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Author Topic: Beeg Horseshoe  (Read 8393 times)
Scourge108
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« on: February 11, 2004, 09:25:14 AM »

I apologize for my ignorance, but I keep hearing reference to the "Beeg Horseshoe Theory" on some of these threads, but I haven't found what that theory actually posits.  Could someone enlighten those of us who are unfamiliar with this term?
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Greg Jensen
ethan_greer
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2004, 10:09:26 AM »

Hi Scourge, I did a search on "Horseshoe" and found the appropriate starting links for you.

The Beeg Horseshoe Theory

Beeg Horseshoe Theory Revisited

Keep in mind, though, that these are older discussions and that some views on GNS theory in general have changed in the intervening time.

Enjoy!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2004, 10:13:19 AM »

Hello,

I also recommend What is the Dream?, in which I provided my summary of the Beeg Horseshoe Theory and received neither confirmation nor correction, and Invention as a Creative Agenda.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2004, 12:10:58 PM »

How the fuck did I miss that Dream thread?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2004, 08:04:56 PM »

Hi Mike,

Dunno man, but I was kind of wondering how off-base I must have been to have that little summary just go ... thunk. Maybe this thread is a good place to tell me how on/off I was, just in terms of summarizing the BHT.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2004, 06:39:37 AM »

Your analysis is close, but misses at certain points.

First, I am only an advocate of Beeg Horseshoe as a visual model of what's going on. That is, that in describing gamism and narrativism as linked to simulationism inextricably by the horseshoe shape itself (but notably not to each other), it says that you can't have one without the other. You can have gamism without narrativism (the "prongs" of the horseshoe don't touch), but you can't have gamism or narrativism without first coming from the base of the horseshoe, which is exploration.

Where I differ with Beeg Horseshoe is that I don't see failure to reach the prongs as a failure, or retreat from the "fun" part of play: that's what Jared, and other supporters claimed. Simulationism, should it exist in the model would be staying nearer to the base of the model if/when opportunities come around to go out on a prong. But it's my supposition, essentially, that this is because, for some players, if you go out on those prongs in certain situations, the horseshoe breaks, the gamism or narrativism no longer is connected to exploration, and the game ceases to be an RPG for that individual. It loses that essential exploration quality that RPGs have for that player.

So, staying near the base to an extent, is something we all do when playing RPGs unavoidably. The only question is the level to which we feel that we can come out to the prongs without the horseshoe breaking. That's the "sim" part of every agenda. And it's a positive thing, because I think all players are looking for either narrativism and/or gamism (or play "like" these, if you consider these to be "beyond the base level of support), and can only get them in the context of the appropriate level of support. That is, even if you want to move to something beyond exploring, you can't do it without maintaining that appropriate level of support first. Which means, occasionally not going out on that limb at all when the moment isn't right.

Doing this in most cases is what I think gets labeled simulationism. That is, satisfied with the product of exploration, why threaten to break the exploratory feel at that particular point. There will be other points at which congruence will allow for both urges to be satisfied, so there's no reason to have to go out on that prong at that particular moment.

The "gamist" or "narrativist" can still see this as a conflict, yes, because they expect that people will travel down that prong at the slightest opportunity. But even these sorts will not often do so when it drops the exploratory feel. Those who would, I'd label "hardcore" in that they really don't want the full RPG experience, they simply want a more expansive framework in which to Step on Up, or create Story Now.

Does that help?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2004, 08:50:38 AM »

Hi Mike,

Yeah, you clarified that side of your argument by private message and also in recent posts, but all that came after I'd written that post. So consider those clarifications made. All I really need to be sure of is whether my summary of Jared's original/visual proposition was in accord with your reading. Looks like it is, so all is well.

Best,
Ron
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