2 thoughts on “Homer in Silicon”

  1. Monster’s Den really helped pass the work day away, yesterday, and the entire time playing it I kept your thoughts in mind. I wonder if I’m beginning to automatically fill in the blanks that games leave between their character interactions.

    In Diablo II, for instance, I played a Necromancer with a lot of minions. Understatement aside, I used one of the Act II mercenaries (due to the healing aura) and I was always kind of curious what kind of person it would take to fight alongside a horde of skeletons. While consistently being out-performed by them.

    I’d tend to imagine my character reminding him about the general safety of his well-being, considering he’d rarely ever die.

    Should we also be exploring ways to train gamers to think along these paths?

  2. Your article reminded me very strongly of Ursula K LeGuin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”.

    Also, I have semi-related experiences DMing a D&D game. The adventure genre is poor for developing relationships with NPCs because of the “always move forward never look back” format of the adventure. Even with the simple get-mission, return-for-reward structure, many times the players would find something mid-mission that captured their interest, so after killing the boss monster or whatever they were doing, they’d plow on ahead, forgoing NPC thanks and item rewards.

    And PCs in a high-fantasy world don’t like having to stay in one place, I’m here to tell you. :)

    The alternative, developing PC-to-PC relations, can be awkward for numerous reasons. Bickering between players may result. But if characters are role-played well, then such things get in the way of battle tactics, and people can die unnecessarily. Or the game can fall apart because the PCs — being very different in occupations (wizard, warrior, thief, etc.) — have very different motivations and desires springing from it. Consequently, the party can’t realistically stay together the moment that safety is reached.


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