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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Using media in your games

Hey everyone,

Abe here again.

So I grew up in the 90's and I was reminiscing about how I got into the hobby and I remembered playing my first game of Warhammer in a friends attic, that's right we rebelled against the basement dweller stereotype by going to the highest room of the house. Then I thought about it somemore and realised my trip down the rabbit hole started even earlier.

You're probably going to need a pair of these for this part of the article
It all started with a little game called Atmosfear, a 1991 board game and the best thing to happen to VHS tapes since those boxes that were meant to look like leather bound books. For those of you who never played it, firstly I'm so sorry your parents never loved you and secondly it was a fairly straight forward board game where you collected six coloured pieces and then had to face the Gatekeeper within a set time, failure to do this resulted in failure for all players. What really set this game apart was the video tape that came with it and forced you to try and interact with your TV as if it was a real person.

I spent more time with this guy than my own father in the 90's
 This is the first time I can clearly remember the use of new media in gaming and it has made me think of my own disastourous forays into using other media in my games. I shall recount these for you know so you may avoid making the same mistakes I did.

Everyone who has ever played a game owes a debt of gratitude to a writer with a relativly small collection of work, who changed the face of the fantasy genre and with the middle initals  R.R.

Ha tricked you!

I refer of course to J R R Tolkien, the father of modern fantasy and pipe enthusiast. Every gamer at some point has lifted characters, places, even whole plots from him at some point and without him we probably wouldn't have much of a hobby. The problems arise from this however when you decide to make a character that you will describe to the rest of your gaming group as "Like, Legolas but much cooler and better with a bow and I'll call him Salogel." Then for your first action you try and surf down a flight of stairs firing your bow, and instead you roll a natural one fall down, break your neck and land in the brazier. I understand completely why this happens to a young gamer and luckily we mostly grow out of this behaviour quick.
Still not the most ridiculous thing he's done in these films

Who doesn't love music, how many brilliant scenes in our favourite movies been perfectly complimented by just the right song. Unfortunately I, like many of you out there, have tried to emulate this. I have spent hour's making the right playlist choosing songs that fit the theme and would spice up our gaming sessions. Unfortunately life never runs as smoothly as a movie and the action never quite syncs up with what your players are doing. A fight is about to break out in the game and you press play and a perfectly chosen rock song blares out and your friends decide now is the time to have a five minute discussion on the rules regarding eye stabbing a minor guard. By the time they are ready to get back to the game the next track "Tavern Intrigue" has already started and you turn it off in despair. Or you are ready to reveal the villain of the piece, a Machiavellian being who has manipulated the heroes from the start and you press play expecting Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones and instead you get Amish Paradise by Weird Al instead and your whole game is ruined.
Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds!
This isn't something I have ever tried to incorporate into my own games, even I'm not that insufferable. However, I will leave you with some of the problems I remember from Atmosfear, I can remember playing the game with my family for the first time. My father, as head of the household and therefore grand high arbiter of the remote decided to play a game and almost immediately the problems became apparent. Pausing at the right time became an issue with my father regularly hitting pause, stop and every other button but the right one. Despite this I still have a deep and abiding love for this game and its spiritual successors like XCOM, but please never try and do it yourself, only heartbreak lies that way.

I love you too dad.

1 comment:

  1. I stick to background mood music downloaded on YouTube but even that is littered with fecking Ads... nothing breaks the mood the music has been building in conjunction with the dice than a panty liner advert at the crucial dice throw!