RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

System-neutral discussion of campaign setting and game world design. Discussion of existing rules systems belongs in The Crunchy Bits and its sub-forums.

RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby Olgabelle » Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:04 pm

Hi guys, I hope this is the best forum for this. I mention D&D editions as examples, but this isn't about specific rules or systems.

Something I see a lot from older gamers is a negative attitude toward pen n paper RPGs taking ideas and play styles from computer or console video game RPGs.
What's the reason for the negativity? I've learned about the early days of both types of games, and pnp RPGs definitely inspired early computer RPGs. Games like the Colossal Cave Adventure, usually just called Adventure or Text Adventure now, and Zork or Ultima were pretty obviously attempts to emulate D&D style RPGs on the computer, for solo play when the group wasn't around.

From that point it looks like the two forms influenced each other kind of equally. 3rd edition D&D gets a bad rap for starting the trend of unkillable characters, where the game gives you so many nerfs that it's actually hard to get a PC permanently dead, but the attitude among gamers that led to it goes back a lot further. Look at Dragon magazine or the fanzines, or early text BBS systems for home computer users and up into the early days of AOL, Compuserv and those kind of online communities, and the munchkin mentality of gamers is plain to see. To my eyes, D&D3 is just where Wizards of the Coast finally started to accept and embrace it, and give the masses of players what they wanted. Old OD&D and AD&D1 purists didn't like it, but A) they have to design for the biggest audience, and B) you don't have to upgrade to whatever WotC is selling at this moment. If you prefer AD&D or, like me, Classic Basic D&D, keep on playing those, and house rule things to get the game feel you want.

So really, what I wonder is, was it ever acceptable or cool for a DM or player to borrow material and ideas and game rules from a computer or video game, and when and why did it become uncool to do so?
User avatar
Olgabelle
Kobold
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:06 am
Location: Estero, FL, USA

Re: RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby Vlark » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:35 am

In a word, yes. But it is much more complicated than that. You really need to read the Designers & Dragons series of books by Shannon Applecline to get a full history on the scope and influences of tabletop RPGs and the industries they spawned and influenced.

http://www.evilhat.com/home/designers-dragons/

I also recommend Playing at the World by Jon Peterson:

https://www.amazon.com/Playing-at-World ... 0615642047
Owlbears & Bugbears & Grues, oh my!

http://rendedpress.blogspot.com
-------
"By the Book" or "BtB" merely means that the game is being played within close physical proximity to one or more of the books containing the material which explains how to play the game. If the book is not within close proximity, one is playing "away from the book" or "across from the book" or "someplace where the book is not located".
Vlark
Orc
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:45 pm

Re: RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby Big Mac » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:09 pm

Olgabelle wrote:Hi guys, I hope this is the best forum for this. I mention D&D editions as examples, but this isn't about specific rules or systems.


It is sometimes tricky to work out where things go. The general rule is this:
  • Campaign Worlds is about topics that are tied directly into campaign settings (and that includes things that anyone is trying to find a way to fit with a campaign setting). You may have heard this sort of thing referred to as "fluff" by some folks.
  • The Crunchy Bits takes it's name directly from people calling rules "crunch". If something relates to a specific edition of a RPG (including non-D&D rulesets) it goes into The Crunchy Bits. However Campaign Settings trump rules at The Piazza. (So if you want to write about 4e Planescape, it would usually go in the Planescape forum.)
  • The Squishy Bits takes it's name from a term invented by Ashtagon. She said that there were some things that were not quite fluffy and not quite crunchy - they sort of go in the middle. She called that "squishy". Discussions about figuring out how many farms need to be located around a city are "squishy" discussions, because they are not limited to a single campaign setting and can work for people with multiple editions of D&D (or other fantasy rules). You will see people discussing things like map creation software or online tools for medieval demographics.
  • The Tabard Inn is for things that do not really relate to running a tabletop RPG (in other words off-topic stuff). When The Squishy Bits was created, a few years back, in the "Great Forum Reorganisation" myself and a lot of other moderators actually trawled through the old version of The Tabard Inn and pulled out all the squishy topics we could find to help build up this newer forum.
  • The Wishing Well is a forum that Ashtagon set up after a game designer friend of mine contacted me asking about posting notifications of his new products. He said he had had a bit of grief elsewhere. So that forum is for industry news (including Kickstarter announcements for tabletop RPG products) and industry discussions.

