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Old 08-31-2007, 01:09 PM   #1
Newworlds
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The Book and the Movie

I've often been asked by new players who join NW. "What is the reason for the popularity of roleplay and text? I'm graphix buff and don't understand it."

Usually after a few days and sometimes weeks, the new player is then astounded by the addiction to this (for them) new fangled text game. I have found the answer in reflecting on the difference between reading a book and watching a movie. While a movie grants you far more visual effect and exact placement for understanding the style of the story, but those same enhancements tend to suppress imagination.

When you read a book, You decide what you will find relevant or not. You decide what images to conjure up and create for scenery, characters, and objects in conjunction with the descriptive narrative. If you watch a movie based on a book, many times the movie falls short of delivery for these same reasons.
I have wondered if anyone else has noted this similarity and why text games have a popularity among imaginative people?
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:11 PM   #2
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Re: The Book and the Movie

I couldn't agree more, though I can't speak for others.

I've been a long time face-to-face roleplayer, starting with D&D back in 1977, and since then using many systems, many home-grown, others like Champions, Rolemaster, Amber Diceless (which I'd have to say is close to a favorite), and others, like World of Darkness and GURPS.

I never liked single-player RPGs, and MMOGs, while I thought they might be the way to take my RPing online, were miserable failures.

After the demise of Wish (during beta-testing no less), which I thought had a chance to have at least elements of RP, I was pointed to MUDs. However, I had to say I chafed at them too. The PvE grind that the one I played for 3 months had was completely uninteresting to me. The RP seemed... stilted and constrained, seemingly spoon fed as game content or related to PvP.

That's when I found MUSHes, and I haven't looked back. In most, you RP, pure and simple, at least in the ones I play. No XP grind, no "bashing" against stupid AI NPCs. If you fight an NPC, it'scontrolle d by another player. You don't want to fight, you don't. The ones I like have time-based advancement (kind of like Eve, if you play that MMOG).

And to me it's the freedom of saying exactly what I'm doing. Fighting how I say I'm fighting (my MUSHes are all free-form, usually consent-based). Some call it "interactive fiction" to draw the distinction between that and more standard hack-and-slash play.

Maybe someday they'll have computer systems that could take what I'm doing and turn it into video (remember the holodecks of ST-TNG?), but I'm not sure I'd like that, even. I'm not into LARPing, and like the 3-5 minutes I get to think of a response for my character.
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: The Book and the Movie

I love graphical games, but they NEVER offer me the depth of gameplay and character interaction that text games do. The thing I love most about graphical games is that the interface is usually easier to deal with, and it's nice to look at. The thing that I hate about graphical games is what continually drives me to look for a text game to call home again. (I've been adrift for 7 years!)

If I'm going to be playing anything that involves other people, I want communication to be easy. Switching back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard in order to communicate with my fellow gamers is something I found HORRIBLY painful in graphical games. There's absolutely no chance at immersion, for me, because I'm flying back and forth between keyboard and mouse. Plus, with text games, you can easily chat while in combat because your attack commands and your chat commands are already interacting. Not true of graphical games. If you hit enter to open a chat box, you cannot use your keyboard to move until you're out of that chat box. That usually results in your character screaming, "wwwwaaaaaaasssssssssssdddddddddd" or "Hesl[p! Helas now! wwwas" as you're trying not to die to something. Painful. Thus, the new way of dealing with this on graphical games is to go to voice chat. That completely destroys any attempt at immersion for me. With the addition of voice chat, also, you're going to get no RP. Most of us aren't actors, and going between text and voice just gets flat out confusing.

Last but not least, I love to emote (posing). I love reading other people's emotes and reacting to them. I love RP. Trying to RP in a graphical MMO is just painful for me. First of all, your character RARELY does what you're emoting. You type: "/em hug Brody", and your character stands there like a lump. If your character does manage to lift its arms, chances are that Brody is way across the screen, and your character has an armful of background pixels. You also end up spending a lot of time trying to get your characters positioned just right, and that's no FUN.

So, for me, playing an MMO can be relaxing, but I don't play it for more than the leveling aspects of the game. It's kinda like Super Mario Bros with extra people for me. I like the game play, and I like the strategy. It doesn't spark my creativity, and it never really tells a story for me. I especially detest the new trend where you do 23429734928742987 quests to level. By "quests", I mean "Please gather 18 horse hooves for me and return. Oh, you're back? Please gather 17 bull nuts for me and return. Oh, you're back? Okay, now go out to the same place you've already been twice and gather 9 porcupine noses for me. Don't ask me why you couldn't get them all at the same time. I'm the one giving you the quest. Now, be off! Oh! You're back. Thanks, now take these three things, go to the Fall of Frustration and mix it all into a brew using these 8 quest items that I'm giving you to take up space in your backpack. Come back when you're done. Oh, you're done? Please travel across the world by taking the boat, riding 18 horses, hopping on dragonback, and flying to the 15th cloud in the right. Give it to the random guy you see standing there, and he might give you something to bring back to me...." I do NOT call that a well-written quest. BLECH.

So, anyway, back to the question: Is there a correlation between graphical MMOs and text games to movies and books? I definitely think so. The graphical games just can't get the depth that text games have regardless of how hard the players try. The support and the interface simply isn't there. Text games are much more like a book. The characters interact in more meaningful ways. Your surroundings can support much more than simple pixel interaction with a mouse. Text games, though, also move slower, in my opinion, much like a book does to a movie. There's probably more examples than what I can think of right off the top of my head.
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:08 AM   #4
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Re: The Book and the Movie

Heluva long post, but good reading, Mina. You must have played alot of online graphic games in the past few years. I stopped after Meridian 59 and Ultima Online when it became obvious that they were flooded with kiddies with zero roleplay talent (not saying that RP is the only thing people look for, it is just my preference).

I have a further question though of those that have read this post. Do you read books or go to movies more? And which do you prefer?
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:36 AM   #5
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Re: The Book and the Movie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post

I have a further question though of those that have read this post. Do you read books or go to movies more? And which do you prefer?
Wow. It is not even close. I read 40-50 books per year, and maybe go see 3-4 movies per year.

If you count movies watched at home (yay Netflix) then I *might* watch more movies (probably still unlikely, but it brings things closer with maybe 30 or 40 movies per year). But that is simply because it only takes 90-120 minutes to watch a movie.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:34 AM   #6
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Re: The Book and the Movie

This is a fantastic topic, if for no other reason than I got a random hug from Mina. But all the thoughts here seem to be right on target. I work on a graphical MMO. I've really enjoyed the fun aspects of World of Warcraft. I'm even on a WoW RP server. But it's nothing at all like the immersive experience of a text-based RP game.

I'm with those who've talked about the joy of inventing in my mind the visuals that would normally be hammered into place for me in an MMO. Nothing against the artists I work with, it's really just the creative control freak in me.
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