Thursday, 27 October 2011

when are you role playing? and when are you just being you?

The pervasive game genre, is an interesting paradox for me and one I have been wrestling with for the last year or so. What I am struggling with it the idea of role play and being yourself.

For me I really got interested in pervasive games because in my mind you did not 'play a character' you were just yourself within the rules of the game given to you. But the more and more I get involved in this there are as ever more shades of grey than there is grey shades. So is there a difference? are there pervasive games that you can be yourself in? and are there games that you have to be a character, and are both of these pervasive games?

So lets go through it and see why I have been thinking about this recently.

Last summer myself and Allie were lucky enough to get to London for the groundbreaking game Conspiracy for Good The game was created by Tim Kring of Heroes fame. The game itself was huge encompassing four weekends around London town. NOKIA sponsored the game and so there was a load of technology involved in the game. For such a big game I was a bit disappointed by it, but I think now a year or so later, I am wondering if it was because I was given a 'fake' character name with certain character traits. So in essence we were asked to roleplay a character. During the game I think there was always an element of detachment, and I wonder now if it was because of the role play element.

In contrast something like 2.8 hours later where you are merely yourself and are asked to interact with the world as yourself feels real and immersive. I am still not sure. Yet it seems like it maybe a mix of both. i.e. the game itself needs to be something you get into so then maybe roleplay doesn't matter? and you have to believe in the story.

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