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Author Topic: Why all the resistance?  (Read 21481 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: April 18, 2001, 12:57:00 PM »

Hello,

I usually can understand a person's objections to my point of view. Yet when it comes to G/N/S, I cannot.

Where does the fierce resistance that I see on RPG.net, or among the staff of GO, or anywhere else, actually come from?

No one can possibly claim that all role-players share a single, unified goal. That is manifestly not the case. So anyone using the "No Categories, Man" argument makes no sense to me.

Perhaps the actual model is perceived as flawed; that is, categorizing is OK but these categories are wrong. If so, then I expect to see an alternate set of models proposed. So far, I haven't seen any. (Or very few. SJ's C/E/N gets praise from me because it IS a serious proposal, regardless of my agreement or disagreement.)

Or maybe it's a matter of the model being perfectly defensible, but the whole endeavor of categorizing being evil - "divisive," I believe, is the term employed. And here, I am puzzled - since when were role-players ever "unified," and in what way? What possible harm is created by G/N/S categorizing, and what evidence is there that this happens?

Help me out. What's the big issue at stake here that we seem to have stumbled upon?

Best,
Ron
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Jason L Blair
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2001, 01:01:00 PM »

I think some are just tired of hearing about it and a lot just don't understand it. They've never taken the time to actually read it and comprehend it. Instead, they take their second-hand info and start building soapboxes.



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Jason L Blair
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[ This Message was edited by: Key20Jason on 2001-04-18 17:01 ]
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Jason L Blair
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GreatWolf
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designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2001, 01:02:00 PM »

I'm a little at a loss as well.  To be honest (as I noted in a thread at GO), I think that G/N/S, when properly understood, can actually unite, rather than divide.

Perhaps it is the perception of there being a bias towards one of the three axes.  Perhaps it is a result of individualism.  I really don't quite know.

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2001, 02:01:00 PM »

I think part of the resistance is the concept of an implied inferiority. So far, the majority of the main proponents of the three-fold model have been roleplayers that prefer narrativism.

(My thoughts on the reason for this: simulationism and gamism came naturally as roleplaying came out of wargames. Narrativism is a more recent style of play, and one that had to be worked at more, as earlier RPGs didn't really support it. Therefore, roleplayers that prefer narrativism have been on the forefront on new game design theory.)

By having the majority of discussion be on developing narrativism, roleplayers that prefer gamism or simulationism might feel that their styles are being left out or considered inferior. While this is in no way true, it perpetuates itself by these roleplayers eschewing the three-fold model.

Of course, a secondary reason is the lack of understanding of the model among many roleplayers, and the use of a malformed, misunderstood model by those roleplayers.

If Robin Laws would ever write a bit about G/N/S, it'd be helpful. So far, he's written a very Simulationist game (Feng Shui), an incredibly gamist game (Rune, and for that matter, Pantheon) and an remarkably narrativist game (Dying Earth, in my opinion.) I can't think of another designer that's hit all three.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
GreatWolf
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2001, 02:11:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-04-18 18:01, Clinton R Nixon wrote:
If Robin Laws would ever write a bit about G/N/S, it'd be helpful. So far, he's written a very Simulationist game (Feng Shui), an incredibly gamist game (Rune, and for that matter, Pantheon) and an remarkably narrativist game (Dying Earth, in my opinion.) I can't think of another designer that's hit all three.



Ah.  A goal to aim for.  :smile:

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Jared A. Sorensen
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Darksided


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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2001, 06:12:00 PM »

Geeks HATE being stereotyped or classified.  It's all part of the weird hacker d00d/open source/cyberwank/"I am not a number, I am a free man!" crap.

And bless their souls, they see the G/N/S model as being another brick in the wall, taxonimically-speaking.  "Oooo!  Don't label me!" they cry, all the while using words like geek, goth, otaku and gamergrrl to indentify themselves.  Ironic.


[ This Message was edited by: Jared A. Sorensen on 2001-04-18 23:36 ]
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2001, 02:02:00 PM »

So now my question becomes, is there some way to entice people to check out the appropriate references? Is there some way to state or introduce the ideas involved that will have a less alienating effect?

Granted, the most extreme folks won't be enticed. If someone's ego is threatened because Someone Else had an idea about RPGs that they didn't originate, or if someone is threatened because there's some "group" that he or she doesn't belong to, or anything similar, then forget it.

But let's figure that quite a few folks are interested, or even if their initial reaction is negative, that they'd be quickly convinced via effective argument. How to reach them?

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2001, 05:01:00 PM »

Y'know, I think a major factor that plays into G/N/S resistance is fear. A gamer invests years of time, thought, and money into the hobby, and bases a great deal of his identity on that. G/N/S has the ability to tell him that he's not who he thinks he is. It reinvents his identity, not just going forward, but historically. He hasn't been doing what he thought he was doing. It reopens old disputes in his head by making him consider that gamers who left his circle weren't idiots, but had a valid alternative perspective. It tells him that he doesn't know how to buy a game; that he's been programmed to make purchasing decisions by criteria that maybe don't serve his interests. Accepting G/N/S is a negative epiphany.

I think a way of making design theory more palatable might not be a discussion of game design, but a discussion of game redesign. Teaching people how to pull apart Vampire and reassemble it so it meets its design goals might be more productive than essentially saying they should throw away Vampire because of how it's flawed. Saying that Game A is better than Game B, which is essentially what we do when we say that the system for Game A doesn't conflict with its design goals the way the system for Game B does, causes people to dig in and get defensive. But there's a long tradition of home modifications and house rules among gamers that could be exploited to teach the ideas of system design without provoking that kind of defensiveness.

