Saturday, November 07, 2009

Using the best format

When I want to learn history, I read a good book about it, I don't play a game. When I want a good story, I don't play a game, I read a novel (or watch a movie, though the stories are more shallow, less detailed, than in novels--but they take less effort). When I want an interactive and interesting conflict to resolve, I play a game.

If I want an interactive story--but I don't--then the best place might be a video game, though I would do a tabletop RPG first in that case. If I want to "make my own stories", quite a different thing than being fed through an interactive story, then I play a tabletop game.

If you want the best experiences of each type, you choose the best format.

I do the same with computer software: I don't try to do columns of numbers in a word processor (though it can be done), I use a spreadsheet program. I don't try to draw diagrams with a spreadsheet (though I can), or even with Powerpoint, I use a drawing or diagramming program. If I want to play a video game, I'm not going to find it in that drawing program. And so on.

But there are lots of people who play a game to learn history, because they don't want to read a book. And there are people who play games for stories, usually because they want to have something to do during the story. Just as there are people who make drawings with Powerpoint.

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