I just came across Mendel Schmiedekamp’s blog, RPG Theory Review, dedicated to the discussion and exploration of rpg theory. It’s full of mentally chewy goodness about rpgs, theory, game design and more. Unfortunately he’s been on hiatus a while and is just this year bringing the site back to life with a new focus on long cycle developments rather than transient ripples in gaming issues. Not much activity there yet. but if you have an interest in what’s under the hood in good gaming, I encourage you to go take and look and participate if you’d like.
I’m also on the prowl for other sophisticated game theory and design sites, as opposed to the topical and abundant fan-chat natterings that go on everywhere. Late in 2009 I plan to run an immersive online “storygame” (thanks to Mark Keavney for the term) based on one of my works in progress. This will include interactive game play for story readers as well – which is to say, this is a story that you not only read, but that you participate in as you read. And what you learn and experience as you go through the story is influenced by your interaction choices along the way.
This brings me close to the exciting realm of ARG: alternate reality gaming, as it’s called, and apparently people are even writing white papers on it now. We have the tech platforms now to make this a really fun and unusual way to experience story and adventure. I’m looking forward to my experiment. I’ll be posting more about that in the months to come.
For now though, I just want to put a shout out: do you know of other RPG or game design theory sites worth reading? What do you think? I’m already a low-level member over at IGDA, and have some regular haunts in the blogosphere, but the place is so damn large, ya know…
Suggestions welcome. Please post about them in the comments.
1. Check out Mark’s City of If site. It’s a great read. (You can also find some content there by me; I wrote the first third of “The Archer’s Quest” for him.) His definition of storygaming is that the readers make decisions about how the major plot points of a story go, and the story is then taken in that direction by the narrator. It is a (far) more interactive version of the old “choose your own path” D&D adventure books.
My use of the term, though, is somewhat different: I am using it to describe something that reads like a story but feels like a game, with an as-yet-to-be-determined degree of reader influence on outcomes. But more about that in the future.