Saturday, February 18, 2017

Reviews for IJRP articles in search of usable information

The Invisible Rules of Role-Playing The Social Framework of Role-Playing Process by  Markus Montola (2010) found in issue #1 International Journal of Role-Playing available free online.

The goal of this paper sends a red flag to me immediately. It is building a structural framework for further studies. That to me is code to 'this is something I'm making up' and others can use this made up thing as proof or evidence.

It says that RPGs are interactions and changing a imaginary world which I agree.

I disagree with the second point that there is a hierarchy of power to define the world within the participants. The word 'define' is used strangely almost point towards a GM and player hierarchy found in the examples of the definitions. I think that this wrongly assumes a GM and player relationship. For example, in solo RPGs, there is only one participant. The 'defined', though I would say 'influencing', force comes from an oracle - not a GM participant.

I agree with the third point for participant (though I would not pluralize participants) as personification of character constructs as well.conforming to the world and contents.

In fact, directly following these three statements, the author says "possible roles...player, game master..."

I also reject option (ii) in that although it says 'often' that it is reinforcing the word 'game master'. Game master shouldn't be mentioned, rather some other generic word for influencing force. If it said something less hierarchical, I would have accepted it.

Option (iii) reinforces player ruleset and again uses 'often' for 'quantifiable'. I don't think people will remember the 'often'. Rather they might focus on the 'quantifiable' part of the definition.

I entirely reject option (iv) as once again reinforcing the power hierarchical framework.

The quoted t1 promotes verbal communication without mentioning nonverbal games.

LARP and computer roleplaying game information looks okay.

For some reason, the author once again tries to reinforce 'rules'.

For some reason, the author divides goals into two types, calling one type a part of 'exceptional' games. I believe that statement is leading to some critical judgement to reinforce narrative games. In fact, the author gives as example three games, so the author is reinforcing those games indirectly as 'exceptional'

The article could use the word 'plot' but instead tries to use 'diegesis'.  That makes part of the article less understandable to the public using uncommon jargon. If you mean 'plot', then write 'plot' or the at least 'narrative'.

Now it goes into further reinforcement of re-defining the world due to the hierarchical power.


In conclusion, I reject the structure presented on grounds of solo roleplaying games as evidence against this structural framework opinion and any opinion that relies upon the problematic language of hierarchy, plot, and focus on rules.

The structure is highly problematic and insufficient to explain all RPGs. Qualifying the framework with the word 'often' isn't helpful. The entire article should have specified 'GM RPGs' and not 'role-playing process' nor even 'social roleplaying' when cooperative play lacks GMs.

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