rp games

Make It So: A Study Of Role-Playing

If you’re reading this you’ve probably played a role-playing game. Possibly several games. If your GM is particularly boring, you may be reading this now on your cell phone (stop it, it’s impolite).

I think I see more Role-Playing now than I ever have. It’s evolved beyond gaming and dice to online RP, storytelling RP, and more. Empowered by chat programs and message boards, RP in many cases is freed from dice, and rules. It’s everywhere.

It’s a fascinating thing to watch, this kind of free-form yet bounded acting. It’s sort of writing, sort of performing, sort of improv. It’s amazing to watch it happen when people bring characters to life.

So, my Make It So for this week?

I want someone to study Role-Playing as a whole.

Look one of you out there has to be a student or professor of art, an analyst of culture, or another who’d be interested in this. Allow me to prod you.

Someone needs to go study Role-Players. You need to talk to them, interview them, have them fill out forms. You need to crunch numbers and examine what you find.

Someone needs to go find out why people do this and what they get out of it. Why do people put hours into this.

Someone needs to find how this varies among countries and cultures and genders and groups. We know the demographics have to be pretty interesting. OK, interesting to me, but still.

Someone needs to understand what other arts this leads to. Do people write more? Draw more? Does it inspire those who work on video games?

There’s a lot to look at.

Role-playing is a unique artistic expression (and yes, it is an art). So someone out there has got to have the time, willpower, or grant money to look into this. It’s a huge part of the nerd community, and one that’s ill understood.

Get to work.

What? Don’t look at me. I’m busy.

OK . . . maybe . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

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