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Shawn Delahunty's picture

Nothing Adds Up & The Dice Are Loaded - part 1 of ?

Hello everyone. I'm back after another long hiatus, brought on by that pesky "Real Life" stuff. This time, I'm coming at you with another multi-part article. In it, I want to discuss two concepts which should be near and dear to any gamer's heart:

  • Zero-sum games, or zero-sum outcomes
  • The danger and difficulty of "Truly Random"

In the past several weeks I've become hopelessly obsessed with these two concepts. I've thought about them so much, and contemplated how they fit (and how they don't fit) into my concepts of "Good Game Design", that I'm practically humming with nerdly thought-energy. I'm also itching to get as much feedback and as many opinions on the issue as I can. So please chime in with your thoughts, your experiences, and any anecdotes and stories which you can muster.

Matt Barton's picture

What role-playing games had the most impact on you?

I was browsing the excellent Tales of the Rampant Coyote blog and was pleasantly surprised to find a great mention of my book on a post called Game Design: How CRPGs Warped My Brain, Part 1. After complimenting my book, R.C. goes on to mention the role-playing games that made the most impact on his design philosophy. Here's a snippet from the Temple of Apshai blurb:

The thing that stuck with me from that game is that while a picture may be worth a thousand words, sometimes those words in text descriptions can evoke thoughts, feelings, and understanding that a picture alone cannot convey – even with the best of modern graphics.

How true! I also remember enjoying the entries in the printed journal that accompanied Pool of Radiance and other goldbox games. It was so much fun when the game referred to you an entry; it was always worth taking the time to read it and gave the game a more authentic D&D like feeling. What CRPGs have "warped your brain?" Here's a brief list of my personal favorites and what they taught me.

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