Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Game Impressions

As there's only so many games I can play on a weekly basis around all of my other hobbies, my social life, and my job and because there's so much extra other videogames can teach us I thought I'd like to add to the Game Translations style of articles.  Game Impressions will do things a little differently than Game Translations as it will focus on breaking down the first hour of gameplay to pick out how the game designers created the sort of atmosphere they were after and cued the players into the sort of game they should expect.  It'll also give you a number of scenarios and bare bones elements that you could always plug into your own game sessions and adventures.

Therefore some Wednesdays will have a Game Translation article and others will have Game Impressions article.  There won't be a set alternating schedule or anything like that as it'll depend on my interests and current experiences.  Odds are you'll be getting a few more Game Impressions and a few less Game Translation ones for awhile simply because I have translated most of my favourite games already but have yet to analyse the first hour of them yet.
I can hear some of you asking: "How will this help us run, or understand, good games?  We're roleplayers.  Our games work differently."

Absolutely they do.  A videogame *isn't* the same thing as a roleplaying game but there's a lot it can teach us as it's more experiential than movies and has to accept player diversions into it's pacing.  The other benefit of it, as opposed to actual plays, is that it's far easier for you to go out there and experience what I've experienced.  You can always purchase the game, take a look at the first hour of gameplay, and see what I mean.  While I can analyse my own game sessions, it's exceedingly difficult to encapsulate the experience so we might not be on the same wave-length.

On a slight tangent, another great source for roleplaying includes How To Write novels as they can help Storytellers with plotting, descriptions and characterisation.  Especially characterisation.  Very few roleplaying game books really delve into how to develop deep and meaningful interactions with complex characters.  Sure, you can't script dialogue like you can in a novel (at least, not very well) but you can get some pretty good advice.  Every so often I'll do articles on these as well but you're really better off picking up a few books yourself.

Of course, movies, books, and television series also help fantastically with pacing and big ideas but I've personally found it easier to analyse videogames in terms of how certain aspects can port into roleplaying games so I'll keep with it.

I'll list out the various Game Impressions here as I write them.

Cold Fear.
Fall Out 3: New Vegas.

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