Episode 663: I Don’t Wanna Be a Terminator

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle some questions about game design and donkey sauce.

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Peter Fenzel and Matthew Wrather continue to entertain themselves during the Pandemic including watching YouTube, Matt enjoying affable British gents doing puzzles, and Pete watching old conference presentations about game design. They talk about subjects relevant to understanding storytelling, including the role of reluctance in quest narratives, behavioral psychology and D&D playing, and why it’s important to kill some stormtroopers.

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2 Comments on “Episode 663: I Don’t Wanna Be a Terminator”

  1. John C Member #

    One of the problems I had in my early role-playing game days (mostly superheroes) was the reactive, non-protagonist problem, where almost all stories are “someone calls the hero to beat someone up,” and that’s boring. And when I tried to reorganize the game to let the players lead the story, rather than getting dragged along behind it, they didn’t have any frame of reference to work from.

    In retrospect, that should’ve been obvious, because the way a superhero proactively stops crime is by lobbying for better social safety nets and the like, not hunting for disadvantaged people to beat up.

    When it comes to ethical challenges, the best game I’ve seen for the purpose was one I got through a Kickstarter campaign a million years ago (and then never really finished reading), Farewell to Fear. There’s a lot going on, but the core concept is that there aren’t any easy decisions, and because history is written by the victors, the situation is rarely what it appears to be.


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