Paul Czege

[ This Message was edited by: Paul Czege on 2001-04-19 21:03 ]
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Logan
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2001, 08:20:00 PM »

Hey Ron,

One limitation with the whole 3-fold debate is that you have yet to publish your complete model with all the folds and paradigms in a form that people can use as a reference. The fact of the matter is, John Kim's stuff is older, unchanged, and heavily polarized to his way of thinking. Even "System Does Matter" could use a refresher. It lacks the more advanced and interesting portions of your overall model.

Most people just aren't willing to slog through hundreds of forum posts to get the gist of something that likely should be presented as a single, coherent document.

Best,

Logan
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JSDiamond
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2001, 03:05:00 PM »

Ron, my way of processing the G/N/S model was as a way to accurately gauge *the game* and not the player. Because the game, -by its design/premise/plot/etc., intentionally (or un-intentionally) determines the style of gameplay.

Jeff Diamond
http://www.geocities.com/allianceprime">6-0 Games
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JSDiamond
Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2001, 08:22:00 AM »

 This Message was edited by: Ian O'Rourke on 2001-05-08 13:48 ]
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Ian O'Rourke
www.fandomlife.net
The e-zine of SciFi media and Fandom Culture.
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2001, 10:27:00 AM »

I just wrote a particularly lengthy post on the issue and it was destroyed because it wanted my password (which it didn't ask for)...grrr...
Who do I kill or ask for changes to be made to the submission process to deal with errors like this?
(like putting the document property into a container so when I hit "back" it doesn't clear the form of what was written)

Anyways, to summarize the post (sigh...whimper): the mediocre mind is always resistant to great ideas.

Whether that resistance arises from willful ignorance, a desire not to be boxed-into a category, or from the ego.

As well, since most gamers are teenagers -- at a stage in life where they're trying to decide or make who they are -- being told who they are invokes furious wrath from the most vocal and quiet contemplation from the least.  Unfortunately, thusly, you only get to interact with/see the vocal minority.

And for those who aren't teens, the problem is ego.  Rather, a fragile ego, like the game designer who can't deal with anyone dissing their mechanics because they do not understand criticism as anything other than a personal attack.

For these people, dealing with changes in their logic and beliefs is unacceptable.  If they do so, it means they were "wrong", and being "wrong" invites internal criticism -- which the self sees as it's self attacking itself -- simply an invocation of their ongoing inability to deal with criticism.

It is those who aren't open to new ideas or ways of doing things (such folks as the ones who use their air time to denounce 3E as crap, along with such lofty intellectulisms as "WotC is just trying to take all our money!" or making the statement before they have even seen the game), small minded, ignorant-but-nonetheless-opinionated individuals.

They are the annoying people in gaming shops who disparage the products you are looking at to their friends, but loudly enough that you can *clearly hear them ten feet (heck, twenty feet) away, usually followed by an annoying nasal laugh.

Consider this, these are the rednecks of the gaming community.  The guy who invites your 15-year old cousin to go drinking and then tells you how to run your game because you aren't portraying a realistic medieval world.

So, in closing let's turn to a quote by a very wise man: "Donuts, is there anything they can't do?" -- Homer Simpson

Wait, wrong wise man for this situation...
The ancient greek philosophers dealt with small-minded ignorance in response to their theories as well...in fact there is no field or human endeavor I can think of where this sort of behaviour does not occur: egyptology (gods no!), physics (quack! quack!), religion (heathen!  sinner!), biology (*ahem*) and so on and so forth.

"There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." -- Hippocrates (460 BCE - 377 BCE), 'Law'

So just remember that when all is said and done, a hundred or a thousand years from now no one will recall the names or statements of your ignorant detractors, though they'll still be talking about your ideas.

-Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
http://www.daegmorgan.net/
"Homer, your growing insanity is starting to bother me."

[ This Message was edited by: greyorm on 2001-05-08 15:46 ]
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2001, 10:45:00 AM »

Well, that's why I'm a 'write in word' and then paste it in man :smile:
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Ian O'Rourke
www.fandomlife.net
The e-zine of SciFi media and Fandom Culture.
Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2001, 01:00:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-04-18 18:01, Clinton R Nixon wrote:
If Robin Laws would ever write a bit about G/N/S, it'd be helpful. So far, he's written a very Simulationist game (Feng Shui), an incredibly gamist game (Rune, and for that matter, Pantheon) and an remarkably narrativist game (Dying Earth, in my opinion.) I can't think of another designer that's hit all three.


Does Fengshui actually fall under the simulationist model? I always assumed a simulationist model meant simulating reality? I realise this could be me just taking a narrow view, but I also realise including Fengshui sort of muddies the water with regard to the simulationist definition.

If Fengshui is included then any game that sets out to model a genre, setting or specific media entity (such as Star Wars or Star Trek) could be classed as simulationist? Possibly not Star Wars D20, but what about Star Wars D6?

I'd say Fengshui was narrativist, surely? Harn would be simulationists.

Ah screw, let's not spend too much time on this shit as it's probably been argued to death somewhere else :smile:
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Ian O'Rourke
www.fandomlife.net
The e-zine of SciFi media and Fandom Culture.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2001, 01:44:00 PM »

We might want a whole thread on Feng Shui in the G/N/S forum, because this game represents a fabulous transition in Simulationist game design that always trips everyone up.

Best,
Ron
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