Saturday, February 27, 2016

Clan of the IF

I write this on the night that I forego a visit to my gaming room (in that I mean a video gaming room) and simply sit and wait for posts to come into my play by post games. 

Fascinating how I forego a lush, nearly real world, for the world of the word- simply the word. In many ways play by post gaming is like dating- waiting for your life to be saved by the announcement of a text.

(Now I am not sure how many of you have dated in those times outside text, or the times that you had to hit a button four a five times before reaching your letter, but I can tell you it was a chore, and a chore not meant for the arthritic or the easily confused.)
But yes, I am drawn to my PbP (play by post) games a bit (far more) than the craving I feel for the first person Fallout or a bit of the Sword Coast Legends.

Why is that? Are we not built for the more civilized stimulus of a reality utterly steeped in completion- where all is provided for our senses? Or is it rude to theorize that a RP gamer’s mind (so contrary to neo-social darwinism) may well be attuned more to the artistic imagination of the cave painters of Chauvet.

Is that it? Is that what we are trying to recreate at the tabletop, at the online message board- waiting for the next word, the next description, the next horse-head?

Maybe we are not gamers, maybe we are storytellers in desperate need of a far stranger and (contemporarily) defined medium. Are gamers the lost story-tellers in the cave? The Norse-man of the mead hall? The post-ers in need of a non-existing medium.

For we, as role-players, are nothing but the teller of stories that we WISHED had happened. That is the key.

As a serious gamer and a veteran role-player, I can say that modern ‘video’ gaming (I place the quotes there because I believe that modern ‘video’ gaming has far exceeded the bounds of that title) is the genie that gives us all our wishes, while role-playing, collaborative story-telling, in all its mediums; are what we would do IF we had a lamp.

No judgements aside, in summary, I say when you play how much IF is given to you.

I can say this, there must have been a tremendous amount of IF in those paintings, in those mead-hall stories. Must have been a lot when you stare into that flame, into those dice.

Go ahead try me, the next time you play, the next time you shut off this damned reality and turn on a world that is not yours nor should be, how much IF is yours?