Worst Game Concept, or Best Ever? Hmm…
I am just going to throw this one out there and see if anyone takes a nibble off of this idea.
I like settings that encourage the role playing of difficult and somewhat uncomfortable situations. What if there was a game where you played social outcasts?
If your reaction was “Umm, you know that we’re gamers right?” please allow me to explain in more detail.
I am talking about real social outcasts. People who have committed a major taboo in the eyes of our culture. Social outcasts like:
- porn stars (no, they are not prostitutes)
- heroin addicts
- former convicted felons
- and other such members of our society.
Now I do not consider such people to be evil, nor do I think that what they are lesser beings in any way. I am saying that our society treats such people as being evil, and there are those who will treat such people as if they were lesser beings.
What if there was an RPG that let you get into the head of someone who had to deal with that kind of burden? What if you could role play the pressures that a person who has not “done as they were told” must face?
And what if it was not a tragedy? Or at least not always a tragedy?
I have no idea what form such a game would take, but you can bet that I would try it!
What do you think? Good concept? Bad concept? Leave a comment below and share your opinion with the world!
I would have to say it falls somewhere in the middle between best and worst.
Games are great vehicles to explore things like this – dark paths and extreme situations. The key to whether it is a good idea or not hinges on your group and your social contract. I know of several people I would leap at a chance to play a game like this with and I can also think of a number I wouldn’t consider it at all.
Carefully planning hte tone of the game would be essential. I would explicitly state it up front. I don’t want to have one player playing it dark and gritty and another playing it like a scene from Felix the Cat.
@shaneknysh: You make some great points, but that to me is combining two different issues. There are great games that cannot be enjoyed with certain people. Trivial Pursuit is fun when it is about hanging out with your friends, but I hate playing it with people who think that it is about proving how smart you are. The designers themselves have made it clear that the game is about nostalgia, not intelligence.
So can this game be a great game in terms of rules and objectives? Steal Away Jordan is a great RPG that recreates the setting of being property in the institution of slavery very well. I would not play it with certain people, but that does not take away from the game itself. I would not watch Citizen Kane with certain people, but that does not take away from the film itself.
I just feel that too often people merge the gaming charter (I hate misusing the term social contract as the Forge has done) issues with the game itself. They are not that cohesive.
Steal Away Jordan was exactly the game I was thinking about! Still one of my biggest gaming regrets is passing up a chance to play it with the author!
I agree entirely – although I avoid the Forge so I am likely misusing the social contract in the same way they are.
I picked up a copy of, “Don’t Rest Your Head” not to long ago and it only deals with tough situations. You must purposefully make a character that is a part of something or is experiencing something terrible and the game is to more or less explore that and survive it.
Of course there are other aspects of the game, but at it’s core it asks you to cross a line and stay there.
I always wonder what a game that was serious that had these elements would be like. Part of me thinks it could make for one of the most sincere gaming session imaginable. Another wonders if I’m mature enough to handle it.
To me it isn’t that the concept or material is too much, but instead its all of the questions relating to how you would make it work. The right group of people, the right atmosphere at the table, etc.
@Ryan Latta: DRYH is a great game, and I think that you hit upon a lot of good points just like Shane does. So this game is technically feasible, but would suffer for being very aimed at a very focused niche of the RPG community. That is not a bad thing, but it is something that must be accounted for.