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What's Your Most Dangerous Gaming Idea?

Over at The Edge of 2006, they asked many luminaries what their most dangerous question of 2006 was.

Given we're somewhere in the midst of a revolution in gaming, this might be a good question to ask here. What do you suspect or believe about gaming that's right out there on the edge? What do you see emerging that maybe you haven't even talked about yet?

Wow, this question has really caught fire in the game theory community (largely thanks to Paul's response). More: Lumpley, Matt Snyder, The Gaming Philosophyer.

The next version of Dungeons and Dragons will include some form of conflict resolution.

Roleplaying is increasingly the most socially threatening and personally dangerous leisure pastime in middle america. My Life with Master is a meme that infects players with a psychology for breaking out of controlling relationships. The activity of playing the game puts programming into your brain. (Thank god I have your best interests at heart.) Imagine the social and economic impact of a truly fun roleplaying game that infects players with an ability to resist powerful advertising messages and more consistently make purchasing decisions they feel good about in retrospect. Or one that exposes the extent to which our educational system works in service to corporate america and the economy and not in the interests of the individual.

Good stuff if you're a progressive. But if you're not also creeped way the fuck out, you're not paying attention. Have you read Meg Baker's ideas about using ritual in roleplaying games? Her concurrent suggestion to me was that Bacchanal players might benefit from Polaris-style ritual phrases. But the thing about ritual is that it taps way into the human reptilian brain, and makes you feel comfortable when you're not. If I ritualized Bacchanal I could temporarily make players feel comfortable about entering seriously transgressive territory. But they'd wake from it the next day, and regret having revealed their innermost secrets, or of betraying illicit desires.

"Click here to always trust and install memes from Paul Czege. He absolutely certifies they're safe."


OMG, you just so f-g nailed it. Yes yes yes! I'm not even going to respond, I'm just going to go meditate on this for about 4 hours.

As an aside, I first read your quote as "memes from Paul Cezanne". :)

The indie-RPG scene will gradually become a semi-professional entertainment industry, sacrificing all aspirations they may have had about making socially relevant art and changing people on the altar of the new god, Fun.

I actually thought this up before reading Paul's dangerous idea. Let us hope that his scenario is the one that will actually come to pass. :)

Wow, Paul. You are so right. I really have nothing to add to that.

WoW, or a next-generation MMORPG, will be more tightly integrated with blogging. Adding advanced concepts from some DIY MMORPGS, injecting blog blog-elements (written story) and in-game mechanical consequences (character, creatures, encounters, items, control/ownership over areas in the game, etc.) will become much easier.

Google will buy that MMORPG, and you will be able to browse from Google into the virtual MMORPG world - where many players will be 'writing' their 'space' and 'story'.

Right on, Paul.

I guess now I'm really glad I'm not the one designing Acts of Evil.

Haven't we just spent the last thirty some years trying to convince Mothers Against Dungeons and Dragons (and my dad) that these games don't corrupt our minds with their content? Now we're agreeing that they do have a "programming" influence and have the potential to be dangerous?

What do I suspect or believe about gaming that's right out there on the edge?

John Harper will finish and publish a game in 2006, to wide acclaim.

Or, you know, what Paul said.

I have a long response to Paul, but it is too large to fit in this comment window.



Ha, Paul, you nailed it, for more reasons than one. And the Polaris+Bacchanal game you're imagining is called Vesperteen, and it should begin playtesting in another month...

Ben, that made me smile. :)

Video game developers seem to be realizing that their works are boardgames at best, and that the next evolution is truly open-ended play, much like what an RPG can achieve.


This means computer games that will play to your interest as a GM does.

You know that feeling of attachment you get to a character whem the GM sets up a good "bang" for you? Add that to the addictive ease and simple accomplishment of WoW.

"Man dies marathon gaming" will no longer be headline news.

I posted mine at anyway. It's not as good as Paul's. In a nutshell: it's time to do to "stop at the skin" what we did to "the GM is god."

Ugh, can we not start calling it "stop at the skin"? I had to go read your entry, and your comments, and the comments to your comments, just in order to discover that it's some reference to yet another indie game I know nothing about. Which means I still have only a vague idea what that means. (To spare others the search: Vincent's talking about removing "absolute" player control over characters.)

I've already described six dangerous ideas at RPGnet, here and here.

And as an extra one, try connecting the dots.

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