New Poll Game?

Would you like another poll game? Provided I can keep it going this time?
Yes please – ’45 Psychobilly Retropocalypse.
Yes please – Agents of SWING
Yes please – Setting Sun
Yes please – @ctiv8
Yes please – Invaderz
Yes please – Urban Faerie
Yes please – Bloodsucker: The Angst
No thankyou.
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Poll Game: Zombie – Overdue conclusion

At the tunnel mouth the soldier sits behind the barricade. It’s been a while since they’ve had any orders but they’re supposed to stop any of the dead coming out, even though they’ve already escaped the city. Out of the dark comes a stumbling shape… a young man, a boy really, dragging his foot, pale as death, with more of the dead following in his wake.

The soldier, little more than a cadet, lines up his shot carefully and squeezes the trigger, just as he sees a flash of sanity, of humanity in the lead dead’s eyes. The corpse falls and the rest of the dead fall upon it, tearing it to pieces… it wasn’t one of them… they were alive. A single tear tracks down the soldier’s cheek as he lines up the rest of his shots, picking off the feeding dead one after another – if only to make him feel better…

The End

The End of the World as we Know it

I have a sort of hate/love/hate relationship with Gareth Skarka. Like me he’s an angry, angry bastard sometimes and can be abraisive. At the same time we have a lot of similar ideas even if we’re at loggerheads over things like the abuse of the English language to placate imaginary extremist feminists, the fact that I got permission to do a Neverwhere game or that he beat me to the punch with New Crobuzon. He’s also a little too enamoured of transmedia buzzwords for my liking but still, I think we’re quite similar creatively which is why we seem to butt heads quite so often.

Recently though he bemoaned the negativity of the tabletop gaming population, while almost simultaneously being massively negative about tabletop gaming. Now, there’s some valid points in amongst the blatant hypocrisy but I choose to take a different view. Roleplaying as we know it isn’t disappearing, it’s changing. Roleplaying is thriving, there are more and more roleplaying elements in computer games, console games. Go to any youth forum on Myspace, Gaia, Facebook or whatever and there’s tons of undirected roleplaying going on, forum games where people play out their own Twilight scenarios, pretend to be celebrities or all sorts of other possibilities. We haven’t lost, we’ve won.

Sure, this presents problems for traditional tabletop RPGs in that our unique appeal has been drawn away and co-opted by other media but we still have our unique appeal. In-person cooperative activity – event gaming – infinite variety, imagination, great value for money. The trick is in adapting to the new landscape and creating games that have successful strategies for coping with the new order of things. Games that can be played online more casually, in forums, or play-by-post more easily. Games with systems designed to be played over chat programs – which have their own unique issues to face. Boardgames are having a massive revival, so why not tap into that a bit by making games more visceral, physical, with props etc? Not going so far as WHFRP 3rd perhaps, which seems to have jumped the shark on that score, perhaps not even as far as D&D 4th, but with cards, chips, props, you can engage people more.

Gamers aren’t unique in being negative, vociferous bastards. Just look at the operating system arguments, Xbox Vs Playstation and both Vs Wii. Ask some console gamers which FPS is the best or a console RPGer what they think of final fantasy. Spend thirty seconds on Blizzard’s forums after a patch. If there’s a problem here it’s that we’re doomsayers over ourselves, putting ourselves down all the time.

My strategy?

  • I’m going to continue to look for opportunities to get involved in and improve products like Dragon’s Quest,
  • I’m going to explore creating games that are tailored to the audiences and new ways to game.
  • I’m going to explore peripheral products and event releases, collector’s editions and so on. This will likely be particularly true of Setting Sun.

Tabletop gaming isn’t obsolete, it – and the creators of tabletop RPGs have a lot of great IP and expertise to bring to bear in social media gaming, computer gaming and MMORPGs, something those arenas really should tap into more.