I’ve been in interview madness for a couple of weeks. The first was with The Thirteenth Floor podcast, which hasn’t been posted yet. Then I was contacted by Pawel from the role-playing play, design, and discourse community in Poland, who have had the dubious luck to dig into my essays at the Forge and have opinions about them. You can see my conversation with him here in Seminar and we’ll probably continue with some more. That led to a series of conversations with Maciej for the YouTube channel Dobre Rzuty. The first is posted (see the embedded link below) and we’ve proceeded with more segments, not yet posted.
So I’ve done similar, almost simultaneous interviews which you are seeing somewhat out of order, and, I fear, with me sometimes getting confused about what I did or did not say already, and to whom.
I usually regard inquiries that use the word “GNS” with some horror. As I mention in this interview, I stand by anything and everything I said as a historical event, with its own meaning and role in the dialogue among us as it stood at that moment. That especially holds for any of the essays, which were living documents embedded in discussions. When someone shows up demanding or inquiring about this-or-that point or phrase, whether “what did you mean” or “what do you think of this now,” it’s usually pointless as their context for what those writings even were is way off.
For this one, Maciej wanted to address the widespread perception of “narrative” games vs. “traditional” games, as well as to get to “what are your thoughts on GNS now,” and given my point stated just above, I was feeling a little combative about it. Both of these are framed so destructively and from such false premises that I wondered whether I should show up on full blowtorch mode, and let the impressions and effects fall out as they might.
As it turned out, fortunately, that wasn’t necessary at all, and we’ve embarked on a long conversation that we knew would have to come in segments. This first part mainly concerned the history and content of role-playing design that would lead to the false model that’s so easily repeated today. I think Maciej’s chosen title is a bit clickbait-y, but it’s his channel. It’s not really wrong either, as I was ready to rip out strong views, so enjoy watching me a little bit off my usual leash this time.