So, getting right to it - I read Vincent Baker's anyway blog from time to time, and a recent discussion (http://www.lumpley.com/comment.php?entry=585
) grabbed my interest, on two counts. Both are quibbles, that I expect Vincent fully understands, but I could be wrong. And while quibbles, they seem important enough (at least from a communication perspective) to post about.
Comment 43 is the easiest place to build my first quibble on. The thing is, IMO, the someone-who-is-David would NOT be entirely wrong to say "so it's not really unwelcome." If it becomes satisfying, by some understandings it is definitionaly
not unwelcome. What I think Vincent is pointing at though, is true and very important - that the game design should push us into something that we wouldn't have already have been likely to do, and that the push will be, in many cases, uncomfortable. It's not easy to come up with terminology that communicates just exactly what Vincent is talking about, and I totally understand why someone might object to "unwelcome." On the other hand, I *think* I totally get what Vincent is pointing at, and he's right. So . . . "pushed by the designer into an uncomfortable place" is my substitute for "unwelcome." 'Cause I can welcome being uncomfortable, I can be satisfied by being uncomfortable, and maybe I can't be satisfied by something unwelcome.
Quibble two is easier, and again I think entirely a communication style issue rather than something Vincent has "wrong." When he says (in comment 42) "a game should sometimes force
the group to violate its social expectations" (emphasis added), what he means is a game should coerce. Should encourage. Should establish as a principle (heck, a requirement) for desirable
play. Maybe even (for some games) should trick, fool or otherwise deceive
. And etc. Because
, as he makes clear he understands in other posts, a game can't
force a group to do anything, the group (and individuals in it) always have the option to negotiate outside the game rules and/or simply stop playing at all.
To repeat - what Vincent is getting at here, to me, is how the designers job is to make a game that will lead a group somewhere they wouldn't already have gone. And to make that work. And that along the way something uncomfortable (using my word pretty much as a replacement for his "unwelcome") really needs to happen.
He's dead on with that, IMO.