Monday, April 12, 2010

Torn in Two

Irony --- you know, I've consistently whined about quite a bit when it comes to generality, gamers, and developers. However, every once in a while, I'm granted the luxury of simply having a perceived absurdity in this little 'medium of failures'. Where Sleep is Death is concerned, I see an old argument (lame) being analyzed from a fundamental standpoint (fame), which leads the general thought back to a point of not having done anything worthwhile to begin with (shame).

Such an old argument can be grasped in posts like these, as Kieron Gillen tries to right the wrong that's been a consistent gripe among RPG players everywhere --- for a long time. They question what makes an RPG, they mockingly uphold arbitrary rulings that preceding methods of play are inherently better, and they lose all conceptions of what games are in lieu of academic utilitarian standards (which come mainly from those who have never played the game to begin with). The latter of those is composed of a misleading ideal which actually has nothing to do with games at all.

Yet if we DO look at Sleep is Death, we see a little new, a little old, and most importantly --- a chord not frequently struck with gamers, because they've proven that they don't like responsibility. I cannot exactly comment on the nature of things such as improv and the like (that's better left to the likes of Michael). However, I will slap my two cents down on the counter wherever my experiences with the game would benefit the perception of the medium in general. Where SiD is concerned:

  • My long-standing multiplayer ennui is lifted (not very high mind you, but any at all is substantial considering the title of this blog). I can count on one hand the number of people I'll openly play with. The rest is random "STAY-YOUR-ASS-BEHIND-THE-CURTAIN-BECAUSE-I-DON'T-WANT-TO-DEAL-WITH-YOU-OTHERWISE" standard I'm using through SiDTube.
  • Yes, gamers are moronically redefining their redefinitions of redefining the TRUEST AND REALIST definition of an RPG (if they were worth a damn, gamers could do it for every game to even veer near the genre), but the nature of an RPG has been questioned once again and I must acknowledge that.
  • I've always plucked the chord that gamers just might have too much control in the overall development of any game as it is and Sleep is Death has exacerbated that claim through the use of what I opened with --- irony. You give them them the toolset that is pretty much predicated on them having direct control over the type of fun their going to have and what happens? The 'html blows up' to say the least. Whether or not Roher is doing something exemplary here remains to be seen. What is known is that he has purposefully handed over the development tools to the player, and from what I've seen ---- only about 30% of them can handle that. The larger 60% of them can only realistically function as a player (and very few of them KNOW that) within the game and the final 10% is the mass of elitists and weirdos that Kieron was responding to in the post above.
The fact that such an old fight is even still going on is a good way for me to be even more smugly content that gamers are continually pegging themselves with the labels I gave them long ago.  I will say though, that games like Sleep is Death are inspiring to me for no other reason than they tell me that these hyper-communal focused gamers aren't a total lost cause.