thread: 2009-05-05 : Reconsidering Sim (the word)

On 2009-05-06, Jim Henley wrote:

Hi Steve. I think it's important to distinguish the Big Model itself from its surround. The surround has historically been enthused about a political project - using mechanics to "objectively" redistribute authority from gamemaster to table at large - that is an uncommon enthusiasm among roleplaying gamers broadly considered. And those same people have been disproportionately drawn to and influential on the elaboration of TBM to date. They're people who needed to be able to articulate the kind of gaming they wanted to do and TBM gave them a way to do that. (Most of the resulting games aren't my thing, but they make the people who like them happy.)

But the overall structure of TBM - social context undergirded by creative and technical agendas supported (or thwarted) by clusters of mechanics and instantiated in real interactions around the table (even if one insists on calling them ephemera) seems largely sound, and largely productive. There's nothing in that schema that inherently limits it to justifying the ways of mechanically mediated credibility contests. TBM in itself does not say that once you've labeled something "GM fiat" that you've ended a discussion. TBM doesn't say there's no such thing as immersion so shut up and play Capes. TBM is an idea that has achieved a certain expression to this point in time, is all.

Not only can the Model develop in new directions under the influence of new people who take it up, I think it will develop in new directions under the influence of "the same old people" because the same old people aren't the same - the same gamer/designer's interests will often change over time, cause gamers and designers are people. Hence the number of "story gamers" who have gotten excited about Jeepform in the last year.

Um, Vincent, feel free to escalate to gunfire if I'm dragging things off-topic. I see the above as relevant to your current set of threads, which seem to me very much in service of extending The Big Model to cover subjects it hadn't quite gotten to yet. But I'm probably skating toward turning this thread into one more "GNS: Threat or Menace?" debate.


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