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March 7, 2006

Filed under: gaming»design»story

...And a helpful talking falcon!

Dear people who make or write about games,

When you have a roleplaying game, set in a bizarrely clean and well-decorated medieval kingdom, and a lone boy must gather a group of charming misfits before saving the world from a heartless evil character of some kind or another, nine times out of ten this is not a workable plot. It is a cliche, a terrible tragedy of melodrama, and I am just a bit tired of being told that I can look past it.

Look, I read terrible science fiction and fantasy. It's comfort food--not good for me, or even particularly tasty, just filling and familiar. But I recognize it for what it is. I'm not trying to convince anyone that the output of, say, Mercedes Lackey, is a work of art--in fact, given half a chance, I'd probably try to talk you out of reading the kinds of pulp I browse on a regular basis.

So let's not have any more talk about how Magical Sword of Phantastic Phire: My Kingdom for a Plot Device is a "charming, well-executed" wrapping for plots that were threadbare when Adventure hit the shelves. A typical Japanese-style RPG is going to eat at least 20 hours to complete. You could read at least three formulaic paperbacks in that time, maybe pick up a little vocabulary or a nice turn of phrase, and help keep a struggling writer afloat.

Believe me, I'm all about keeping struggling writers afloat...

Future - Present - Past