it. Don't let yourselves be fooled."
    Person 6: "What, you got something against rectangles?"
  • Person 7: "I ate a big red candle."
  • This sounds terribly a lot like John's butter vs. jam dilemma.
  • Trust me, I'm not a better man that anyone.

    ...Ah, fuck.

    ...There's a really stupid story behind some of this, which should really be titled "Mistakes I've Made, or Why I Fear The Forge".
  • edited January 2006
    Well, I do remember you had some problems over there that you mentioned, like getting some input for some game you were working on or something, right? Then at some point there was one of those boiling Theory threads on RPGNet Open, and I remember you saying something like, "I'll give it another try" (Oh, I think it was those threads that spawned at RPGNet when Ron closed the Theory/GNS forums), and IIRC yo umet with some success. Enough to put aside some past difficulties and hammer away at your project again. Wasn't it something like that?

    But yeah, I remember really early on when I heard about all the chant going down back in the days of Gaming Outpost. I saw a few posts by Ron, Mike H and others and chocked it up to "Ivory Towering". Later, I realized that there were some folks who were using this stuff to pragmatically help them out of gaming ruts, and many of the other folks who eagerly jumped in were either adding to the discourse without keeping it tied to real situations (ie the shit that Ron mercifully killed in closing those forums) and others were using it to publicly divide mainstream games into three groups (Why?????).

    But yeah, once people get to the idea that it's just a tool to help people have fun gaming, and not some miscommunicated pogrom to subvert one type of gaming with another for everyone (But, OMG, Ron said once 4 years ago that Simulationists are delusional! The conspiracy reveals itself!!!), I think those people softened up and either went "Wow! This totally fucking applies to me!" or "...oh. Actually, I'm having fun, so I guess this doesn't apply to me.".

    I think pretty much everyone I know here and on The Forge had about the same reaction initially, and got over it in some way or other.
  • Uhh...

    Not quite.

    Trust me, this post isn't what you're probably guessing it'll be.

    This is a chunk of gaming history; mine. It's not a funny story. It's really long.

    I got into gaming by myself, for myself; I bought GURPS on a trip into the big city from my small town because the cover was cool. And I taught myself, and a group, how to play, and we were terrible.

    And I read and reread the GM advice section in the back of the book, because I ran all the games. Steve Jackson was my hero, for a while.

    My last year of high school was in the city. I ran games, I played games, I skipped a lot of classes. I met about four other gamers. I was a player for the first time. And that was cool. Then, a year of college. Bible college. I made my own gaming group, again, and we played GURPS.

    Then, to work, in another small town. And here's where things get to be about history. Up until this point, I had known a total of fourteen gamers - and ten of them, I had taught them to play [i]myself.[/i]

    I got internet, and ran into These were some wicked people. I didn't get to play, anymore, and I was talking to dozens of gamers. I had [i]no fucking clue[/i] what half of their discussions were about, and spent my time there making lists - lists of things that are scary in horror games, for example. I tried to run play-by-mails, and bombed.

    Someone there, from this group called the Ennead, told me that "Games are for players and by players - and GMs are players, too. We make all games by playing them; everything you read about it is just someone trying to help you make your game." and it stuck with me. In a lot of ways, that's been my gaming mantra for years.

    Then someone said, hey, we should meet in Real Life this summer. And, as the janitor of a school that was going to be out for the summer, I said "Hey, yeah, I'll see if I can get the school here, and you can all come here."

    I got the school, I thought. People came. I was, in my mind, the coolest guy ever. And then, the new principal of the school came by; he hadn't been told about me getting permission. This is largely my fault, since I got the permission many months in advance, and had forgotten to referesh the old principal's memory. Oh, and there's some small amount of alcohol there, because hey, why shouldn't there be? He wasn't just upset; he was *livid*. I got fired, right there. Everyone came back to my place, which was too small, and I felt like dogshit.

    In fact, I still feel like dogshit thinking about it.

    I actually don't remember if I ever went back and talked to the group online again. No clue.

    Time passes.

