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

On 2009-05-06, Josh W wrote:

I would like to bring into the open that approach that keeps hiding under "sim", along with "right to dream", so lets see if I can:

It is a stance to the SIS which is "consistency is paramount", or "imaginary facts". In other words through memory or actual writing down, the SIS has a history that cannot be chucked out (although it can be cleverly retconned), it has a cannon. And what is more, those events are present now. They may not totally determine events, but they still appear.
Now why is this important, and how far does it go?

To look at an example where it failed you only have to look at Heroes third season; collaborative story telling in the writers room, with people with a strong idea of how the scene should go, so because of the needs of "drama" characters behave totally out of character, with no perceptible internal cause. It's all nonsense until you step back and go "Oh, they are inserting a premade "cool scene" into the flow of events, and so breaking all their conventional rules." Now Sylar can show up just because he's "a baddy", not because he has transport powers, but when encountering the mythic power of closets, he can't do anything.

I have a visceral dislike of this kind of magical thinking, especially around children, because in my family we know of a child who learned from watching horror movies that the best thing to do when scared was to arm yourself with a kitchen knife, because she had been taught a causal relation between kitchen knives and the resolution of scary situations. Fortunately that got sorted out, but just cause you ignore causality, doesn't mean a warped one won't appear, and you don't have to be a child to see it's potential for application.

So firstly you can see the educative value of such a focus on history, it seems like a subcultural rebellion against deux ex convention, focusing on Leibniz style "sufficient reason" over myth-style "thematic rhyming". It's also treating the made up stuff with enough respect to let it have it's own history, like when writers "cannot" get their character to do certain things.

Another value for it is pure and simple imagination stretching: You can't imagine a situation like that? Well you'll have to get used to it, because it's happening now. It's expanding your idea of unintended consequence, as well as discouraging close-minded approaches.

Now you could see those two goals in a bit of a fight; sensible cause patterns vs imagination stretching. But providing the play produces the latter from the first, then it's doing something of value.

Now is that some new creative agenda? Is it part of right to dream? But regardless, it's a why, and one among many. Others are:

I want that achievement to stay achieved!

I want to forget about the outside world and loose myself in a different set of causes and things.

I want to build a statement about something, and that means the different parts of it have to stay there.


You can do narrativism without any shared history, you just vote on what happens! And everyone decides for themselves why that happens. You can do conflict without it, purely based on disconnected rounds of using the mechanics. So what does it add as you push more of this history into the now of the game?

What do you reckon, have I grabbed it?


This makes...
short response
optional explanation (be brief!):

if you're human, not a spambot, type "human":