This week Reality is a Harsh Mistress starts a new mini series detailing some of the many options available for pen and paper games. This week focuses on a few of the more popular game lines out right now.
Last week I wrote an opinion piece decrying what I saw as the primacy of choice (and the ability to change the game world) over storytelling in modern video game RPGs. I see this as a sort of decay of strong narratives and well developed characters (and relationships between characters) so that the player can be given the illusion of truly having a significant impact on the game world. Part of my problem with this trend is that I see it demolishing what computer and console RPGs can do so well, which is tell a well scripted, well written, highly conceptual narrative with good visuals and interesting mechanics.