    I get pretty good at gaming. I actually figure out some of those half-remembered conversations, with the help of John Kim's FAQ.

    I move around some, playing a lot of games. Running a lot of games.

    ...And years later, I come back online, and I'm playing games, and talking with gamers. And I wander by The Forge. I ask some dumb stuff, try posting a few things, wander around.

    I then recognize John H. Kim's name; I don't think he was at my ill-fated gathering, but still. Urk. So. I don't talk much. I start bringing some of my game stuff to RPGnet, instead, and I start to discover that I really, really like the people there, even when they completely disagree with me.

    This guy Vincent shows up one day, and goes on about Forge theory, so I go read it, carefully, and learn about it. I don't agree with the whole theory, but we can work that out later.

    I end up buying Dogs in the Vineyard, which is his game. I don't know this guy. I like his game. I like it, in fact, a hell of a lot.

    Awesome. I've got this cool game, these neat ideas, I can make this work. I'm too chickenshit to post a lot on The Forge proper, because I suspect that someone out there *must* remember me badly. But I can take them all to RPGnet.

    And I do, and it's cool. It fits my idea of what gaming and game discussions are all about. We're helping each other out. That's what gaming discussions are *for*. Rock.

    ...Then I notice a note on Vincent's blog where he mentions he was part of this group called the Ennead that used to post on advocacy. I see a picture of him. He might be one of those people I ended up giving such crap treatment to, way back when. Maybe.

    That was two days ago.
  • So. Yeah. It's complicated.
  • edited January 2006
    Hi Levi, apologies if I came off sounding dismissive of your efforts. That wasn't what I intended; my talk of claiming ground and so on was meant to point to the thread at large (the 'aha' moments) but my IEE didn't connect to my I very well. (Or something; who knows what they're talking about :) )

    I totally get that you want to bring these terms to people who might find them useful, and express them in a way they find useful. I think that rocks. I think it makes sense to avoid links to large essays and threads in order to make your points. I only worry because I know that I've had frequent experiences of gathering an argument that I felt was original, to later find it in print elsewhere. There's been so much heavy lifting that has gone into the big model (and I'm certain I'm only dimly aware of how much) that it would be a shame to repeat.

    [edited for sucky grammar.]
  • Levi,

    I thought you should know, the recent spate of stuff posted by you, and folks like you, has got me going to RPG.NET again, after having kinda given up on it as too much noise, not enough signal.

  • edited January 2006
    So. Yeah. It's complicated.

    Hah, yeah stuff happens like that. I remember:

    * Going to Gaming Outpost to invite Brian Fucking Gleichman back to RPGNet, saying, "Everyone is welcome there". That was before I realized he was the Biggest Fucking Whiner on the Internet. I think his persecution complex runs so deep that plants wither and die around him. Oh, that was before he "left the internet" (and apparently came back).

    * I think the first exchange that Clinton (R Nixon) and I had some years ago was something like:
    Andy: "Ha ha, Gaming Outpost is filled with fucking retards"
    Clinton: "Fuck You, Andy K"
    Now I promo his stuff, and he even came to live in my house for a few months after Katrina.

    A lot of weird, embarassing stuff like that happens in these circles.
  • Alex:
    Actually, you came off as neutral. Others on the thread came off negative, and I just read that right in. So, I felt the need to be really, really damn firm - which wasn't actually required.

    That's very good to hear. Rock.

    That's just... I mean doesn't it seem counter-intuitive that people who are strongly driven to help gaming "grow up" (from a specific perspective) also tend to have weird, embarrasing stories? That's just ODD.
  • I was being negative on that thread, and I apologize. I won't try to excuse it.
  • You know what, man?

    It's good. Relax. We'll see where it all goes.
  • edited January 2006
    Oh, and for the curious, this is me making my first attempt at scaling the big model in plain language.

    I chose a north-face approach for this attempt, and I don't think I'll make it. But I'm getting closer.
  • I chose a north-face approach for this attempt, and I don't think I'll make it. But I'm getting closer.

    At least you got base camp further up the side.
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