Cast : Rob, Mike, Art, and Darryl
Topics : E-Mails, Story Game Criticisms, and movies.
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Music : All music used with permission of Ghoultown

Why I don’t like your “story game”

14 Responses to “Episode 165: Story Game Criticisms”


June 13th, 2011 - 11:57 am

Yey, Art, the gay robot made a return. Good to hear him alive and not tired.
Yey, for finally seeing Thor and Yays for having your negative expectations crushed.
And Yay for reading out my emails. I love you guys!


June 13th, 2011 - 3:18 pm

>art and darryl in the same episode
oh lawd this promises to be awesome


June 13th, 2011 - 5:31 pm

can’t wait too hear arts opinion of MLP
and as a matter of fact, with some tweaks it’s totally viable to run a game based on the series, theres a lot of mythological creature stuff, it’s just in the show for the most part problems are solved peacefully…

Chris Parker

June 13th, 2011 - 4:09 pm

Okay, I’m probably doing a bad thing stopping the episode right now to raise this point, but its on my mind, and I want to lay it down fresh.
I think your call about the  immersion issue is bullshit. It may just be that I’m a younger generation here, and I’m coming out of video games, and into the tabletop, but, looking at a dictionary definition here, how are you not immersed (plunged or sunk in or as if in a liquid) less when you step back, and look at things from a third-party, creator kind of view. If you are an omnipotent god creating a world, are you not less immersed than an observer you place in that world?

I feel immersed when reading, or when playing video games, when I can see myself there, or at least hitch a ride with a character too that world. To me, this is immersion. I am there, there is here. I am the character and he is me, and so on. Is why there is no immersion, in say, Turn Based Strategy. Because I have to stop and go, right, my turn, got to move all my shit.


June 13th, 2011 - 4:23 pm

It’s not that stepping into a third-party doesn’t take away immersion, it’s that it doesn’t have any more or less effect on immersion than other non-narrative games. You, in fact, call out our exact point. Dungeons and Dragons, the penultimate traditional game, plays like a Turned Based Strategy at some point. How can you argue that the D&D experience has more immersion than the Dogs in the Vineyard experience?


June 13th, 2011 - 4:28 pm

I agree completely with Rob. Not wanting to DEAL with being a “God” in a story game is one thing, because it is a lot to deal with. The notion that story games are less immersive because they are story games is absolutely preposterous. After all, if that were true, it would be nearly impossible for a GM to ever be immersed in their own game… and speaking from experience, that is not the case.


June 13th, 2011 - 4:32 pm

I agree completely with Rob.

Quoted. Because it doesn’t happen enough.

Chris Parker

June 13th, 2011 - 11:21 pm

Okay, did I ever actually say you’re immersed in the combat in DnD? No. You’re extrapolating stuff that I didn’t say out of it. But, there are games with functions that do not flow exactly like I’m playing Final Fantasy Tactics. (Not that that’s bad, I love that, it’s just not immersive). I just said I did not agree with how you handled your response to the immersion argument, and how you defined immersion. To me, it basically sounds like “Well, he’s just wrong. Except he’s completely right. But its not immersion. It’s something I don’t have a word for”.
Sounds almost like we’re using different understandings of the word, here. Obviously, its an argument a lot of people have. I’ll steal an idea a friend of mine had while discussing this topic, and say there are different levels of immersion, here. Getting to a sequence where you feel very in character, minimal dice rolling, talking IC and all that, would be very deep, while just feeling like your in the setting would be less so, I guess?
As for what Mike said, well, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been that immersed in my games… while I ran them (I’ll definitely be thinking about it next time I run though). Now, I often feel immersed, while I write games, or notes for games. Because I sit back, chill, and write an outline of a story. Then game day comes around, and I effectively try and immerse my players, and see how they interact with and change the story I wrote. This is probably just a different people having different fun thing, but my initial reaction was more to you all going “Yeah, this third-person GM-like narration thing isn’t for everybody. BUT ITS TOTALLY NOT ABOUT IMMERSION SHUT UP!”.


June 13th, 2011 - 11:34 pm

When I said “You” I did not mean you the commenter. I meant OP.

What we said was the the immersion complaint is unfairly leveled at story games, it can be as big of an issue with non-story games as well. The point he makes later on fails to support an immersion argument and supports a Narrative Control argument.

The idea that immersion is lessened when you share control but not when do tactical combat (As presented in OP) is total bullshit.

Chris Parker

June 14th, 2011 - 12:22 am

Okay, well, in that case, I take back some of my vitriol.
While I actually agree with your points about the argument, I still don’t like how your response played out, where you’re like, “We see this is an issue, but its totally not immersion”. Technically, I guess your right in that the OP was not really raising a point about immersion, but I don’t see how that stepping out of the view of your character into a narrative, 3rd person mode might not break immersion, sometimes.


June 14th, 2011 - 5:45 pm

Thinking about it I wonder why people presume character and immersion are linked. From the few times I have played GMless games at conventions, there was a feeling of shared immersion as each took their turn to shape the narrative.


June 13th, 2011 - 4:24 pm

Nice to hear a little side by side comparison from people who’ve had their experience with both ‘game types’ or however you want to categorize. I’m a newbie with this stuff but feel much more interested in story games since, well, I like the idea of cooperative authoring/scripting a really sweet story. I’m trying to get/see if a group is interested in WoD (the latest incarnation obviously) – do any of you feel a particular sub system (vampire, werewolf, hunter, etc…) makes for stronger story/character interaction/group dynamic gameplay than the others? Or maybe vanilla WoD is where it’s at?
Also, probably seen it by now but First Class was excellent but Kevin Bacon’s lackeys are all real flat (and goofy looking) this includes emma frost unfortunately. The rest of the cast more than makes up for that though, in my opinion.


June 13th, 2011 - 4:29 pm

Hunter and Geist are far and away more narrative than other games, thought I hear Changling is pretty good as well. Of course, I still wouldn’t classify these as story games. They still all use very traditional mechanics.

Thomas Smalley

June 13th, 2011 - 6:32 pm

Hey Mike just so you know the reason that people ask you if you like “My little pony” and “Powerpuff girls” is because the main artist Lauren Faust who is responsible for the Powerpuff Girls art style made the new My little pony.

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