Ropecon 09: briefly on zombies and cinema

10 September, 2009 at 7:51 am (actual play, Ropecon) (, , , )

Tommi Horttana, brother of a friend of a friend whom I had not met before, wanted to play some forgish games and another friend of a friend did not know how they were different from most roleplaying games. I prepared to create some horrible abomination on the fly, but luckily Sami Koponen of Efemeros fame happened to be nearby and the game he was playing in ended. So, we played some scenes of (the Finnish version of) Zombie Cinema.

The remarkable thing was my continued difficulty in playing games with shared narration and explicit scene framing. The others were pretty much pros or natural talents, it seemed. Small part of my poor performance is the heavy reliance on visual media (movies, TV) and the effects used therein, which I am not familiar with. The significant part is, I think, that though I can make scenes where something happens, I don’t have a feel for that something is supposed to be in this style of play. The good part is that now I have a new way of looking at storytelling.

I’ll be playing in a Burning Wheel campaign where I’ll try to make a dramatically interesting character. We are almost past the mechanical parts of character generation, so hammering beliefs and instincts is what remains. Just to not make things too easy for myself, I’ll try playing a religious character who is quite fervent about it and is not a sword-wielding maniac or overtly abrasive. This ought to be interesting.

Further, a bunch of us at Jyväskylä have been trying to make a short movie-like object. Success has thus far been mixed, but the parts I have found to be most enjoyable are the scripting/brainstorming sessions. They have also been the most challenging, which is appropriate. One lesson learned is to only include the relevant: Communicate something about a character or keep the viewers on track about what is happening, basically. (The other people make sure that inserting random bursts of action is not my problem.) Maybe this ties back in to playing a dramatically interesting character and to scene framing.

Note 1: Tommi Horttana is one of the designers of Lies and seductions, a free (as far as money is concerned) computer game for some non-open operating systems. It should be about relationships. I don’t play many computer games, but interested readers might want to take a look, as Horttana is quite smart as far as people go.

Note 2: Zombies.

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