thread: 2012-02-11 : 3 Problems

On 2012-02-12, Ben Lehman wrote:


So, I'm not Vincent, but I've had a lot of conversations with him on this topic, so...

Oppressive Social Footprint is the demands a game makes on the time, space, and logistics of its players. Polaris is a game with a highly oppressive social footprint, for example, because it requires exactly four people, for 3-4 hours at a time, and the same group of four people every time you play. That's rough, in terms of adult lives and scheduling. Another example is a "campaign game" where we're expected to play 4-6 hours a week, every week, for 4-10 years. That's simply not reasonable to ask most people with lives, sleep schedules, and jobs, let alone children and spouses.

Opaque Content is content which is alienating to a large chunk of the world. For instance, fantasy is not particularly opaque content, but a game which requires you to read several hundred pages of setting material is opaque content. Dogs in the Vineyard's consistent pitching problem has to do with its opaque content. "Play religious fanatics oppressing people? No thanks!"

All of my negative examples here are not to say that the games are in any way bad. These are obstacles to the game, not condemnations of it. If you can get past the oppressive social footprint of Polaris, it's a lovely game. If you can get past the opaque content of Dogs, you realize a richness that you never would have guessed.



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