Normally, this kind of post, having been inspired from something on the internet, would be a Thursday post, but this week is a little topsy turvey, so you get this one today, and something related to tabletop campaigns on Thursday!
I try not to rely too heavily on content from Geek and Sundry to spark posts here, but sometimes they have things that are just too good to pass up. Such as this article that starts a discussion of whether RPGs are a form of Art (capital “A”). It’s a quick to read article that taps a bunch of game designers for their opinions on the matter. I want to tackle this question from the perspectives of writer and player rather than a designer though. – And I will warn you that this is a bit of an esoteric post. I’m setting aside my typical, light hearted tone and the peppering of self deprecating humor to earnestly discuss a topic that I feel very strongly about.
But first, I define terms. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Art is many things. Their simple definition is: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings. The page goes on to expand upon this with: the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced. And so, the first thing we notice is that there is essentially “Art” as a verb, and “Art” as a noun. In a moment of existential crisis, we can ask whether something that is Art can be created by a process that isn’t Art, or vice versa. Can the act of Art create something that is not Art? For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll start from the premise that each can beget the other.
I don’t think it is so hard to see that the act of writing and playing games are a conscious use of skill and creative imagination. Like any other writing project, writing and playing tabletops and larps must be a deliberate, intentional project. We don’t accidentally write games. We don’t wake up one day and fundamentally wonder how we ended up playing a character in a a game. Continue reading