[MUD-Dev] Storytelling vs simulation, AGAIN! was Re: Influent ial muds

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Wed Mar 10 18:07:22 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Wed, 10 Mar 1999, J C Lawrence wrote:

> In the final analysis, mechanical games are boring and people, and
> their machinations are endlessly fascinating (cf soap operas).  The
> scale between the Talkers (or IRC) and pure gamist MUDs is that of
> the extent to which the venue (MUD) provides a defined backdrop and
> toolset to those human machinations.  Expressive fertility.

Boring is a subjective word. I can't remember if it was you or Raph that
pointed out that despite (or maybe even because of) the ridiculous,
mechanical simplicity of Shades, it was a lot of fun.

By way of another, even more extreme example, I present you with Pachinko.
Pachinko is basically a slot machine that used to be very popular in
Japan. It's an extremely repetitive game that involves stuffing little
balls into a hole and then propelling the ball through a series of
baffles. If the initial dispatch of the ball is just right, the propelled
ball will release a rain of more balls, which fall into your hand,
allowing you to start over. Unlike western pinball, you have no
control over the ball once you put it into the machine, and bumping the
machine or whatnot would be considered extremely out of line. You CAN
exchange the little balls for prizes, but the prizes are absurd (an
orange, a candybar, etc). My point is that mechanical and repetitive is,
in fact, extremely entertaining to a great many people. Pachinko parlours
were always very full of varied clientele, but they didn't speak to each
other. They just sat there feeding these balls at lightning speed over and
over into these silly little machines. I can't say I would find this
entertaining, but many many people did.


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