Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Right Gaming Theory

A lot of people gripe about G/N/S theory (for those of you that don’t know, G/N/S stands for Gamerist, Narrationist, and Simulationalist), and I can partly understand that. I’ve read the original G/N/S essay and the accompanying 124 vital tie-ins that the Forge people said I had to read to get it, but after discussing it with Professor Curtis, I now feel it is a little too elementary for my tastes. Professor Curtis, when he isn’t busy these days working through Philosophy 102 (I guess that’s why he’s the prof and not me, huh?) has a different classification theory for games that I feel works a bit better:

Correctism: Playing the correct games correctly; i.e. exploring deep social and moral themes, self-publishing games, ensuring said games are profound enough. Games in this category: Professor Curtis’ games (inclusive), occasional Forge games.

Pseudo-Correctism: Playing games that are almost correct, but feature some form of combat or don’t explore social themes and issues deeply enough or sacrifice profundity for entertainment. Games in this category: Capes, The Shadow of Yesterday.

Wrongist: Playing games that are the correct games incorrectly. Examples: having fun killing people in Dogs in the Vineyard, playing or translating Nobilis in plain English.

Bankruptism: Playing games that lead to emotional and/or mental bankruptcy, or discourage people from enjoying more artistically important RPGs. Examples: Anything from Wizards of the Coast, Palladium, Steve Jackson Games, White Wolf (except Exalted, of course), and Hackmaster (which I hate to even be associated with by typing its name out).

Now, any game you play can be defined in those terms, and if you can’t do so, you’re likely doing something wrong.


Blogger Dr-Rotwang said...

Heh heh heh.


10:23 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

As for Exalted, since all the good parts are written by Dr. Rebecca "Mindblowing Genius" Borgstrom (and ignored by the drooling masses who don't understand Shaping Combat), does that make it Pseudo-Correctionist? I think the non-Borgstrom parts of the game are totally Bankruptist or maybe, in the hands of players who are actually worth a damn, Wrongist.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Curly said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Curly said...

I have just returned from a
deep tissue re-indoctrination
by Prof. Kory Curtis
and thus deleted my previous,
wrongist, post...
which was in bankrupt
violation of the Kory Curtis

5:40 PM  
Blogger Cornell Richardson said...

Welcome, curly! I see you've found a link to the time in Professor Curtis' life where he worked as a masseuse. Unfortunately, a majority of the massage industry did not care for his revolutionary, avant-garde massage theories (using margarine instead of oil for backrubs was likely the final straw), and moved on to bigger and better things, such a pursuing a major in Philosophy.

So while that page might be an excellent starting point for any massage/RPG hybrids you wish to put together, the Professor cautions not to use it for all-encompassing gaming theory.

johnathan: Clearly, Exalted is a deep-refined game about the choices you make with power that has nothing to do with anime. A little too entertaining, perhaps to be completely Correctionist (though the social mechanics do their best), but still not a completely irrelevant game, Wrongist/Pseudo-Correctionist as it may be (depending on the relative intellectualism of your player).

10:41 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

Agreed, I was delighted to see that the second edition inclusions of Motivations, Intimacies, and the associated Social Combat rules show that those die-hard Wrongists at White Wolf have begun to realize the True Truth of Correctionism. Now, if they would only ditch the hack-and-slash for something truly artistic, such as competative crying...

2:11 PM  
Blogger Cornell Richardson said...

Give them time, my friend, give them time. You must understand that many of the people at White Wolf are very busy writing poetry containing lines like "the impenetrable nothingness that becomes my soul", cutting themselves, putting dots at artistically prfound points in their names, and watching The Crow yet again. I am certain that as they find the time, they will find their way to make all their games Correctionist in nature.

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