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February 27th, 2007, 22:00
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Yes, arguing that "freedom' is better than a good tight storyline in an rpg is facile and a bit of a cop-out. But don't downgrade the power of your own mind to enhance even a good book or film—is it only the story in these cases, or the talent of the artist that involves you and gives the experience of immediacy and realism?
Well, I'm not saying that your imagination shouldn't play a role or that you should not use it. But since I'm an old P&P fan I will unavoidly compare every crpg with with its spiritual predecessor (yes, I know you can argue that Crpgs and P&P are two very different things, but I guess that's another discussion…). A common mistake nowadays seems to be to believe that roleplaying is just about playing a role and that this is the element that defines a game as a roleplaying game. Fact is however, that roleplaying involves at least as much storytelling as playing another character. The gamemaster tells a story to the players (and vice versa). As you well know, there is a lot of imagination involved in P&P - it's almost impossible without it. But still, your imagination is only part of the whole thing - it is the gamemaster who will, so to speak, guide you through the story. Now there are good gamemasters and bad ones. A good one will manage to guide you through a story without you realizing it.
For me it's the same with crpgs. A good Crpg is not linear - quite the contrary. It lets you do whatever you want to do and lets you venture wherever you want to. But that doesn't mean it has to be empty and lifeless like the Elder Scrolls series of games. In games like Oblivion there is a very bad gamemaster at work who just leans back, drinks his beer, eats his chips, and let's the players stumble around, clueless, untill they are bored and go home.
I think you could say that Baldur's Gate did quite well in that field. The player was guided, but was also quite free in his decisions. The game with the big F didn't do too bad either - it is certainly one of the most non-linear games on the market, but still offers a lot of story. How empty would "the Glow" be without all the computers and memos that you can find that actually tell you the story of what happened down there.
So is your imagination important - of course it is. It improves every game no matter if P&P or Crpg, but it's not a replacement for content.
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