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Author Topic: Pervy Sim, Points of Contact, Accessibility: an example game  (Read 11563 times)
lumpley
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« on: November 29, 2002, 12:25:49 PM »

Hey.

I used to play in this game with Sarah Kahn and them, and holy cow were they pervs.

The philosophy:

1. No game mechanics can be as good a simulation as our collective opinions.

2. Nothing should interfere with our experience of our characters as independent people, outside of our conscious control.  (Whether some of us believed that our characters actually were independent people outside of our control, no, probably not.  We just dug the sensation.)

The system:

1. Character Creation: Create a character.  Introduce her to the group, in as much detail as is practical.  The game depends on all of the players sharing an understanding of her capabilities and history, so be prepared to answer tough questions.

2. Event Resolution: Whenever inconsistencies arise between players' imaginations of events or details, the game stops.  All involved players work to resolve those inconsistencies, without --get this -- without overt appeal to any metagame concerns.

And seriously, that's it.  Sometimes there was a GM, responsible for bit parts and setting, but subject to the event resolution system same as everybody else.

So my comments are:

It worked.  The game system supported our goal of disappearing into our characters' heads in an impeccably believable setting.  Outside of the game, we always talked about our characters as though they were mutual friends, not our creations, cuz that's how it felt.

Any definition of pervy that doesn't include this game, I can't get behind.  Ron, does your exploration of system definition include this game?  When the system is: prioritize in-game causality, especially Character and Setting, does big exploration of Character and Setting = big exploration of System?  (If "pervy" is back to non-technical status, available for casual use, this is a non-concern.)

How many points of contact?  Or, how many links in the resolution chain?  1?  Infinite?  Variable?  Even 0?  More than GURPS or less?  I can't figure it out.

(Its Rules Emphasis, though, is easy to spot.)

It wasn't a particularly accessible game, anyway, as you can probably imagine.

-Vincent
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2002, 10:18:22 AM »

Hi Vincent,

Trouble is, you're not describing the system for us. Like most role-players, you are creating a division between system and "system." Here's your real system in this game:
"Whenever inconsistencies arise between players' imaginations of events or details, the game stops. All involved players work to resolve those inconsistencies ..."

To paraphrase Meat Loaf in Bat Out of Hell, "Stop right there! / I wanna know right now / Before we go any further /"

Whatever you did to "work to resolve" is the system you used. From within, it's very hard to identify just what was at work in that process. But as role-players, it's even harder, because we have grown used to considering "system" as some kind of Fortune/probability mechanism, rather than as the Lumpley Principle (yes yours) in action.

Best,
Ron

(Side note: as a personal favor, can you give the Pervy thing, as a term, a little rest? For a short while? I'm reeeally trying to keep people on track with the whole "points of contact" thing, and your it's-A-if-A-still-means-A, but if A-is-B, then can-I-use-A-for-this-other-thing, that is, unless my other-thing-is-B? is getting me tired ...)
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2002, 03:41:10 PM »

I personally think that a freeform tabletop game (which is what yopu seem to be describning, Vincent), has relatively little in the form of points of contact. But that means that, in addition to lacking those sorts of POCs that make a game less accessible, it also lacks the sort that make the game more accessible.

This is what I was saying before. If the whole theory has something to do with accessibility, then we have to have two forms of POCs. Call them Clarifying POCs, and Complicating POCs. FFTT has little of either, except as may be developed in play (you have to admit, Ron, that the "text" of the game above probably didn't say much more than what Vincent described).

If we go with that, we can start to see a POC accessibility balance. That is, FFTT probably have neutral rating. No plusses, no minusses. Other systems will be, on balance positive or negative. In fact, I'd say that most RPGs are actually in the positive zone. They usually go to some length to describe what the player is supposed to be doing in the game. But there may be some that are less accessible than FFTT, having far more Complicating POCs than Clarifying POCs.

Does that make sense? As such, Vincent, I'd say that FFTT are not relatively accessible, but not because of Complicating POCs, but because of a lack of Clarifying POCs.

Mike

P.S. For those who want an example of what a clarifying POC is, here's one. The fact that all players in Champions wil have a superhero character is a Clarifying POC. A very strong one. I've never seen a player being told  that they were going to play a superhero have troble visualizing what the action was going to be. That makes it very accessible. As opposed to Champions combat which is a ton of Complicating POCs.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2002, 09:52:37 PM »

Hi Mike,

I think it's easier than that. Vincent's game (as described here, which I still maintain is insufficient for us really to masticate it) requires points of contact at every step - as in, "Everyone OK with that?" being a constant undercurrent throughout play.

But this is a highly controversial issue, perhaps best saved for later in the Infamous Five Fallout phase.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2002, 07:31:32 AM »

You know, I could stick with the idea if we were to say that any mechanic developed in play was a POC. That is, ommision results in POCs simply because of the fact that they must be filled in, and are not made explicit.

The point is, System Matters. That is, we can only talk about the text such as it exists. Perhaps the initial briefing in the case of Vincent's game. Thereafter, we aren't talking about how Pervy the system is (or to what extent the system supports Pervy play; without this, I'm not sure of the value of the classification), but how Pervy the play is.

Am I being clear?

So, how long do we hav to wait for the highly anticipated fifth thread so we can get at some of these things? :-)

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2002, 08:08:25 AM »

Hi Mike,

Right. In other words, Points of Contact (nee Pervy/Vanilla) is really about play. Granted, since its definition is based on using System, and since System and text are closely related, it's easy to talk about Points of Contact in terms of text - but the leap is still there when you do that. I said all this in my introductory post to the Pervy vs. Vanilla thread.

As for thread #5, it'll happen in inverse proportion to people bugging me about it.

Best,
Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2002, 08:21:09 AM »

Ha!  Points of Contact is play, game text is a clue to it or isn't.  Works for me.

-Vincent
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