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Game Dream #4: Dude, Read This Book!

Here are a few rather cinematic questions that I think a few IMAGinES subscribers could provide some interesting answers to (*cough* Boots *cough*):

    What is the role, if any, that movies and books play in your campaigns?

Well, the Bubblegum Crisis campaign kind of answers itself, really; I think Dan and I have tried to make sure that our group has seen at least Episode 1 of the original series. Beyond that, I’m still trying to watch psychotronic film at any opportunity for octaNe inspirational purposes, and thanks to Gav, he, Vickie and I have seen The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension recently.

    When entering a new genre, how important do you feel seeing (or reading) a good genre example becomes?

I think it’s very important. I find it’s easier to get into a roleplaying game setting if you have a handle on not only the themes and tropes of said setting, but most especially the visuals and pacing. While movies are better on visuals than books in some respects, I think well-written books do at least as good a job, as they’re more like an RPG in that you’re creating the setting in your head based on an external description rather than being handed a complete visual/audio image.

I also think that while a novel is good for introducing the common themes of a campaign (due mainly to its extended pacing), movies give a better idea of session pacing, as they’re usually only an hour or two shorter than the average game session; they give a better idea of what the GM may be expecting to achieve by the end of each session.

If and when I finally do some Feng Shui, I think a Hong Kong action cinema viewing night or two would almost be mandatory.

    Have you ever been assigned a "mood" book to read by the GM, or gone to a group movie viewing?

Unfortunately, no, nor do I think I’ve ever assigned a “mood” book or film as a GM.

    How do you feel about game-based fiction, whether "pulp" novels or movie attempts?

If done with care, and the result is of at least passable quality, I think game-based fiction is worthwhile, as it then makes it easier to marry the themes, visuals and pacing to the GM’s campaign. I think that, because a game novel or movie brings the setting to life, it also makes that setting a little more accessible to players than the sometimes-dry informational writing of a core book or supplement.

It’s also rather risky, as the GM may have a slightly different spin on the themes of the setting than the authors of the setting and fiction; the GM would need to make sure that this was communicated from the outset so players wouldn’t be feeling short-changed by any changes.

Old Comments

I loved Buckaroo Banzai :)

"Remember, wherever you go ... there you are."

I'd never thought about making a campaign to that level of SF cinematic action ... but it's a good idea :)


Posted by: Doccus at July 13, 2004 02:58 AM

Heh heh! I don't know whether you could make a campaign in the Buckaroo Banzai vein, but if there's any game that could support it, it's octaNe - mainly because its die-mechanics manage distribution of narrative control instead of success or failure. So really, it'd depend on whether your players were in the mood.

Posted by: IMAGinES at July 13, 2004 09:01 PM
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