2/25/14

"You're Playing It Wrong"

"You're Playing It Wrong"--I laugh every time I read this in a blog post (of course these comments are always in reference how someone else plays).

It is a dumbass myth. There is no "right way" to play handed down from on high. Perhaps the only wrong way to play is to play a game that makes one chronically unhappy (unless one wants to be chronically unhappy and, in that case, have at it).

We forget the "G" in RPG is "game...it is a game of make believe. There is no deeper meaning. No ontological reality present. No moral imperative laid on us. It is a game, pure and simple.

15 comments:

  1. It really is a game, and yet, I read some posts where the gamers get so unbelievably upset. Over a game.

    PS: My new Easy Bake Oven, ROCKS!

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    1. Well, gamers are people, too. Usually. Sometimes.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Too tired. Previous comment deleted due to just not being funny.

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  2. So I very much agree with the spirit of what you are saying. However it should be pointed out that in general, games are characterized by "rules", and that violating or flouting these rules counts as "playing the game wrong" (e.g. in basketball a player that fails to dribble the ball and shoots it at her own team's hoop is playing the game wrong).

    But to your point the rules that govern games are matters of convention. And the great thing about RPGs is that, from their very inception, the conventions that govern the game were not intended to be rigid, but rather to be flexible enough for GMs and groups to tweak them as they saw fit to suit their own play styles, thus allowing for a democratization of the rules of the game. So as long as players adhere to some (explicitly or implicitly) agreed upon structure then they are playing the game right, even if that structure would be utterly alien to a different group of role players.

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    1. Tad, my comments were specifically about RPGs. I do agree that within a group, there does need to be an agreed upon set of rules. My focus of the post is not the internal conversation within a group. It is about Person A observing Group B from afar and saying "You are playing it wrong."

      Usually, those comments are less about an interpretation of the rules and more about a judgment how they play.

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  3. Did some one write a post that kept you up all night? I think I know who it was. Just remember, he stay in the closet and makes noise, but only comes out to thrash around when no one else is around.

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    1. Actually, no. I think this has been bubbling up on a slow boil back to a series of posts on Grognardia in 2008 about what defines the OSR (the posts were just a bunch of navel-gazing drivel, but the comments were both laughable and infuriating...sort of stuck with me ever since, like a nagging cough). I haven't really read many blogs lately, so it is not a response to anything specific.

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  4. Yeah there are plenty of blogs and players out there who's entire raison d'ĂȘtre is based around the conceit that they know more than the rest of us and they have to instruct us on how to play.

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    1. It seems like there are other, more important things to get upset about--human trafficking, climate change, poverty, child abuse. A game where people play elves while rolling dice isn't really on that list.

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  5. It is possible to be having fun and still be playing wrong. That's if your fun is making it unfun for the other players.

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  6. What a boring world it would be if everyone agreed. I admire the passion brought out by personal opinions and the unshakeable belief in the rightness of that opinion. I would find no satisfaction in slaughtering someone cowering on the ground or debating someone too scared or without belief in themselves to say Hell, yes I'm right and your wrong.

    Instead I see people being silent most of the time or nobody agrees with them that all styles of play are the same and all games are as good as another. What, a complete load of crap. Some games just suck. Live with it, fight about it and enjoy the diversity.

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    1. That comment right there is one of the many reasons why I like Zavoda.

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    2. I enjoy (or mostly enjoy) discussion about gaming, including differences of opinions and approaches. I think my blog post from a few days ago was motivated less by incessant arguing (although I am not a fan) and more by people who dismiss whole groups of gamers, such as "4e gamers" or "old school gamers" or "story gamers." I don't have any desire to play D&D 4e, but I don't dismiss them as a group. It is obviously arrogance that fuels that sort of thing, but it is also ignorance. Have I actually played with all 4e gamers? No, I haven't, so I am not in a position to make any sort of statement about them. I can say that I don't want to play 4e but are all 4e gamers evil wrong-headed idiots? Probably not any better or worse than any other group of gamers out there.

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  7. I couldn't agree more.

    I like 4e. I like OSR games. I'm not fond of 3.x or Pathfinder?
    What does it matter, don't treat me like I killed your pet because of it.
    After all it's just a game, and we all have fun with Table Top gaming in different ways with different games.

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