Heyyyy, the questions aren’t universally terrible this year. I’ll write answers if I’m inspired.
Today’s is “What do you love about RPGs?”
Friends, I’m going to admit something: I may not love them. But I can’t live without them. So it’s kind of an unhealthy codependent type relationship I have with them.
It may be that I really don’t love RPGs categorically speaking. I think there’s a lot of bad stuff out there. Uninteresting gameplay. Pretension. Tedious or outright unpleasant philosophies about life and drama, deconstructed and dressed with beautiful exciting art and fed to the reader as aspirationally “fun” when it is no such thing. I’ve been around to see enough bad games that somewhere inside me, I assume most RPGs are bad.
Gosh, the good ones though. The ones that teach me some new way to perceive and understand real life. They exist! Or proceduralized descriptions of genre structures that have eluded me until I saw the interlocking gears. Or, sometimes, manipulative-as-fuck psychological tricks that move my emotions to a surprising place. Even then, I’m not sure I “love” them.
I have loved individual games.
The games I have loved were because of the people who played them, and the shared imaginative spaces the games put us in together, and the trust extended back and forth via the medium of the rules to talk together. That’s hot! I have no idea how any other art form could hope to achieve such a thing.
I’ve studied and written music and words for money, and the relationship is always between the creator and the audience. Sometimes the audience talks among itself about the work (or, good lord, the creator), but it’s all just opinions about someone else’s work. Honestly, that relationship to me feels impoverished alongside a small group gathered together, as peers, working together for nothing more than the pleasure of doing so.
So I guess I do love RPGs in those particular moments, with those particular people.