In Loving Tribute…
One of the best parts about writing the book has been the way it’s forced me to think about games.
When you write, you spend your days trying to see the story. You lay notes across the table, you rearrange your ideas, and you look for the patterns to emerge from the chaos. Once you get a sense of your story, you give it a test drive. You start to look around and see the story in other places.
At its heart, our book is about the communities people form when they play games. Today, we live in a world where the strands of those communities have stretched far beyond computer games. We’re beginning to see some of the depth of those games appearing in other parts of our world.
You might not realise, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games – like dancing, driving, running, and sex – but the key to winning is simply managing your resources. Most importantly, successful players put their time into the right things. Later in the game money comes into play, but your top priority should always be mastering where your time goes.
One story thread that emerged later in our book was how families and friends used role-playing games as a social bonding experience. We heard far more of these stories than we could ever include in the book, but it’s these stories I think about whenever I read people talking about how dehumanizing technology is.
I may have myself two new enthusiasts. They love playing games with Daddy, and I live for our time together, and it has become really the only thing I truly look forward to every week. We’re inseparable when we have our time together and we love to play games together – they often fight over who gets to sit next to me, which is a good feeling. The hardest thing about the divorce has been coming home to an empty apartment with no children. If you’ve never had the experience, the pain can be awful, especially when you’re used to those two munchkins running around and causing chaos. It’s worse than just someone not being there when you get home.
While we spend just a bit of time with the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) in Dungeons & Dreamers, the strands of that group run deeply through Richard Garriott’s games. In fact, some of characters that have appeared throughout Britannia, the fictional world where Ultima takes place, are based upon Garriott’s real-life friends from the SCA.
A new made-in-Montreal web series scheduled for release next month delves into the curious world of live action role playing, better known as LARP. Created by longtime friends Julian Stamboulieh, Benjamin Warner and Jon Verrall, LARPs: The Series is an affectionate, humorous portrayal of five fictional LARP loyalists.
Our book doesn’t touch on how these computer games have spilled over into the real world of marketing, but my professional career certainly has. Transmedia games such as Action have become part of the toolbox that museums use to attract new people. How do I know? I created Transmedia Indiana for the Indiana State Museum.
In a dark sewer underneath a museum, a team of eight burglars meticulously prepares their silent break in. Studying a blueprint illuminated by their headlamps as water drips in the background, the group discusses how to sneak into the museum without setting off its alarm or alerting security guards from Nationwide Armed Guard Services so they can steal an artwork.
It sounds like a scene from a spy-thriller movie or video game, but this is a fantasy brought to life where people test their stealth and intelligence. The museum is at Action, a role-playing theme park near the North Third Ring Road in Chaoyang district.
In the end, computer games haven’t changed at all in four decades because we haven’t changed, and the computer is one of the perfect communication devices for community building.
“PC is where I’m going to wind up. That’s where the community is,” he says. “The trend will always be the core. If I start a studio, I want a community manager there day one. I want weekly video or podcasts; I want task lists available on the subreddit.”
Shameless plug: Order your copy of Dungeons & Dreamers today.