Forum > Design, Development, and Gameplay

Pistols at dawn.

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Levi Kornelsen:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---Wait, what are you talking about here? Are you talking about a single unified mechanic in a gaming system? Like what D20 does? because I really don't think gaming theory can take credit for that!
--- End quote ---


No, not that.  A game which can treat any use of mechanics as a conflict.

It may not be to your taste; it is to the taste of enough people.


--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---Well, I could talk about reams of thank you letters I've gotten from people since I started my blog, people saying that I'm saying the stuff about gaming that they've always felt but never could get around to saying; either for fear of seeming "stupid" in the light of the so-called cognoscenti, or from frustration that it wouldn't change anything, or just from an inability to express it effectively.

But its not really relevant to the point.
--- End quote ---


Oh, really?

If people find it easier to remove staples with one of those stupid-looking jaw-shaped things, then that thing is useful.  If people find that theory lets them get better gaming, then theory is useful.  It doesn't need to be useful to everyone, just like not every game needs to be interesting to everyone.

Unless this is some new definition of "useful" I've never heard of before.

RPGPundit:

--- Quote from: Levi Kornelsen ---
If people find it easier to remove staples with one of those stupid-looking jaw-shaped things, then that thing is useful.  If people find that theory lets them get better gaming, then theory is useful.  It doesn't need to be useful to everyone, just like not every game needs to be interesting to everyone.

Unless this is some new definition of "useful" I've never heard of before.
--- End quote ---


What I'm defining as "useful" is something that provides an advancement or progress for a player that can be objectively demonstrated to either be impossible to achieve without the use of gaming theory, or far simpler to achieve with the use of game play as opposed to regular play and practice and talking about play and practice without resorting to the jargon and particularities of Gaming theory.

Gaming Theorists try to argue that their ideas or principles are like a science, that someone who participates in them will have a better game; what I'm saying is that its a pseudoscience, and that any effect outside of the "placebo" effect (ie. what would have come about with regular game play and conversation, without having to resort to the use of Jargon, GNS, or creating other kinds of hypotheses about the nature of games, gaming groups or game design).

RPGPundit

Levi Kornelsen:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---What I'm defining as "useful" is something that provides an advancement or progress for a player that can be objectively demonstrated to either be impossible to achieve without the use of gaming theory, or far simpler to achieve with the use of game play as opposed to regular play and practice and talking about play and practice without resorting to the jargon and particularities of Gaming theory.
--- End quote ---


Ohh.  Okay, great.

How about you objectively prove to me that you enjoy pipe smoking?

It's impossible?  Great.  There you go.  No such proof can exist; I mean, you sound like you do, and you can probably tell me stories about it, but you can't, you know, actually prove it, can you?

Same deal.


--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---Gaming Theorists try to argue that their ideas or principles are like a science, that someone who participates in them will have a better game; what I'm saying is that its a pseudoscience, and that any effect outside of the "placebo" effect (ie. what would have come about with regular game play and conversation, without having to resort to the use of Jargon, GNS, or creating other kinds of hypotheses about the nature of games, gaming groups or game design).
--- End quote ---


And I'm saying that sometimes, writing down ideas on "how this shit works" can help clarify them.  And discussing or reading people's ideas on "how this shit works" sometimes shortcuts over into realizing something useful that would never have come to mind otherwise.

None of that other crap is required, though sometimes it helps to have the right words on hand.

It works quite well for me.  And others, it seems.

That's theory.

RPGPundit:

--- Quote from: Levi Kornelsen ---Ohh.  Okay, great.
How about you objectively prove to me that you enjoy pipe smoking?
It's impossible?  Great.  There you go.  No such proof can exist; I mean, you sound like you do, and you can probably tell me stories about it, but you can't, you know, actually prove it, can you?
Same deal.
--- End quote ---


Ah, but therein lies my point. I ENJOY pipe smoking.
I absolutely love it.
I'm not asking you to prove that you enjoy gaming theory, in fact I'm a hundred-percent absolutely certain that you do.  That's the entire crux of my point.

What I can't prove is that pipe smoking makes people into more decent human beings.
I would like to think that, I almost believe it sometimes, when I look at the kind of guys who've smoked pipe; when I see my buddies in the pipe club, and notice how great they all are.
But in the end, that's just a feeling I get based on the fact that I really, REALLY like smoking a pipe.
Plus, there's always Josef Stalin. He smoked a pipe. Not a good guy.

What I'm saying, and what your very argument has unwittingly revealed, is that gaming theorists like doing gaming theory in and of itself.  

You're not doing gaming theory to be better gamers. You're doing Gaming Theory because you really love sitting around theorizing about games!

And you might really, really, like it. But that doesn't mean it makes you a better Roleplayer for it, and it sure as hell doesn't mean that it'll make others better roleplayers for it.  That's just an excuse you tell yourselves to justify spending your time doing Gaming theory, and for some gaming theorists to feel smug about what they're doing and lord it over gamers who aren't theorists.

Its like if I started telling others that they need to smoke a pipe to be more moral people, and claimed that this is why I smoke a pipe.

Why the subterfuge? Why not just admit it: you and all other gaming theorists don't do Gaming Theory for the sake of RPGs. You do it because you like Gaming Theory, in and of itself!

Admit that, be happy, spend your time making up theories about games. Hell, in some cases if some of you admitted it then they might not be inclined to ever have to bother actually playing RPGs anymore, just like a total asshole thinking he has to be moral in order to smoke a pipe.
Others, might actually enjoy both gaming theory and RPGs, but will come to understand that they aren't doing one for the sake of the other, and at that point might be kind enough to stop trying to push it on the rest of us by claiming that you need gaming theory to do gaming well.

Look deep in your heart, and know that its true. That you like Gaming Theory for its own sake, otherwise you'd never be doing it.

And those of us who don't like it, don't appear to need it to be good Gamers.  I'm willing to bet that I'm a better DM than many so-called gaming theorists, and I've never been "helped" by GNS.

So you aren't doing Theory because its something necessary to save or improve your gaming.  You (and all other Gaming Theorists) are doing it because you like to make up smart-sounding theories about games. Case closed.

I'll remind you that your next post on this thread is the last one, then I have the last word and this thread comes to a close.

RPGPundit

Levi Kornelsen:
I was considering making some kind of big closing statement here, full of specific points, or attempts to show you where I thought we were making use of stratagems instead of arguing openly, and the like.  

But, in the end, it would be pretty much pure showmanship; and while I do like being showy, I like to think that it's not my primary thing.

So I'll keep this simple.

I've learned a whole lot about both your viewpoint and about how I'm stating and expressing my own.  I'll be chewing on a few of your points here for quite a while, even though we did wander into a fair bit of argument-just-to-argue in places.

And to your last point, I'll say this - I like playing, and then discussing, and playing, and discussing.  As it happens, yes, I like abstracting the discussion a bit, because it helps me carry the stuff I got out out of this game here over to that one over there.  And to me, that's all that good theory is; taking notes on things I can carry from one group of games to another, or that I think can apply to all games generally in interesting ways, and sharing them.

Naturally, you can argue that a lot of highly visible theory isn't that at all, and there's some justice to that.  I've wandered off into wank-land a few times, myself, getting caught up in the "pure" abstraction; and every time, the results of getting caught up like that are profoundly unsatisfying.  Others do seem to find some intellectual satisfaction to it.

And now, the dispute is yours to end.

A good day to you, sir.

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