Day 8: What was your most awesome fight online about what does and does not constitute a story-game?

None. The answer is none.

I have never, not once, improved my play by engaging in an argument about definitions.

I have only rarely improved my understanding of what’s happening at my table, with real people playing actual games, by getting into turf wars. I mean super-rarely as in maybe once.

These idiot turf wars are uniformly terrible. They’ve cost me friendships. They don’t even really earn anyone social cred — it’s a zero-sum game! While you’re busy circling the wagons and high-fiving each other, you’re actively hurting other people.

Either I don’t understand what the evergreen appeal of this fight is, or I understand it too well. The latter drove me to depression once (when I was a child and believed in “communities” based on shared hobbies), now it’s a handy shortcut to me knowing who I can and cannot relate to.

I learned a great acronym in one of Mikael Andersson’s threads recently: FNRE. And it’s true. Fucking nerds ruin everything.

Which is why I love this collection so much. What’s my rule about what to talk about in the Indie Game Reading Club? Any fucking thing I choose.

* * * * *

And now a word from IGRC World Headquarters.

Hold on to your butts for tomorrow’s round of answers. I would ask everyone in advance to listen with love and talk honestly, no matter how bad you want to wall yourself off with snark and bullshit.

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21 thoughts on “Day 8: What was your most awesome fight online about what does and does not constitute a story-game?”

  1. Let’s talk at length about what you mean by “definition wars” exactly, Paul Beakley, because I think you’re using the term wrong and it’s hampering my ability to convince you my argumentation style is superior.

  2. I may be too young/new for this. Never really bumped into it (may be just my friends circles) so my answers are boring πŸ™‚ I also don’t really see the distinction as hard? So I don’t really have a fight to pick?

  3. Hahahahahahahaha.

    Man, I tell you true, people I talk about with game often help me. People I play with help me a lot.

    But arguments? Especially definition arguments, status plays, and us vs. them bullshit?

    It is the end of all joy.

  4. The End of All Joy
    A Golden Cobra Game
    (Also, the name of my sex tape)

    Find a comfortable chair. Get either coffee, wine, or beer and set it close to hand. Sippable, leisurely.

    Open a computer, or a notebook if you are determined to be that guy. Moleskine if you want double that guy points.

    Think for a moment, fingers steepled before your face and 1000 yard stare in your eyes, about one of the most significant issues you have dealt with in your gaming life. This could be: not understanding a specific rule, or having trouble getting the group together weekly, or really liking Sorcerer and feeling alone in the world because you are the only one.

    In the end, whatever it is not important, as long as it is something that actually matters to you and that you would like to improve in order to have more fun gaming.

    Type out the question, the explanation, the statement. Or write it in your fucking notebook you goddamn hipster. Think on it a bit. Don’t write it too fast, take some time and try to get it just so. Sip your drink to slow your typing.

    Once it’s ready, read it over one more time.

    Now close your eyes. Imagine posting it to a public forum about roleplaying, filled with people you have never played with and will never play with, who will have opinions. So many opinions.

    Think about what a helpful reply would look like. Imagine the opportunity for dialog that could both help you find answers to your question, and maybe make a new online friend as well.

    Sip your drink. Taste that hope.

    Now, consider how likely it is that you will get that reply. Think for a moment about how many people will subtly suggest you have brain damage. How many will tell you about how they have never had that problem. The ones who will deny that problem could possibly exist. Those who will ask you to define “game” and “fun” and “prep vs play time.”

    Think about this until you delete the post or tear the page out of your notebook.

    Sip your drink.

    Remember the hope you had, for more fun games and human connection.

    Sip your dink.

    Bet you wish it was vodka now, don’t you sucker?

  5. Micah, my favorite definition is that the designer has the power to order more copies, or not.

    But the question is really, are you talking about games that come out of the Forge and its diasporatic scene, or do you mean a production method? The above is a definition I like for the latter.

  6. Never had the “story-game” fight. Have had the “That’s not a role playing game fight.” I was on the “what do you fucking care what it’s called?” side.

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