Actual Play as Testimonial

edited February 2006 in Story Games
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.

-Rob D.

Comments

  • Hey Rob, are you intending to start all these in Private Discussions?

  • Dammit. I hadn't realized that Private got put to the top of the dropdown.

    Hey Andy, any chance we can go back to games and Gaming being the first choice?

    -Rob D.
  • edited February 2006
    I absolutely agree. I was interested in The Face of Angels, for example, with great interest.

    Then I heard about how one player nuked DC to further his Islamic world-state, and how other players divied up Europe (with one guy taking ownership of Serbia or something), which changed my interest from "Great" to "Raving Fan-fuck".

    However, having said that I do find interest in how the rules work. Here would be my dream Actual Play thread (to read):

    Someone describes the awesome things that happened with him and the other players in the game, not in a "And this happened, then we went there, then I bought a spoon, then we talked to the milkmaid, etc", but rather focusing on say Five Cool Things that happened.

    From there, after those Five Cool Things are laid out, go back and explain the rules/whatever behind how two of them Happened.

    Ex: I got really turned on by reading someone's Exalted Actual Play, enough to go through the book and dig a little deeper into the rules and the like. It wasn't until about three directed questions later that I realized that the author wasn't really using many of the rules at all, and houseruled like half the book. MMMM, yeah, that's cool, and I dig drift and all, but WOAH.

    -Andy

    EDIT:
    Hey Andy, any chance we can go back to games and Gaming being the first choice?
    (waves magic forum fairy wand) DONE!
  • edited February 2006
    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. </i

    Uh...yeah.

    What did you mean when you said self-centered? I didn't understand that.
  • edited February 2006
    There's a tendency to be self conscious in our reporting that often results in replacing enthusiasm with analysis because analysis can be better defended and is considered more legitimate in some circles.

    In saying "be more self-centered" I'm really saying "It is valuable for you to express what you thought was awesome without feeling a need to justify it."

    Now, As Andy notes, details are _also_ useful. But I think we have room enough for both.

    -Rob D.

    PS - I also have no idea why I'm italicized.
  • You are italicized because I couldn't figure out how to make the html quote work.
  • Judd: It's putting this on either side of your quote

    Judd rocks, as always

    basically, it's a hack that we use as a workaround for not having an actual "Quote" feature, yet.

    You can use the "reverse apostrophe" marks in Markdown mode for the same effect, like:
    `Judd rocks, as always`

    -Andy
  • edited February 2006
    (::tries again::)
  • Good observation. My--

    Ahem--

    My next playtest report on the Forge will definitely have to start off with some of the cool stuff. Like how a shy player who I've never seen do anything flashy before had his guy drop a chandelier on two rivals during a fight.
  • I find AP and interesting resource to refer people to when they ask "How does the game play?" Although everyone's experiences are different, I like AP because it gives much more of a feel for the qualities and drawbacks of the game, as opposed to endless amounts of "It rocks on toast!" comments on a forum.

    You make a fair point Rob: AP should encapsulate why the game did or didn't work for you. If it did something you thought was really, really awesome, then you should talk about it.

    Cheers
    Malcolm
  • I find AP and interesting resource to refer people to when they ask "How does the game play?" Although everyone's experiences are different, I like AP because it gives much more of a feel for the qualities and drawbacks of the game, as opposed to endless amounts of "It rocks on toast!" comments on a forum.

    You make a fair point Rob: AP should encapsulate why the game did or didn't work for you. If it did something you thought was really, really awesome, then you should talk about it.

    Cheers
    Malcolm
  • edited February 2006


    Trying to fix the damn italic here.
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