So, a blog I read
had an interesting article about testimonials recently with a simple, but interesting premise that the most powerful testimonials are not statements about how cool the product or company is, but rather are about how that product let the user kick ass.
Now, one of their consistent points is that a user experience for any product should be an empowering one - a successful product is one where the user experience is that of kicking ass, whatever the context. As such, this is sort of an extension of that thinking, but I think it's fairly legitimate.
Anyway, that immediately got me thinking about game testimonials and the various forms they take, and the frequently acknowledged potency of actual play examples. To some extent, this is telling us something we already know: that actual play rocks. But what it also suggests to me is that actual play could rock more if people are willing to be _more_ self centered in their discussion. Rather than talking about _how_ a system helped or let you do something, just talk about what you did, and let that be the inference.
Specifically, If I say that WotG let me run up a wall, cutting arrows out of the air and cut down 8 archers in tow strokes then rip the face off the last one, does that make you more or less interested than if I spend a paragraph or two talking about how the dice and kung fu system made me _able_ to do that thing? And given that, how much of your answer is slanted just because you're a system wonk?
Now, I note that this is a testimonial, not an analysis. Analysis entirely has it's place, but there are times when you don't need it to get across what really rocks. Among other things, testimonials are generally shorter and more easily absorbed (and perhaps more importantly, quicker to write).
Anyway, this shook up my thinking on what an actually play report (outside of the specific forge context) can be and perhaps should be.