Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson

GC summit viewing

Last night owens888 and I watched about half the video footage from the GC Summit. Some take-aways:

A "Run More Games" mantra sung to most of the people at the GC summit is redundant: those people already are running games, or have recently run games. A different mantra that someone in the audience shouted out at some point: "We will forgive you if your game is not perfect." At times I've urged various newbies to put on games, their reaction seems always to be "I couldn't do all that work" or "it wouldn't be this good." We, as players, should be sure future GCs know the bar isn't progressively higher with each passing BANG.

People who run games seem obsessed with The Community: what would The Community think about this game, would this idea damage The Community, would The Community give me enough credit if I ran a game all on my own. I kinda think this meta analysis is all bunk. I view communities as emergent phenomena, a result of what individual people in a group do in response to stimulus. We're not a fraternal society with membership, dues, by-laws, and voting. It's only indirectly correct to posit what The Community might do, because The Community is made up of the people who say and do and think things. Think about specific people -- would Rich enjoy playing in this game? What would Ian think of this puzzle? Even talk about The Community, as a thing one must understand or belong to, can isolate novices who just enjoy solving puzzles occasionally. That behavior really is just fine!

I continue to be really impressed with Larry's 2 Tone Game because it hit many objectives of The Ideal Puzzle Event. It contains enough puzzles to be fun but not so many that you're exhausted if you solve them all in one day. You can choose your own time and environment to play: if you want to treat it as an overnight hunt, you can. Perhaps most impressive, it's been "running" for months, permitting many more people to play it than could ever play in one or two or three BANG re-plays. I wouldn't want all games to follow this pattern, but Larry built something that's worked really well.

There's expectations around games that GC can't shake. Consider, for example, the Doctor When game. Allen first cast for help for this event more than a year ago, thus letting the "we're going to run a Game next year" cat out of the bag. Naturally, people who've played in games before and recently are (a) excited and (b) figure it'll be much like those: puzzles, some storyline or theme, and puzzles. Allen's GC Summit presentation emphasized his plan that the event be around a story, immersing players in this alternate world, and solving puzzles as a means toward some other ends. I'm really curious to see how this GC brings players expectations inline with what GC plans to deliver. In part, the feedback at the summit was, GC should bluntly tell players what to expect. But, it's still a Game, so there's a high prior expectation of "lots of puzzles" and "theme that you can ignore" to overcome. One member of the audience at the summit pointed out that many Broadway musicals have a number early on devoted exclusively to what the protagonist wants -- setting the motivation for their actions going forward. But it's not quite the same here -- the players *are* the protagonist, it's important to tell players what they *should* want in the story-world. But probably more groundwork needs to be laid now, in the real world, with the real players, to bring us around for _us_ to _really_ want those same things.
Tags: puzzling
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