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Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory

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RPGPundit:
For the purposes of this forum, which are not to philosophize about nonsensical theories pulled out from one's ass, there must be certain "Landmarks" that one can use, as the foundational basis by which one can establish what can be legitimate gaming theory and what is explicitly to be discounted.
A Landmark is a go/no-go test based on simple statements about the reality of RPGs as they apply to the mainstream of people playing them today!
If a theoretical proposition violates the Landmark, by suggesting that in some form or another RPGs as the vast majority of people understand or play them are currently wrong, said proposition is automatically illegitimate, with no debate. The landmarks are, in other words, an attempt at defining what the Gaming community is like and how it works.

Here are my "Landmarks of Gaming Theory":

1. The vast majority of gamers are having fun gaming.

2. The vast majority of gamers are satisfied with the majority of their game as it is played.

3. D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG. It can be improved upon or changed, but any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks. You don't have to say it is the "best" RPG, but you are obviously not in touch with reality if your theory claims that D&D is a "bad" game, and then try to invent some convoluted conspiracy theory as to why millions of people play it anyways, more than any other RPG.

4. Given number 3 above, it is self-evident that games that have a broad spectrum of playstyles (as D&D does) are by definition successful games. Any theory that speculates that games must be narrowly-focused to be "good" games is automatically in violation of the Landmarks. Note that this doesn't mean that you must say narrow-focus games are "bad", or that narrow-focused games can't be considered appropriate, only that you cannot suggest that gamers don't want to play in RPGs that have a broad spectrum of playstyle, because they obviously do want to play exactly those kinds of games.

5. Conflicts do arise in gaming groups; these conflicts are usually the product of social interaction between the players and not a problem with the rules themselves. The solution to these problems is not to "Narrow the rules", but to broaden the playstyle of a group to accomodate what the complaining players are missing. Thus, it is a Landmark that all correct gaming theories, if they deal with "player dis-satisfaction" at all, must focus the nature of that dissatisfaction on the rules ONLY to suggest that a given rules-set is too narrow; and even then only because it is a symptom of an interpersonal social conflict within a group.

6. Given point #3, above, any gaming theory that suggest that the GM should get disproportionately more or less power than they do in D&D in order for a game to be "good" is inherently in violation of the Landmarks. The vast majority of players enjoy a game where the GM has power over the world and the players over their characters; and while a theory can suggest ways that GMs and Players can experiment with interactively creating the setting, it cannot suggest that the Players should have the power to tell the GM what to do (except for the "power" to walk away from a game).

7. Any gaming theory that tries to divide gamers into specific criteria of "types" must make it clear that this is only one kind of categorization, and not an absolutist and literal interpretation that is a universal truth; it is only one form of categorizing gamers.

8. Any theory that suggests, therefore, that its "types" are mutually exclusionary in gaming groups is in violation of the Landmarks. Individual people can end up being mutually exclusive to each other, unable to play in the same group, etc; but that is because of individual personal issues, not because of an issue of playstyle.

9. Any gaming theory that suggests that a significant element of what many players find entertaining is in fact a "delusion" or unreal, or that the gamers themselves don't know what they're doing or what they're thinking, or what they want from gaming, is in violation of the landmarks.

10. Given points #9 and #1, the suggestion that so-called "immersion" is not a real or viable goal in an RPG, or that "genre emulation" is not a viable priority in a game, is in violation of the Landmarks.

So there are my 10 Landmarks. That's it, fuckers, game over. From now on any future gaming theory should be designed with them in mind, and any existing or future gaming theory that is in violation of those landmarks should be instantly rejected as a product of a brain-damaged mind. The clear line in the sand has been marked, on the level.

So please do NOT come in here talking about GNS or other Forge theories as if those were acceptable theories or proven fact that everyone takes for granted. They do not. Especially here. In fact, here it is taken for granted, due to the miracle of common sense, that GNS and almost anything else that's come out of the Forge is utter bullshit, mental diarrea of the worst kind, and that there are turds floating in gutters with more claim to being viable gaming theories than GNS. This forum is an attempt at working with theory to actually do something productive, and to be quite possibly the only place on the entire net where you can talk about theory without having to pretend that GNS works or is real.


Feel free to try to design new theories, with the goal being that these theories actually be useful for making RPGs (or improving existing RPGs), but keep in mind that any theory that doesn't take common sense (and thus, the Landmarks as a guide to common sense) into account would probably be better suited to reality-free zones like the Forge.

Here, we actually LIKE reality.

RPGPundit

RPGPundit:
Note that I have been informed by my tech admins that the accidental deletion of the previous thread is impossible to undo. I'm very sorry to everyone who was involved in that excellent discussion.

RPGPundit

jrients:
I was the one who screwed up and accidentally deleted the thread.  Please accept my apologies.

John Morrow:

--- Quote from: jrients ---I was the one who screwed up and accidentally deleted the thread.  Please accept my apologies.
--- End quote ---

I was able to recover replies 1-99 and 101-108 from my Firefox cache as HTML files. If you want to give me an email address via IM, I can email them to you if you want to try to piece it back together or put them up somewhere. Not sure what happened to 100 but maybe someone else could recover that (the stuff in Firefox's cache includes the HTML files in gzip format).

joewolz:

--- Quote from: John Morrow ---I was able to recover replies 1-99 and 101-108 from my Firefox cache as HTML files.  If you want to give me an email address via IM, I can email them to you if you want to try to piece it back together or put them up somewhere.  Not sure what happened to 100 but maybe someone else could recover that (the stuff in Firefox's cache includes the HTML files in gzip format).
--- End quote ---


Please?  joewolz AT joewolz DOT com

I knew about the conversation, but never got a chance to read it :(

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