Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Real World and Gaming

Recent blog posts elsewhere have got me thinking where is the line in games and history? Wargaming has taken mankind at it worst and made a game of it, there's lots of strong psychological reasons for this and at it's core we like to play with that which intrigues us. Is there a line of good taste?

Are games about slave trading, pogroms, persecution, running a whore house, and drug dealing over the line? If they are how about all the ugliness of war?

After lot's of reflection I think it's really a personal issue. Bithcing at other folks because their personal lines are drawn differently than your own is probably not the best idea but when one puts words down they should be ready for how other read them.

I myself started a project a while back based on real history that was certainly straying far into fantasy. At first blush the idea of post apocalyptic WW-I sounded great ground for sci-fi RPG but the more research I did the more I grew uncomfortable with the idea. While striving for detail to make the setting feel more authentic I became uneasy with the idea. Learning more about the people on both sides of the war made it impossible for me to trivialize the loss and horror of WW-I for me. It was my decision not to finish the project not conversations with other or outraged snerds, just a personal decision about a line I wouldn't cross.

Do I think others shouldn't produce historical wargames or WW-I based games in particular, of course not. After learning more I myself couldn't trivialize the horror of that war with goofy science and mutant trench warfare. It turned out I discovered a personal line I couldn't cross but I can't imagine I'd rail against others who may choose to do so (most of the time).

We play for diversion, entertainment, to come to grips with some aspect of reality, to hone particular skills. What will do the above for each of us is a different thing. We don't all have to agree with what others find entertaining and need not remain silent about it but gaming horrors and travesties isn't wrong we just have to respect each others personal lines.

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