[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

Brandon J. Van Every vanevery at 3DProgrammer.com
Fri Apr 26 18:51:35 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

John Buehler

> What range of emotions do you want,

The famous answer is of course "it depends."

> and why do you want to trigger emotions in your players?

Why bother with Art?

> If you want an emotional response from your player, you better
> damn well make sure that it is a positive one for your player.

We would never feel the need to restrict ourselves to this in
traditional arts.

> Just yanking players' chains in an effort to get them whipped up
> in emotional situations is not a healthy way to present
> entertainment.

However, it has been done precisely as an act of performance art.
Or as provocation in art forms preceeding the 20th century concept
of "performance art."  In Art, the only metric is getting something
to occur more or less that you wanted to occur.  Some artists aren't
all that big on their own intentionality.  Of course, some of us art
critics aren't all that big on their work either.

I just think that artistically speaking, "we can't yank players'
chains" is analogous to "we can't use black paint.  Black paint bad! 
Bad! So bad! So very much so bad."

> As an example, your concentration camp guard can only act like a
> concentration camp guard.  The player can encourage it to be a
> nasty one or a friendly one, but he can't go willy-nilly wandering
> through the camp shooting prisoners for laughs.

That would seem rather unrealistic to me.  Surely, you could torture
and/or kill any prisoner you had the lamest pretext to do so for.
Like, you felt like it that day.  Or they contradicted you.  Or, she
was a particularly ugly Jew.  Or a particularly beautiful Jew.  I
think part of the artistry would be exploring the rationalizations
that allow this guard to kill with impunity, how he forms a
cosmology in his own mind that shows a reason for why the killing is
taking place.

If dealing with the holocaust is too loaded for you, go read
"Saddam's Bombmaker" and contemplate what a "Saddam Simulator" would
really look like.  In this case the art *should* be about impunity.

Cheers,                         www.3DProgrammer.com
Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

20% of the world is real.
80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.

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