I'm not sure this topic actually belongs in The Squishy Bits, as it does not aim to help anyone actually run a game. So I'm leaning on thinking it should be moved to either The Wishing Well or The Tabard Inn. But there is no mad rush. I can come back and move it later. :)

Olgabelle wrote:Something I see a lot from older gamers is a negative attitude toward pen n paper RPGs taking ideas and play styles from computer or console video game RPGs.
What's the reason for the negativity? I've learned about the early days of both types of games, and pnp RPGs definitely inspired early computer RPGs. Games like the Colossal Cave Adventure, usually just called Adventure or Text Adventure now, and Zork or Ultima were pretty obviously attempts to emulate D&D style RPGs on the computer, for solo play when the group wasn't around.


I'm not so sure about this negativity. I know plenty of older gamers who play computer RPGs. The entire industry was pretty much invented by D&D designers. You can't get more old school than the people who invented D&D.

So - sure - there might be some people out there who dislike computer games. But I'm not sure it's a universal thing. Maybe you have just met up with a bunch of like-minded individuals who think the same thing and hang out in the same place.

I was introduced to World of Warcraft by one of my first DMs and she used to play 2nd Edition AD&D with me years back. The same lady and her husband used to play live action roleplaying games with me. And now they run LAN parties at their place, where people I've played D&D with turn up with their computers and play games.

And I now play with someone who uses 2nd Edition AD&D, who plays a ton of new computer games. And another of my friends, who can't play D&D thesedays, plays a lot of computer games.

I wouldn't suggest from the people that I have met that everyone who has played old school D&D likes computer games. I know that's not true. But I'm not sure it can be called either way. You are just looking at subsets of people. And if you look at everyone in the same subset, they might come across as representing the entire population.

Olgabelle wrote:From that point it looks like the two forms influenced each other kind of equally. 3rd edition D&D gets a bad rap for starting the trend of unkillable characters, where the game gives you so many nerfs that it's actually hard to get a PC permanently dead, but the attitude among gamers that led to it goes back a lot further. Look at Dragon magazine or the fanzines, or early text BBS systems for home computer users and up into the early days of AOL, Compuserv and those kind of online communities, and the munchkin mentality of gamers is plain to see. To my eyes, D&D3 is just where Wizards of the Coast finally started to accept and embrace it, and give the masses of players what they wanted. Old OD&D and AD&D1 purists didn't like it, but A) they have to design for the biggest audience, and B) you don't have to upgrade to whatever WotC is selling at this moment. If you prefer AD&D or, like me, Classic Basic D&D, keep on playing those, and house rule things to get the game feel you want.


I'm not sure that both forms influenced each other equally back during the 3rd Edition days. And don't forget you are talking about different things here. You have designers on the one hand and gamers on the other hand. There is also the fact that computer game players don't get as much input into the running of games as tabletop game players (who can easily add house rules). It's like the difference between ROM and RAM.

I never got to play BBS games or do much on AOL, so I guess you must be older than I am. But I really didn't interact much with D&D gamers until I discovered the various WotC mailing lists and eventually their forums.

The problem with the term "munchkin" is that it is something projected onto other gamers. It's one of the many lazy sterotypes that groups of gamers invented to put down other groups of gamers during the Edition War nonsense. I'm actually glad that, when Ashtagon set up The Piazza, she did her best to put that sort of nonsense behind us and create a place where people talk about the things they like about old school gaming and new school gaming and the various campaign settings that individuals prefer.

When I hang around with negative people who claim that "4e isn't D&D" or that "3e players all want to min/max" it's a lot less easy to have fun. I've not met those people who tell you that old school gamers don't want to take ideas from computer games, but they sound equally unfun to talk to.

The Piazza is more of a no school place, where people can talk about any campaign setting they like and the emphasis is on avoiding "badwrongfunism". And I really like that, because it's meant that I've been able to learn so much more about games I have never played (and am unlikely to play). I really like the attitude I see around here. It helps me learn things. It helps me get things done. It helps me make friends that I wouldn't otherwise have met.

