Blog: Appreciating Games as Systems

Appreciating Games as Systems
Appreciating Games as Systems
Date: 2018-Jan-30 05:04:45 EST

There are plenty of games that are interesting mainly because playing them is fun, but at least for tabletop RPGs, I often find reading their source materials and appreciating the stories and game mechanics inside is just as fun. The appeal of stories is obvious and probably built-into our cognition. Game mechanics tend to be more pretty-like-maths. And then there are things between - the kind of worldbuilding that you'd probably see on a wiki or an atlas of fictional lands. These are good fuel for our fantasy lives, including our dreams.

I'm trying not to buy new physical books in order not to fill my apartment (which made my trip to a bookstore the other day an odd choice; the place was packed and I felt my choice on this topic made me a kind of Bodhisattva of Bookstores), but I still sometimes will try to get digital copies of interesting RPGs despite having no intent of playing them (which isn't to say that if a group I liked were around here and wanted to play I'd say no, but rather that I don't have people in my life suitable for this). About 8 months ago I came across JAGS Wonderland (from a TVTropes link) and was happy to see that the author put his two sourcebooks up on the web for free. It's been great imagination fodder (more recently I reached out and paypalled him some funds as thanks for having written it).

I'd speculate that people who read a lot of the right things have more intersting dreams, but that'd be a very hard claim to either quantify enough to be meaningful or to actually get the data needed to substantiate (or disprove).