thread: 2008-09-29 : Creative Tension

On 2008-10-09, Callan wrote:

"So now you're talking about someone who would accept this particular result, but out of habit, they don't?"
That's a good question. Made me draft a paragraph then delete it, in thinking about it! :)

I think most people can control whether they accept a result or not, in the moment the result happens. But if they are in a habit, they lose alot of this control. It's like smoking - I don't smoke, so if someone offered me a smoke, I have alot of control in whether I accept it. However, if I had a smoking habit, I'd have alot less control over whether I accept the cigarette. Someone with a result rejection habit has little control over whether they accept a rules result.

"That is, this particular result is just fine, but the player's so used to disliking the way a rule works out"
It could be in relation to just one particular rule. But I'm suggesting it tends to spread - once someone is in the habit of rejecting the result of a certain rule, all rules results tend to start facing this rejection. Usually stated with "Well, if the rules get in the way of the fun/drama/story, we get rid of 'em! Hurrah!"

And that takes us to the reinforcement. Because if getting rid of rules/their results leaves you with fun, and the game is supposed to be fun, then it's stated dropping rules is part of the game. Usually it's stated as "The GM can change whatever rules he wants!!11!!" or suchlike.

It's a really strong reward loop - the game is supposed to be some kind of fun, the group presumes. A rules result makes something yucky happen. Rejecting it would mean whatever fun is happening, continues uninterupted. Therefore, the group infers, rejecting the rule is part of the game (to not do so would mean less fun, and the game is all about the fun, so therefore...). And oh, here's the golden rule to support that notion.

The thing is, if the author of the game designed it to produce some yucky results in order to challenge players to morally deal with that (or in gamism, to step up on against it), the group doesn't. They all say they've played this morally challenging game, when really they castrated it. It's like people who go overseas, then spend all their time drinking in the hotel pool...okay, I'm venting in saying that, even though it's a valid comparison.

Does that help with the last paragraph?


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