Olgabelle wrote:So really, what I wonder is, was it ever acceptable or cool for a DM or player to borrow material and ideas and game rules from a computer or video game, and when and why did it become uncool to do so?


Take a look around the World of Warcraft forum. You will see plenty of topic based on raiding ideas from the WoW MMO to use in the WoW RPG. A lot of it is indirect, with people looking at Wowpedia to see the collected lore that has been posted there. That's evidence of it happing with that setting, but as the computer game came first, I guess you would expect that.

So take a look at some of the other campaign setting forums, and you will see several people trying to raid information from D&D computer games. I actually signed up to the Facebook game Heroes of Neverwinter in the hopes of raiding the various missions and using them in the tabletop Neverwinter. The game wasn't universally popular, but I liked it for what it was and would back a Kickstarter that gave us a standalone version of the game.

(You will also see several people raiding ideas from other D&D media sources, including novels, comics and Endless Quest books.)

I guess what I am saying is that I don't think it ever became "uncool" (and to be honest, I play D&D and I like the Spelljammer Campaign Setting- if I was bothered about not being cool, I picked the wrong hobby :lol: ). I just don't think it is something that everyone does.

Maybe you could try to find some sort of data that indicates if the number of people raiding ideas from computer games to put back into tabletop gaming is going up or down. But I'm not sure where you would find that from.

So, what do you do for your home games? What are your go-to sources for tabletop inspiration?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Newsflash!: The Piazza is moving!
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
 
Posts: 21613
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: London UK

Re: RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby willpell » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:23 pm

"Cool" is subjective, so ultimately the answer as to "why" is pretty much that people are cliquish and fickle.
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2601
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm

Re: RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby Yaztromo » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:55 pm

It is not a secret that there is a lot of continuity between role-play games, gamebooks and video games: just for a start, the authors have often been the same, passing from one genre to the other.
I think that, under players point of view, a big divide between role-play games and video games (and gamebooks) is that you play role-play games with other people (social function of the game), while video games are usually enjoyed by people that stays alone and physically separated from other human beings (non-social).

Nowadays a lot of people (of course we don't know how many they are in percentage) seems to play RPG through internet, which is a step in the non-social direction, while some video games have some social network aspects, but in general there is still quite a big distance between video games and RPG under this point of view.
Of course the authors now prefer by far video games (as there is massively more money there), so the most likely path for the very best authors and creatives is from RPG/gamebooks to video games, so in the long term I guess that quality will keep being overall higher in video games.
I'm the Real Nowhere Man, sitting in my Nowhere Land,
making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.
User avatar
Yaztromo
The Real Nowhere Man
 
Posts: 903
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 10:55 pm

Re: RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby Illuminatus » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:17 pm

So really, what I wonder is, was it ever acceptable or cool for a DM or player to borrow material and ideas and game rules from a computer or video game, and when and why did it become uncool to do so?


I once desgined a whole Dungeonsiege I / Kingdom of Ehb 2e campaign, but I like to think I was uncool long before that.
User avatar
Illuminatus
Orc
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:56 am

Re: RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby Morfie » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:23 pm

Well I think it's because in Video Games, it's all about the stats; min/maxing, making your character the best it can be, having the best weapon, having the best armour etc.

In traditional RPG's, the story was the main thing; developing the characters, fleshing them out, giving them personalities.

Then RPG's started copying video games. 3e started this, but then 4e took it too far and turned off players.
User avatar
Morfie
Metamorph
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:48 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: RPG and Video Games, why the division in fans?

Postby enderxenocide0 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:03 pm

Morfie wrote:Well I think it's because in Video Games, it's all about the stats; min/maxing, making your character the best it can be, having the best weapon, having the best armour etc.

Ehhhhh.... that's a tad too reductionist, I think. Some of the best CRPGs don't really gain much from optimization. Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Knights of the Old Republic I and II, and the list goes on. I think this misguided mentality that video games are only about numbers is the very reason there's a stigma amongst many GMs regarding stealing bits from video games to use in their campaigns.
User avatar
enderxenocide0
Stone Giant
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:44 am


Return to The Squishy Bits

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest