thread: 2012-03-19 : If it isn't an RPG, is it still an RPG?

On 2012-03-19, Jay Loomis wrote:

The underlying question seems to me to be the normal design parameter of audience. It seems like the typical audience for indie-RPGs has been, since I became aware of the Forge a decade ago, to make games that fulfill the play preferences of people who were dissatisfied with what "traditional RPGs" were providing them. As a by-product, some new people enter the hobby while bypassing traditional games (these folks trickle in to the Seattle Story Games meetup now and again, for example). The core of the indie-RPG-playing population still seems to be people who either used to play traditional RPGs or who still play them but also play indie games.

Does addressing the resistant traditional gamer audience really advance the cause? These are people who are either genuinely getting everything they need from whatever game they claim to be a "real RPG", or fooling themselves about the dysfunction of their games but are bull-headed in the way that gamers seem to generally be. Your intention, Vincent, seems to be to make games that, regardless of what you call them, are likely to appeal to a broader audience than curent gamers (e.g. horror fans for M.G). So shouldn't the question really be about how to make those games and market to that audience?

Also, is the "yes, but it isn't an RPG" line ever anything but bullshit? You've put forth a pretty good and broadly applicable definition for what roleplaying games are. But the hard core of the resistence is willing to use any bogus measure to disprove something's RPGness. I have had people tell me that they "like a game's fictional premise", but that they won't play it because it isn't really an RPG because it uses a dice pool mechanic. So it seems like "that's not an RPG" really just translates to "I don't like that game (even though, more than likely, I haven't really given it a fair try)".


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