2019-10-10 Non-adventure games?

Yesterday, @hardcorenarrativist asked about traditional games with some sort of referee that “aren’t about adventuring and/or investigation.”

An interesting question! I was reminded about the old blog post about the name Adventure Game and Heroic Scenes, and of course Patrick Stuart’s musings on his blog False Machine in Fewmets, (& UK OSR Meeting Report):

Adventure is a better word than story. It contains within it a necessary, and rather complex, duality which is easy to understand once experienced but difficult to explain.

Anyway, @invisivel got involved in the discussion on Mastodon that drew me into the conversation.

The first thought to come to mind: “Golden Golden Sky Stories is a heartwarming, non-violent role-playing game from Japan, by Ryo Kamiya. ... players take on the role of ... animals that have just a little bit of magical power, including the ability to temporarily take on human form. ... each kind has their own special magical powers. Players will then attempt to solve problems around a small enchanted town with ingenuity, co-operation and friendship.”

Then I wondered: what about travel? “Ryuutama … by designer Atsuhiro Okada … is set in a world where the “NPCs” of the village--the bakers, farmers, shopkeepers and healers--set off on a wonderful adventure exploring a fantasy world together. Some people colloquially call it “Hayao Miyazaki’s Oregon Trail”, because of its heartwarming (in Japanese “honobono”) feel of family anime, and its focus on traveling and wonder over combat and treasure.”

Then I remembered my own “game” which I didn’t even play once, it’s more of a thought experiment. “This is a game about finding strength in numbers: friends, family,lovers, children.” It’s called Best Friends. I wrote it in response to a blog post by Brian Murphy on his blog Trollsmyth, Romantic Fantasy and the Heroine's Journey. I also wrote a blog post about it, Romantic Fantasy.

I guess I was trying to go for a Suikoden kind of experience. A ton of friends and allies waiting for you in your base camp. Meeting more and more people, helping them out, befriending them. I’m not sure this really works without opposition, though. I guess it’s an adventure game after all.

I still like the idea, though. All it needs is another 99 cool ideas for stuff to happen on a castle. If you’d like to contribute any, I’d love to hear it! 😀

Anway, my thoughts turned to the meaning of adventure. If it is indeed about the adversity regarding a venture, an undertaking, then a non-adventure would be what? You don’t try to do anything? No venture? Or there is no opposition? But then, do you automatically succeed? A game about zen meditation?

Does player vs. player count? Or it could be boring stuff, like work. Or mindless games, where all you care is doing anything like rolling a die and moving a piece, an old-school board game.

I’m reminded of idle games on IRC.

Or it could be about making something beautiful, collaboratively?

I think what I’m getting at is that no opposition basically takes you out of all the usual story structures. And that’s for a reason: we don’t recount the hours of boring work, the hours of painting, the hours of singing in the choir. It’s stuff we do, but it’s not stuff we talk about. If you want to go down this road you’re signing up for a very difficult task indeed.

Continued here: 2019-10-11 Designing games for emotional impact.



GM-less story games: «Traditional tabletop RPGs are, in general, about adventure and/or investigation, and thus severely limited as a storytelling medium. In contrast, GM-less games make it much, much easier to explore different kinds of stories.»

– Alex Schroeder 2019-11-24 08:36 UTC

Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Note: in order to facilitate peer review and fight vandalism, we will store your IP number for a number of days. See Privacy Policy for more information. See Info for text formatting rules. You can edit the comment page if you need to fix typos. You can subscribe to new comments by email without leaving a comment.

To save this page you must answer this question:

Please say HELLO.