RPGWatch Side Quest: The Avatar and Me
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December 16th, 2006, 04:09
When I watch ďBraveheartĒ I live through William Wallace. When I read a good book I become immersed in the world and story and live through the main character(s). When I play Silent Hill I live through the characters of the game. When I play an rpg my character lives through me. I create his story, his motives, his ego, super-ego, and id.
Letís ask this: when rpgs were created what did they allow that other forms of entertainment didnít? You could reread the LotR trilogy, Conan, etc only so many times, and there was a big group of dorks that didnít want to actually become warriors of legend (or werenít motivated enough to) and that couldnít become a powerful wizard in real life. Wargames set the foundation for what the mechanics of an rpg could be (since a lot of people wanted to try out there tactical might as generals but werenít actually generals). So, regardless of invented the first rpg game, it would of inevitably have been invented and provided the same exact thing: the ability to create that warrior or wizard and have your own adventures in that fantasy world instead of reading about them.
Across the large spectrum of pen and paper rpg offerings, from Fudge to Harn, whether you are a gamist, narrativist, or simulationist, from the first until now, there has been only one consistent: that consistent being that the characterís physical abilities are 100% independent of the playerís. Any game, regardless of medium, that has rpg in the title cannot have physical input from the player be a factor in any game outcome or that game ceases to be an rpg and becomes something else. You cannot play a role and be a role. Here is my proof:
The LAW of Noncontradiction:
As a second proof let me give these two examples.
Group A) is a group of people that dresses up in medieval attire and has mock battles with each other. One of the players, who plays the character Golthar, a powerful knight very skilled in the use of arms, is a wheelchair bound cripple. There combat is based on game rules on to-hit and strike mechanics, including some rolls of dice, etc, though it is played out in costume and real weapons are wielded.
Group B) this is a group of people that also dresses up in medieval attire and also engages in melee group combat. But this grup, like ARMA, really trains with swords. The speak in character and invent personas to play, but the outcome of combat is based on their personal martial skills, and not that of their characterís.
Does Group A)=Group B)? No. They are united in dorkiness but that is all. One group plays an rpg and the other group does not.
A new game comes out that allows people to create a character and play in a fantasy world. But all physical tests/conflict in the game are decided with the playerís skill and not the characterís skill. For ranged combat you have to knock a can off the desk, when you level up you move closer to the can, when you get a better weapon you upgrade from an elastic to a sling to wrist-rocket to a bb gun, etc. For melee combat you have to hit a cat with a toilet paper roll, when you level up and get better weapons you move to dogs with sticks, then cats with bats. To make a jump or climb a wall you have to make a jump or climb something. Etc. This might be fun, or funner than traditional dice rolling, etc, but what it isnít is an rpg.
What came first, the chicken or the egg? The egg that laid the first chicken, which was mothered by something chicken like but was not exactly a chicken. When something turns into something else, whether that something else is better or funner or whatever, it stops being what it once was. When things change they get a new name and stop being classified as what they used to be. Pluto was once considered to be a planet, but thanks to definitions and classification based on fact and criteria, in no longer is from the what evidence we have and what the definition of planet is. Homo Erectus and Homo Sapien is not the same thing. An actual, real rpg will never have the playerís physical skills impact their characterís. What goes up must comes down. E=MC^2. A body at rest remains at rest, and a body in motion continues to move in a straight line with a constant speed unless and until an external unbalanced force acts upon it. The rate of change of momentum of a body is directly proportional to the impressed force and takes place in the direction in which the force acts. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Boobs are good. Gay men like penis. Kung-fu is neat. And an rpg can only be an rpg. If it is something else it canít be an rpg. There is no such thing as an action rpg, there are action games with rpg elements.
Iím not saying that action games with rpg elements arenít better than stupid gay rpgs, Iím saying that they arenít rpgs. Thatís logical fact. They canít be to anyone who puts any stock in logic.
Iím sure action games with rpg elements are the future of the ďcrpgĒ genre (really yh action game with rpg element genre in reality), but they arenít, have never been, and never will be an rpg.
I challenge anyone to disprove my logic or my examples with actual logic and examples. You canít. You can ramble on about how awesome this is or how better or how its oppinon etc, but you canít disprove my proofs.
The avatar is not me. The avatar is an empty shell who I fill with life. Whereas Mario is filled pre-filled with a preset life, purpose, direction, and waits to share it with whoever picks up the controller.
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