Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Simple-Minded Theory on the Psychology of Game Design

1) Any mechanic introduced in the name of Realism is actually an unconscious attempt by the designer to deal with unspoken needs, desires, anxieties or tensions probably having nothing to do with the game.

Example: I've made several attempts to fiddle with the weapon reach rules of both D&D and Encounter Critical which probably stem from anxiety over the size of my weiner.  Too much information, I know, but it's the thought that led to this post.

2) Any mechanic that brings a game more in line with the source material is an attempt by the designer to replace the actual with the ideal, an attempt to attain utopia/nirvana via fascistic superego dominance. If RPGs are escapism, then "emulation" and/or "versimiltude" is a form of escapism from the realities of RPGs.

Example: Every licensed RPG that makes you learn a new way to roll dice.
3) Neither point 1 or 2 should be construed as an attack upon realistic or emulative mechanics.  I'm trying to analyze here, not judge.