Interview Episode 21 – jim pinto

* (0:29) What jim’s been up to since we last talked with him.  You can find his current blog at Post World Games.

* (3:34) jim must defend his name, Y, and W.

* (6:05) Pat goes for Father of the Year by taking a break from World of Warcraft to devastate his kid in a family game.

* (9:43) Giving games the right degree of substance and meaning, without making them overly poignant.

* (18:42) The role of the GM, specifically as it’s been taught (albeit unintentionally) by the legacy of D&D.  First-person versus third-person roleplayers.  On a side note, this episode was recorded when Penny Arcade’s series, The Conflux, was only a few strips in.

* (29:53) The “second Renaissance” of roleplaying games.  Also the relationship and perception driven model preferred by many newer games.

* (41:34) The seven types of gamers.

* (51:32) The important synergy between designers and marketers that’s often missing from game development.

Hosts: Chad, Chris, Dan, Pat, Wayne

Guests: jim pinto

Comments (10)

IanDecember 9th, 2011 at 6:05 am

I’m with you Pat. I do the same with my nephew. If he wants to play Street Fighter 4 he better learn some moves because I’m not just going to sit there light punching all day.

Letters are funDecember 10th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Sorry to be the pedant but I just love this kind of stuff. The letter y was originally invented (along with k) by the Romans for transcribing Greek. It’s use for the th-sound in English comes from the letter earlier used to represent th (thorn) in some typefaces simply looked a lot like y.

Also, back in The Good Old Days there were no lower-case letters, the Romans had their caps-lock on all the time. Lower-case form developed from simplified forms of the letter developed in some forms of handwriting.

UemeiDecember 11th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Look there’s no ‘nice’ way for me to say this. I hope I’m offering constructive criticism, but…

There are two reason’s why the term ‘Hipster Game’ is troublesome.

Firstly, because it feels like a miss appropriation. I think it’s safe to say that in contemporary common parlance ‘hipster’ is associated with doing ‘crap’ stuff ‘ironically.’ Because of this applying the term to games legitimately pursuing a quality experience seems disingenuous at best, and an outright insult most of the time.

The larger, and more pressing issue is that coining that term disengages from the larger intellectual discussion. I’ll concede the point that ‘indie’ is, without real merit, a vague term in the gaming community, but by not defining the term within the context of your discussion, by side stepping that process you further the problem.

The first thing I thought about when you ‘released’ the term ‘Hipster Game’ was this comic http://xkcd.com/927/ By preference I choose to define ‘Indie’ as “any product that is not produced by an incorporated entity,” since this definition best maintains the original meaning of the word as it pertains to films produced outside of the studio process. You may define indie however you like, and as you do further categorize with new terms to suite your discourse, but for the purposes of furthering the discussion please define it.

My nightmare scenario in this is that ‘Indie’ becomes a term meaning, “anything not produced by Wizards of the Coast,” and that ‘Hipster Game’ becomes a term that means “games produced between 2007, and 2012,” while the term ‘Chktwqyft’ is a term used to describe “any game not developed by a corporation using a dice pool released in the years 2006, 2008-11, and 2013, but not 2007, or 2012.”

DanDecember 12th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Uemei, your comment makes a lot of sense.

For the sake of discussion, we needed something to call those games. As you noted, “indie” has become so vague in its use as to be meaningless. Many self-employed people have a corporation for tax purposes, so that rules out a legal/accounting distinction. And the vast majority of gaming companies are so small as to make them all indie by that measure.

But as you noted, “hipster” implies something done purely for the sake of irony. That really doesn’t describe what we were getting at. A phrase came up later in the show — which we probably should have latched onto from the start — which was “relationship-based” games, wherein the setting and plot are almost superfluous in comparison to the (often prescribed) way characters interrelate.

FlypaperDecember 12th, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Don’t we already have a word for this? What’s wrong with “boutique”?

DanDecember 14th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

“Boutique” just means highly specialized, without indicating what the specialty is. So a pure war game is just as boutique as a relationship-based game. That does an excellent job of describing small press, highly targeted game designs, so long as you’re not trying to imply what the target audience is.

jim pintoDecember 20th, 2011 at 12:43 am

i should add that i play some hipster games and even designed one. i’m not using the term pejoratively. unless i’m talking about a game where you are trying to date your sister.

PatrickWDecember 20th, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Aaron Alston published a list of types of gamers in the late 80’s. It first appeared in Adventurers Quarterly (the mag for Hero System) and was incorporated into the GM advice for 4th Edition Champions (around 1990) and later editions.

GaelicVigilFebruary 17th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

“Relationship-based games”. I don’t get it, it seems to me this has existed in RPGs from the very beginning.

Wasn’t that implied pretty heavily in the original DMG from Gary Gygax? I mean, when Gygax is implying that we create our worlds so detailed, down to the time/effort it takes to dig a tunnel and the cost of each individual piece of a castle, isn’t he saying that we should have characters who have a relationship with one another?

If he’s taking the time to outline how to ensure the relationships between our dungeon ecology entities, is he not implying we spend just as much, or more, detail on the relationships between our characters? Call me crazy, but if D&D was inspired by Epic and Swords & Sorcery fantasy literature, then it was also inspired by the inter-character relationships within those books.

To me, this was always the natural evolution from the war-game to the rpg (Chainmail to D&D). Before D&D, the characters were mindless soldier drones on the battlefield. With D&D, your world is real and fleshed out and your characters existed in it before you got there, thus having relationships between one another. My barbarian fighter came from tribe X who, for 50 years has been at war with your elf character’s tribe Y. <– There's your relationship.

I'd go as far to say that the latter is true: non-relationship RPGs is a new and growing RPG genre. D&D 4E has returned the game to a more tactical, wargame where the focus is more on stats and abilities and less on relationships. This is a NEW development, not the historical norm for the genre.

This "hipster" or "relationship" game definition seems to really be splitting hairs. There's no need for some new genre. If you're not already playing D&D (or most mainstream RPGs for that matter) with inter-character "relationships", you're playing it wrong.

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